Property owners in many cities and suburbs across the Great Lakes region suffer from sewer backups and flooded basements. Flooding is expensive to clean up, depresses property values, and degrades water quality. With increasingly severe weather and overloaded sewer systems, experts say the cost will continue to rise.

Retrofitting neighborhoods with green infrastructure—rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales, and permeable pavement—is a stormwater management approach that works. Gray-water solutions, such as repairing lateral sewage pipes and improved management of stormwater on streets, are other practical options. CNT is partnering with elected leaders, advocates, and trade groups to enhance support for retrofitting neighborhoods with innovative stormwater management measures.

The goals of our stormwater management program are to:

  • Reduce flooding
  • Cut stormwater treatment and energy costs
  • Protect rivers, lakes, and vital landscape
  • Generate jobs and spur economic revitalization

CNT has three approaches:

Research: We are gathering data and testimonials on basement and property flooding in the Great Lakes region.

Solutions: We are piloting neighborhood wet weather retrofitting approaches, tools, and services. Our long-term aim is to create a replicable one‐stop service that “Wetrofits” properties and neighborhoods.

Advocacy: We are building support for the funding of community retrofits in the Great Lakes region.

We have appointed an advisory group to help steer this work. Members include:

Advisory Group
Gary Belan, American Rivers
Seth P. Brown, Water Environment Federation
Marty Jaffe, University of Illinois at Chicago
Tim Loftus, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Peter Malik, Natural Resources Defense Council
Jeff Wickenkamp, Hey Associates

Federal Agency Liaisons
Bob Newport, U.S. EPA Region Five
Lee Zachos, FEMA Region V
Debbie Wills, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

Program Contact
Ryan Wilson, Stormwater Program Manager

Download the latest survey findings >>
Urban Flooding in the Great Lakes States, A Municipality/Utility Survey Report

Who is CNT?

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) is a creative think-and-do tank that combines rigorous research with effective solutions. CNT works across disciplines and issues, including transportation and community development, energy, water, and climate change.

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