University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Diverts Almost 100% Stormwater Runoff


Sample Stormwater Runoff into Pond. Image via: Stark Environmental

Through a neat program, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is diverting 84% of their stormwater runoff and keeping it for use around campus, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. They're also getting part of it paid for through grants. Find out where and how after the jump.Just utilizing a few rooftops and one parking garage, 40,000 square feet total, officials at the university are reporting that they are diverting 84% of stormwater runoff to be used around campus. In return, a new system of streams are being engineered around campus, which will help water 10,000 square feet of flower beds with native grasses, sedges and native flowers. Plants chosen will also help to absorb some of the water.

UWisconsin-Milwaukee Urban Stream Layout Schematic Image
The stormwater runoff is designed on the northeast corner of campus. The attached image shows the location of the swales and stream tracts. The total cost of the project is expected to reach $500,000 USD, but the district's commission gave $150,000 USD to the school for development of the project which will also help divert water from the city's overburdened stormwater drainage system. Officials estimate that this project could divert up to 28% of water from the city, particularly on really heavy storms.

Adjustments to the parking lot are also expected to offer a better flow to traffic, as well as a safer pattern with the median island. Last year a green roof was built on one of the campus buildings, became part of this larger plan, as designed by University Associate Professor Jim Wasley. Architecture students and Wasley helped engineer all of the swales, totaling 420 feet, as well as add downspouts to buildings to divert water into the designed streams.

All remaining diverted water will ultimately run into a giant bowl behind the power plant on campus. The bowl is designed to swirl the water around thick native plants that will also soak up a large portion of the water. At the bottom, is a drain which dumps any remaining water into the local sewer system. A platform will be built above the bowl so students can test water quality. :Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

CORRECTION: This article previously attributed the program to University of Wisconsin-Madison. It has now been updated to show that actually the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the one diverting all of the stormwater runoff.

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