– Stormwater Master Plan


“Urban stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces is the number one threat to water quality in Lake Michigan, and by extension to many other bodies of water. Our goal is to break new ground in the interdisciplinary art and science of designing ‘green infrastructure;’ stormwater systems designed for urban conditions.

In particular, we are interested in the design and performance of ecologically and aesthetically engaging stormwater systems designed for densely built sites, poorly drained soils and cold climates.”      

 -Professor Jim Wasley, The Pavilion Gateway Demonstration Project Principal Investigator

One key element for a sustainable UWM is to regard its geographical location.  The campus’s proximity to Lake Michigan and the need to address stormwater runoff into the Great Lakes make UWM a prime location for designing, implementing, and monitoring the benefits of stormwater management in an urban location.

In 2006 Jim Wasley, Associate Professor in the School of Architecture of UWM, completed the UWM as Zero-Discharge Zone: A stormwater masterplan for the UWM campus with the assistance of graduate students and an interdisciplinary academic team.  Along with this extensive campus-wide plan was also The Pavilion Gateway Demonstration Project, a more detailed project that encompasses a specific 4 acres of campus, which is currently under construction.  Both address stormwater management on a highly impervious surface campus through alternative measures.

Pavilion Gateway Demonstration Project Installation

The Pavilion Gateway is an above grade, natural filtration corridor, winding through the northeast quarter of campus that captures area stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces and roofs by means of several “Best Management Practice” (BMP)  features. The resulting landscape not only functionally alleviates pressure on stormwater runoff and the Edgewood Avenue interceptor, but it also becomes a dramatic interpretive landscape and pedestrian corridor that engages the campus community on sustainable stormwater management and integrated green design.

Stormwater Management Parking Lot 18

Parking Lot “18” near the Heat Plant and its surrounding area are the heart of The Pavilion Gateway Demonstration Project.   All northerly drainage of the demonstration project comes to this site.

Lot 18 is accessible from Downer Avenue, just north of Hartford Avenue, and south of Edgewood Avenue, the northern campus border to the Village of Shorewood.  Under this extent, a spiral garden has been constructed as “the end” of the corridor, which makes slow infiltration possible, and lessens demand on the sewer system.  The 5,011 sq. ft. spiral garden is planted with native species supporting ecological restoration and habitat creation goals as well as proving the point that native perennial plantings can be seen as decorative gardens in a formal campus setting.  The second feature is the treatment train, a 358 linear foot system of vegetated bio-swales that captures runoff from the parking lot, as well as from five newly disconnected downspouts.

The train runs parallel to the western edge of Parking Lot 18, running north to the spiral garden. This feature makes use of native plantings to filter non-point source pollution coming from the roofs and parking lot.  These two features working in conjunction serve as the primary transportation and storage for heavy rainfall events.  The spiral garden sits at the downhill end of the linear treatment train and future contributing features, and is the last and most important sampling station for testing water before it enters the campus storm sewer system. Modifications to Lot 18 include six curb cuts to allow runoff to discharge into the treatment train.

Five roof downspout disconnects have also been made to contribute to the treatment train.  The pedestrian circulation route has been redesigned to allow for the coexistence of pedestrians and treatment train.  This walk allows for places to sit and congregate while connecting to the Klotsche Pavilion.  Various integrated design elements such as an ornamental trench drain and “train crossings” further enhances the movement of water.

The project scope of Lot 18 addresses 1.48 acres of impervious surface, out of the entire 4 acres in the full Pavilion Gateway Demonstration Project. Hydrologic and hydraulic analyses were required to determine peak stormwater runoff rates from the site for existing and proposed conditions under the City of Milwaukee requirements.  It is proposed that this implementation will reduce a 2 year peak flow event into the storm sewer by 97%, a 10 year peak flow event by 79%, and a 100 year peak flow event by 48%.

Implementing stormwater management into this lot’s resurfacing was made possible through matching funds from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and UWM.

Additional Information

UWM as a Zero-Discharge Zone: A Stormwater Masterplanning Study for the UWM Campus

Project To Date in 2014- Built Work 2006-2013