Amount Awarded:
Funding Received:
Project Status:
 Active: Planning phase

Executive Summary

In the first phase of BIOSWALE UW, the student-led team will support and engage with the piloting of a regional green stormwater treatment approach being conducted through the design and construction of the San Juan Basin Green Stormwater Infrastructure Regional Treatment Facility (SJB-GSI) in conjunction with the new Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) in south campus. Through CSF funding, BIOSWALE UW will contribute a portion of the material costs of the SJB GSI. In parallel, student and faculty research connecting academia and practice will provide research-informed recommendations to design decision makers and evaluate the economic and environmental impacts of the SJB-GSI to assess the potentials and best practices for implementing this regional GSI approach within future sustainable development efforts on campus. Research in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) will perform life cycle environmental and economic analysis (LCA and LCCA) of the SJB GSI and also will test and assess the viability of biochar as a contaminant-removing amendment to bioretention media to improve stormwater quality and efficacy of treatment. Pilot scale analysis and testing with biochar will inform recommendations to the design team. Research in the Landscape Architecture Department will contribute to planting recommendations and assessment and engage with planting design where appropriate. Integrating with this real world GSI project at opportune field based and classroom interfaces will provide students with unique opportunities to gain industry exposure and learning around professional practices and GSI implementation. The GSI concept and project will be integrated within the educational program of several CEE and L.Arch classes. Among these activities, the professional design partners will be invited to be guest speakers in these classes. This project is also an opportunity to invite an array of communities to interact with the site: student sustainability groups, local naturalists, people who eat lunch nearby, etc. The project’s public visibility and proximity to the water make it an ideal location for educating the public about green stormwater infrastructure. Working with UW facilities, students will better understand the process of sustainable development, especially on campus. The research and design piloted in the flume will act as a foundation for additional regional scale stormwater projects that can be implemented at other locations or campuses. Lessons learned can be used to identify other locations on campus that can support the mission of sustainable stormwater management in future development. Students can also play a role in identifying and ideating for adjacent landscape projects that would benefit the overall system through ecological well-being and resilience. Professional Project Integration: The San Juan Basin Green Stormwater Infrastructure Facility (SJB GSI) will be constructed in concert with the new Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) and serve a basin of ~34 acres which consists both of University-owned land and City of Seattle right-of-way, discharging to a UW-owned storm outfall to Portage Bay. Runoff from the existing basin is currently untreated. Creating a regional stormwater treatment facility will proactively preclude the need for site-by-site required stormwater treatment with any campus development in this part of campus by creating one regional facility. Just upstream of the existing outfall; a flow-splitter will be installed, diverting flow to an abandoned concrete flume historically used in conjunction with the teaching lab for civil engineering classes. Bioretention soil, plants, and necessary infrastructure will be installed within that flume. The flume can also serve as a living laboratory, allowing classes to monitor and study stormwater treatment in situ.

Primary Contact:
Erin Horn