Green Stormwater Infrastructure

student walking in the rain in the Grove

UIC must reduce flooding and runoff water pollution caused by rain events using on-site water retention like rain barrels and changing the pavement to allow for water infiltration. In urban environments, impervious surfaces in the form of buildings, roads, parking areas, and walkways interrupt the natural hydrologic cycle by preventing the infiltration of rainwater into the soil. The resulting stormwater runoff can collect surface pollutants and can contribute to combined sewer overflow (CSO) events, as well as causing damaging and costly flooding events.

Climate change will impact urban infrastructure networks by changing precipitation patterns in a region.

A. Kermanshah, S. Derrible, M. Berkelhammer  |  The University of Illinois at Chicago, Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts & Sciences

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Plan

Urban Transformations 2.0: Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Plan is a comprehensive stormwater reduction plan for the entire campus by developing and demonstrating an incremental, scalable, and adaptive approach to implementing green infrastructure in a highly-urbanized context. Transforming UIC’s campus with green infrastructure will help mitigate flooding and will model how cities can manage water in a more sustainable way. UT 2.0 includes a 3-phased implementation plan. Phase 1: Demonstrate and Analyze, Phase 2: Expand and Standardize, Phase 3: Transform and Upgrade. For the fully accessible version of the plan, please contact our office at sustainability@uic.edu.

Urban Transformations 2.0: Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Plan

Urban Transformations 1.0: A Phased Approach to GI

A team of  UIC students won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Campus RainWorks Challenge design competition with their plan to install more green infrastructure on the east side of campus, called Urban Transformations 1.0: A Phased Approach to Green Infrastructure Implementation. They proved that UIC could reduce stormwater runoff by 10% by 2020 and 25% by 2030.

Read the full report on the US EPA website.

Landscape Green Infrastructure Design modeling of the UIC campus

The Landscape Green Infrastructure Design (L-GrID) model (Zellner et al. 2016) was adapted in 2019 to represent the area around UIC’s West and East Campuses. The team from the UIC Institute for Environmental Science and Policy (Zellner and Massey) used the model to assess the effects of different green infrastructure (GI) placement scenarios and concluded that in order to reduce flooding in a cost-effective manner, UIC should prioritize bioswales when conditions allow. UIC should concentrate some GI where flooding is worst, but also place the GI where it intercepts flows along streets and other channels to lower elevation areas.

Download the full L-GrID report (UIC login required)

GI in Practice: Arthington Mall Plaza

The recent renovation of Arthington Mall Plaza is a joint effort between UIC, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. It is designed to promote the use of green infrastructure as an effective means of stormwater management. This plaza, which is approximately 37,000 square feet, serves as an open, common area for students, faculty, staff and visitors of the campus.

Discover all of the sustainable features of the Arthington Mall Plaza

Campus green infrastructure in UIC News

interested in stormwater? Join the CCSE Grounds subcommittee