Eustis Engineering is sampling soils and in situ hydraulic conditions at 23 locations in New Orleans as part of the city’s adoption of new storm water management practices incorporating green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure is a more natural way to soak up and store water, using structures such as green roofs, rain barrels, bioswales, and native tree plantings. The Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) is considering the use of plants and vacant land to manage storm water runoff.

The soil samples collected by Eustis Engineering will be subjected to soil mechanics laboratory and chemical tests, and will help the S&WB weigh the use of highly variable urban soils to detain and redistribute storm runoff. Geologist D. J. Benedetto will classify and select soils for testing after an initial week of sampling with a soil scientist who specializes in green infrastructure.

In addition, measurements of the surface and subsurface infiltration rates will be obtained through in situ testing performed by Eustis Engineering. Infiltration is the downward movement of water into soil.

Previous soil hydrologic assessments were conducted by others in 2014 on selected New Orleans vacant lots and park areas. The data gathered during the previous assessment was used to generate representative soil maps and estimate potential, and assess the limitations on storm water capture in vacant lots. With this new soil study, the S&WB is collecting more specific data.

Since 1997, Eustis Engineering has performed numerous geotechnical explorations for the S&WB, and this data may also be used for this study.

Soil samples subject to chemical analyses will be processed and shipped to the LSU Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The S&WB will spend $2.5 million over five years on these projects.