The US continues to set new marks for the rainiest months on record. From July 2018 to June 2019, the country had on average 7.9 inches more rain per month than the long-term average, making stormwater a crucial environmental issue.
Green stormwater infrastructure—such as rain gardens and bioswales that allow rain to sink into the ground—is a strategy to help decrease the frequent flooding urban areas face after heavy rain. As municipalities across the country continue to grow there is a need for more resilient design and green infrastructure mitigates problems associated with our changing climate and increased flooding.
The partnership with the University and its Facilities Management Department is not a new one. It began in 1999 when the University supported researchers from the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership to convert a detention basin into a constructed stormwater wetland. Since then, research initiatives and University-led efforts developed more than 20 rain gardens, three green roofs, and multiple green infrastructures that manage stormwater around campus.
The project team at Villanova used knowledge gained from our research in the planning of its new $225 million campus development, creating a plan that met regulatory requirements with leading-edge solutions. While the University was working with partner firms to design and build The Commons, the Facilities Management Department collaborated with the College of Engineering. Project managers and researchers worked together to test the rain gardens during construction to ensure they met design specifications. Facilities also added in additional elements—such as access to power and wifi to support monitoring equipment—that will go a long way in making this complex a long-term research facility.