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Stronger and More Resilient Infrastructure to Accommodate the Effects of Sea Level Rise
Michael V. Tumulty, P.E., Vice President, Environmental Market Leader, STV Inc.
Climate change is affecting how natural disasters impact our infrastructure and communities. This presentation will discuss the
need for communities to invest in resilient infrastructure along with examples of how communities are implementing resilient
infrastructure. The discussion will include cutting edge technologies, as well as tried and true strategies. The presentation will
discuss examples on how different countries deal with the threat of flooding and storm surge, and what is being done to get several
important transportation assets around New York City protected from future storms like Superstorm Sandy.
Michael has 30 years of experience in environmental and civil engineering projects including environmental permitting, solid and hazardous waste management, environmental
remediation, and coastal engineering. On the environmental front, Michael has directed numerous site assessments, subsurface investigations, remedial investigations, and
remedial designs.
Earlier in his career, Michael provided coastal engineering services including computer modeling of storm surges routed into New York Harbor and Newark Bay for the US
Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He provided investigations and design of shorefront structures in New York, New Jersey,
Alaska, Dominican Republic, and Portugal.
He received his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from
Hofstra University.
Stronger and More
Resilient Infrastructure
to Accommodate
Sea Level Rise
Michael V. Tumulty, P.E.
London’s tidal barrier across the Thames protects the city from flooding
Thames Barrier with gates up – in the defensive position
Thames Barrier with gates down – in the normal position
New York Harbor at The Battery
• Highest Historical Storm Surge Crests:
– (1)
14.06 ft on 10/29/2012 (Sandy)
– (2)
10.02 ft on 09/12/1960
– (3)
9.70 ft on 12/11/1992
– (4)
9.51 ft on 08/28/2011
– (5)
9.12 ft on 11/25/1950
– (6)
8.92 ft on 03/06/1962
– (7)
8.73 ft on 10/31/1991
– (8)
8.53 ft on 03/29/1984
– (9)
8.51 ft on 03/14/2010
– (10)
8.36 ft on 03/14/1993
• Elevations reference Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW)
• Records Started in 1920
• Past data indicates sea level rise has averaged 1.2 ft / 100 years
Hurricane Sandy – tide elevations at “The Battery” in lower Manhattan
Highest storm surge elevation (13.88 ft MLLW) ever recorded in NY Harbor
Hurricane Irene, 2011
Feasibility Study to Evaluate Alternatives for Protection
from Tidal Storm Surges
Effective Alternatives
Drainage conveyance improvements
Construction of barriers
Impoundment and storage of flood waters
Yard asset hardening
Raising elevation of ground/structures
Use of adjacent land to accommodate flooding
Coney lsland Rail Yard
Concept of a Tidal Barrier at Entrance to Coney Island
Ref. PlaNYC “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” June 2013
Rail Yard Flood Barrier
Rail Yard Flood Barrier Gates
Perimeter Protection
• Flood walls
• Swales
• Diversion Piping
USACOE has considered tidal barriers for New York & New Jersey since 1960
Tidal barrier proposed for upper Newark Bay (1975 and 1981)
1950 Northeaster Surge used to model flooding with effects of tidal barrier closed
– defensive position
Storm surge height is limited upstream of barrier
Possible Barrier Across the
Verrazano - Narrows Entrance to
New York Harbor

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