Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.13
Liaison Trey McDonald
Submission Date March 24, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of San Diego
OP-22: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Trey McDonald
Director of Sustainability and Energy Manager
"---" 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:

Section 8.10 of the USD Master Plan Update (2016) regards Stormwater Management. The section reads as follows:
"Integrate Stormwater Design Strategies:
USD’s Masterplan incorporates an updated comprehensive strategy for stormwater
management. Located along several ridge lines, the campus has direct interface to
drainage for Tecolote Creek, Mission Bay, and the San Diego River. Through various landscape strategies, the campus can utilize natural best management practices to treat, detain or re-use stormwater before it leaves the property. As stormwater management design criteria is always changing, refer to the most current state and local mandates.

Design Recommendations:
When incorporating storm water standards into the landscape, future projects
shall follow the principles set for in the City [of San Diego] LID Design Standards. These best management practices include: utilizing natural topography, reducing grading and habitat disturbance, preserve and retain existing trees and stands of native vegetation, and minimize impervious surfaces in the landscape and increase areas for natural infiltration and conveyance.

Landscape designs that can visibly showcase a storm event and/or incorporate
signage explaining the function of the treatment of bioretention area can be a
valuable educational tool. Bioretention areas, planters, swales shall be tastefully designed to integrate with the surrounding campus and follow architectural and landscape guidelines.

Planting in bioretention and treatment shall be primarily California native plant
species, which are naturally adapted to periodic inundation such as: rushes, sedges and willows. California native planting also provides habitat value for indigenous birds and animals and requires less supplemental irrigation and fertilization. Nonnative species may proliferate in bioretention areas, and should not be used, especially near any naturally occurring Riparian or Wetland habitats. Planting along with the use of boulders, cobble or rock can also help to reduce/slow the flow of runoff allowing the water to infiltrate."

USD also adheres to the storm water regulations set forth by the state of California. California has some of the most stringent stormwater runoff regulations in the country. As mandated by the state of California any time a site is disturbed green infrastructure such as modular wetlands, bioswales, and/or below grade discharge systems are installed. One project that best illustrates these practices is Colachis Plaza. In 2017 USD transformed 152,000 square feet of road and parking space into a landscaped pedestrian plaza, greatly reducing stormwater runoff generated on the west side of campus.

Finally, USD also employs “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) to prevent pollutants from entering the storm drain system. Response teams use dry clean-up methods such as vacuuming, sweeping, and rags or dry absorbents for spills and outdoor cleaning. Hazardous waste is properly labeled, stored, and disposed. USD also has extensive water intrusion plans for severe weather events.

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 City LID Handbook is located at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/pds/docs/LID_Handbook_2014.pdf

Regarding pollutants and run-off, employees are trained to minimize the possibility of pollutants to enter stormwater systems by utilizing “The Three C’s:”

Contain the work area by isolating debris and pollutants. Containment is the prevention of any potential flow or discharge from leaving the area and entering storm drains through the use of physical barriers such as sandbags, gravel bags, berms, etc.

Control mechanisms are processes and tools that allow you to manage an activity (work) area. A control mechanism can be as simple as sectioning off an activity into small units. Control also includes activities such as sweeping up debris, using a mop instead of a hose, or using a trigger nozzle instead of letting water run from a hose.

Capture all potential debris or run off. Once a job has been completed, the area is to be cleaned and all pollutants and other debris properly disposed (swept, vacuumed, etc.).

The USD Environmental Health & Safety office maintains equipment and supplies for containment, control and capture, including storm drain covers, storm drain curb inlet protectors, and oil absorbent socks. Training to protect storm drains from pollutants and the use of the protection equipment is provided for departments that require it.

Website URL where information about the institution’s green infrastructure and LID practices is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.