The city of Chester is located within two watersheds, Chester Creek and Ridley Creek. Both of these watersheds discharge surface water to the Delaware River within the city municipal boundary. The close proximity of the city to the Delaware River coupled with its land surface elevation and the two watershed discharges make the city susceptible to flooding by extreme hydrologic events. The existence of brownfield properties within the city also increases the risk of a release of environmental contamination during these events. Therefore, a geographic information system is the best tool to integrate the hydrology, brownfield locations, and environmental risks. Specifically, the surface water discharge and flood characteristics from Chester Creek and Ridley Creek watersheds will be integrated with the existing storm surge and sea level rise models and any new conceptual hydrologic models developed by Widener University. This conceptual model will then be used to quantify the risk from contaminants at brownfield sites in Chester. Currently, the environmental science department at Widener University uses the Aquaveo suite of hydrologic models including the ground water modeling system (GMS), surface water modeling system (SMS), and the watershed modeling system (WMS).
The scope of the project will include a literature review, review of ground water and surface water hydrologic models that can be applied to Chester and the Ridley Creek watersheds, review of existing Sea Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) models developed by SeaGrant, development of a spatial model of brownfield sites in Chester, identify contaminants of concern for brownfield sites in Chester, and integrate these contaminants of concern with selected conceptual hydrologic models to assess the risk of environmental contamination from extreme hydrologic events. This project is important to the economic development of Chester as the city assesses the development potential of its waterfront, DeShong Park along Chester Creek, and a cultural corridor from Widener University to City Hall.