Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Columbia University
OP-23: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 2.00 Dan Held
Assistant Vice President
Strategic Communications, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Which of the following best describes the institution’s approach to rainwater management?:
No written policies, plans or guidelines, but green infrastructure and LID practices are used

A brief description of the institution’s green infrastructure and LID practices:

Columbia University emphasizes effective stormwater management in new construction as part of the university’s commitment to a standard of LEED Silver for new construction. There is a stormwater diversion plan planned for the new Medical and Graduate Education Building, currently in design as well as implanting a vegetative marshland at the Campbell Sports Center. The stormwater management initiatives for new buildings work to optimize stormwater management tactics based upon the LEED credits for stormwater under new construction, seeking a LEED-silver level or better.

Additionally as part of the Manhattanville campus plan, with the campus so close to the Hudson River, stormwater management is a concern. An irrigation system and adding substantial greenscaping to a predominantly concrete area is part of the thoughtful stormwater management plan has been developed for the entire 17-acre campus as part of the LEED ND Platinum certification. Columbia is installing a new dedicated storm sewer and upgrading and relocating a combined (sanitary and storm) sewer to replace outdated 19th-century sewage and water main systems in the Manhattanville area of West Harlem. The sewer project began in fall 2009 and is scheduled for an estimated completion in 2012 with a total project cost of $14.925 million.
Project Benefits:
• Improves the water quality of the Hudson River
• Reduces flows to the local New York City wastewater treatment plant by an estimated 9.9
million gallons per year. This also saves energy at the plant.
• Reduces the amount of combined sewage overflows (CSOs) discharged into the Hudson River
by an estimated 1.6 million gallons per year.
• Helps the NYC Carbon Challenge goal of being able to use New York City’s rich network of waterways as
recreational resources.
• Consistent with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River
Plan and the New York/New Jersey Harbor Comprehensive Conservation Plan.
• Improves service to the community
• Replaces and upgrades outdated sewage and water main systems – a legacy of 19th century
municipal engineering found mostly in older cities like New York.
• Relieves the pressure placed on the combined sewers during major rain events.
• Reduces street flooding and building sewer back-ups.
• Facilitates the upgrade of other utility services which will result in less service interruptions.

In day to day operations, stormwater management is considered throughout the campus with green softscape an integral part of the urban city campus, walkways and sidewalks constructed with brick or paving stones that allow water to drain and greenroofs added to several buildings including 635 West 115th St., GreenBorough residential brownstone, 118th St, a patch between Hartley and Hamilton residence halls, and Uris Library. There is also a rain barrel to collect and divert rainwater away from the pavement that is used on the campus community garden on the Morningside campus.

Columbia's Rain Barrels:
Manhattanville's Stormwater Management: http://neighbors.columbia.edu/pages/manplanning/pdf-files/current-construction-storm-sewer.pdf

A copy of the institution’s rainwater management policy, plan, and/or guidelines:

A brief description of the institution’s rainwater management policy, plan, and/or guidelines that supports the responses above:


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.