by Alex Gilliam No Comments

Open Sewer Atlas

Challenge #4 | Find Your CSO Outfall

Time: 30 minutes

Materials Needed: your computer

Green infrastructure is largely intended to lessen the negative impacts of precipitation on the sewer system by reducing combined sewer outfalls, but where do CSO outfalls occur? Believe it or not, there is a simple online tool for finding out where all the CSO outfalls are in NYC. Using this tool, identify your sewershed (the area which drains to a single point) and find out where your water goes during heavy rains.

1. Visit Open Sewer Atlas.

2. Click “map.”

3. Enter your address.

4. Determine your CSO outfall.

5. Scroll around Open Sewer Atlas until you find your outfall. Take a screen shot of your CSO outfall.
HINT: check the nearest coastlines first.

6. Go to Google Earth or Google Maps and try to find that same place on Google. Take a screen shot.

7. Answer the following questions about your CSO outfall:

a) How many people live in your sewershed?

b) How many houses are in your sewershed?

c) How many gallons of water fall on your sewershed during a 1 inch storm?

d) What is the receiving water body for your CSO outfall?

e) According to google maps, what is near to your CSO outfall?

8. Send the two screen shots and answers to the questions about your outfall to Stephanie at

9. Go back to Open Sewer Atlas. Read one of the articles posted on the blog and write a short Journal post about what you learned.

You know your job is complete when…..

You have completed steps 1-7, written a short Journal post about what you learned from Open Sewer Atlas, and included your screen shots and findings about your CSO outfall as part of your Journal post. Be sure to include your named. If you are having trouble writing a Journal post or uploading your files, please email your completed challenge to


by KirbyDossCS No Comments

Challenge #3 | Make-Your-Own Well Measuring Device

Time: 60 minutes

Materials Needed: mini-moisture detector, 9-volt battery, alligator clip leads, intercom wire/cable, lead weight, tape measure, scissors or a sharp knife, tape

Believe it or not, you don’t need a lot of fancy, expensive tools to do many of the experiments on your green infrastructure site. In fact, you can make many of them from basic supplies that are available at most hardware stores. Today, you are going to make a device for measuring the water level in the well on your site.
Make your own water level measurer for the well on your site. With your supplies, follow the instructions on this how-to video by Matt Kuchta. When you have completed making your well measuring device, visit your site and test it out.

1. Did you visit your site and test your device?

2. Did you take a picture of your device in action?

3. Have you created submitted a short online Journal entry about making and testing your device?

You know your job is complete when…..

You have completed steps 1, 2, and 3, including taking a photograph of your device and uploaded it to the website (as a Journal entry), with a brief description of how your device worked when you tested it. If you are having trouble writing a Journal post or uploading your photograph, please email your photograph and a description of your device’s performance to


by KirbyDossCS 1 Comment


Challenge #2 | Name That Sensor!

Time: 30 minutes

Materials Needed: a computer and your brain!
Show us how much you know about the tools that you are using!
1. A weighing lysimeter is great for……….

2. Soil moisture sensors do not………

3. Why do you think there are soil moisture sensors at multiple locations and depths around the site, isn’t one good enough?

4. Why is there a flume on your site and why is it so important to keep it clean?*

5. What is evapotranspiration, anyway?
You will know you are done when you….

Answer all of the questions to the best of your ability and then do extra research online to fill-in the gaps.Post your answers in the Journal section of this website. Sign your name at the bottom of your post.
*Not every site has the same sensors, so if you can’t find one on your site, do a little online research and show us how smart you really are.


by KirbyDossCS No Comments


Challenge #1 | Draw Your Site

Time: 30-60 minutes

Materials Needed: 8 1/2 x 11 paper, pencils, color pencils/markers

Architects, urban planners, and civil engineers use plans or site plans to show where everything goes and how they are related on a building site, in a park, or in a neighborhood. This birds-eye view shows everything from above. Your challenge is to:

Create a site plan drawing (birds eye view) of your site as it exists right now.

1. Did you show where the sidewalk, plants, and trees are located?

2. Did you show where each sensor is located and labeled them appropriately?

3. Have you labeled everything (plants, sensors, street names, etc.) and added color to help everyone understand your site?

You know your job is complete when…..

You have completed steps 1, 2, and 3; done your very best drawing; and taken a photograph of your drawing and uploaded it to the website as a Journal post. Be sure to include your name. If you are having trouble writing a Journal post or uploading your file, please email your photograph to