Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority provides wastewater services (80 million gallons per day) to approximately 500,000 people in 37 municipalities in Camden County, New Jersey. Historically, the Utilities Authority has experienced combined sewer flooding during intense rain events due to the age of their system and the lack of available funding for infrastructure replacement. Realizing that climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of storms, the utility operators at the Utilities Authority decided to better understand the utility's current and future vulnerability.
Working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Utilities Authority used the Climate Ready Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) to gain greater appreciation of the magnitude of its combined sewer overflow and other vulnerabilities and identify potential adaptation strategies. The Utilities Authority's operators formed a partnership called the Camden SMART initiative, consisting of:
- the local municipality
- state environmental protection agency
- local university
- local non-profits
This partnership enabled the municipality to integrate water conservation and promote a comprehensive network of green infrastructure programs and projects that could help Camden adapt to future conditions. Building off of the success of Camden SMART, USEPA partnered with the City of Camden, the Utilities Authority, Cooper's Ferry Partnership and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to form the Camden Collaborative Initiative to use the collective impact model to address air quality, solid waste and neighborhood revitalization concerns, in addition to flooding.
While the site's operators did not explicitly use climate models to projected vulnerabilities, the actions taken increased resilience to current flooding threats and adapted the site to better manage risks associated with projected increases in the frequency and intensity of future storms, including flooding. Overall, the site has adapted to climate change by repairing and raising critical areas of the site to handle increased precipitation and flooding threats and reduce threat of contaminant release now and into the future.