Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.45
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Louisville
OP-22: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Justin Mog
Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives
Office of the Provost
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Which of the following best describes the institution’s approach to rainwater management?:
Comprehensive policies, plans or guidelines that require LID practices for all new projects

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

The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) requires new development projects to have post-developed flow not to exceed pre-developed flow based on 100-year storm modeling.
These standards have applied to several projects on campus and are contributing to reduced stormwater runoff from projects such as the HSC Garage II and Clinical & Translational Research building. Whereas the University was formerly exploring the concept of infiltration basins, it has now installed several... Many traditional-looking parking lots, plazas and lawns across campus now conceal advanced stormwater infiltration systems. Instead of draining to the combined sewer system, these areas drain to large underground infiltration basins capable of handling huge rainfall events and the water from surrounding rooftops. These designs were included in many of the projects detailed, including the Belknap Academic Building, Lynn Soccer Stadium, The College of Business Equine Addition, Ekstrom Library West Lawn, And more included at the link below.

In the past few years:
- In April 2019, UofL un-paved Brook Street through campus from the Lutz Circle at University Blvd. north to the SAC. This site, where we had long suffered some of the worst flooding after paving over an historic brook, was transformed into a more permeable bike and pedestrian plaza with a massive underground stormwater infiltration system and new trees to help prevent flooding. This project was part of the site redevelopment of the LEED Gold Belknap Academic Building.
- This LEED Gold facility was designed to include an infiltration system in the plaza to the west which captures roof run-off from the new building, as well from Shumaker Research Building, Schneider Hall, and Lutz Hall. The system was installed in March 2018
- In 2016, UofL's Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research reinstalled the student-designed Phoenix House on campus with large rain barrels for landscape irrigation. The LEED Gold Student Recreation Center features a 30,000 gallon cistern to capture runoff from the roof (as well as HVAC condensate) for reuse in irrigation. Any excess is returned to the aquifer through a massive infiltration basin. The LEED Gold Clinical & Translational Research Building at HSC also features a cistern to capture HVAC condensate for reuse in irrigation rather than draining to the sewer system.
-Rain Gardens: Areas of campus will be redesigned to channel runoff into shallow depressions which can be replanted with deep-rooted, native species to facilitate infiltration, converting a waste problem (runoff) into a beneficial good (groundwater).

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:

UofL is working with Louisville's Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) on a variety of "green infrastructure" projects to help keep stormwater runoff out of the combined sewer system. In the past, every raindrop that hit UofL's rooftops (over 2.2 million square feet on Belknap campus alone!) and pavements was channeled into the same sewer system that handles our sewage which truly needs to be treated. But, as our former Vice-President for Business Affairs, Larry Owsley put it, "When you have that much rain in that short a time, the sewers — which are large sewers — just back up and there's no place for the water to go." Even if the sewers can handle stormwater from UofL, the treatment plants at the end of the pipe often cannot, leading to dangerous releases of untreated sewage into the Ohio River - a threat to human health and ecological integrity.

UofL has pursued means of lessening the risk of flood and reducing our campus' contribution to the problem by diverting stormwater from the sewer system all together through infiltration and rainwater harvesting projects, or by slowing its release through water absorbing changes to our campus landscape. Around campus, we have designed and installed several infiltration basins disconnected downspouts, installed vegetated green roofs, and built rain gardens and bioswales to facilitate groundwater recharge through infiltration.

In recent years, UofL made several changes to campus landscaping, parking lots and rooftops, with the help of $1.25 million in cost-sharing from MSD. We think that this significant investment will essentially pay for itself by helping prevent millions of dollars in future flood damage. We are also hoping the projects at UofL will serve as an example for similar projects across the city on both public and private property. MSD's investment in Belknap campus stormwater projects is part of an $850 million agreement that MSD made in federal court with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators in 2005 to reduce the incidence of combined sewer overflows into waterways during storm events.

Website URL where information about the institution’s green infrastructure and LID practices is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

There are BOUNTIFUL resources available to view at the following link which explore in great detail all of UofL's rainwater best management practices and infrastructure.


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.