Monday, 16 April 2012

Stormwater Management at Dalhousie University

A group of students enrolled in “Campus as a Living Lab”, a course at Dalhousie University that aims to engage students in efforts to “green” the campus and surrounding areas, have delved into the world of stormwater management. Students, Bridgette DeCoste, Tiara Pettinger, Robyn Pirie, Nicole Power, Michelle Simone and Paul Westlund, chose two areas on campus, the Dunn parking lot and the Grad House, to focus their research. The intention was to create transferable stormwater management designs that could be implemented by homeowners who are interested in managing stormwater on their properties. The students created three levels of increasingly complex designs for both sites and investigated five different management approaches; vegetated swales, permeable pavement, rain gardens, rain barrels, and French drains. The students then presented their designs to experts in the field, as well as with facilities management staff at Dalhousie to determine the most feasible and cost-effective approach to stormwater management on the two sites.

Here are graphics of the third designs for each location

Dunn Parking lot - featuring permeable pavement and vegetated swales

Grad House- featuring french drain, rain barrels and rain gardens

The most interesting part about this report for the Ecology Action Centre is the transferability of the designs. Because each component of their designs is featured individually as well as a part of the whole system, the report contains a wealth of information directly relatable to any homeowner who’s looking into taking on some of these retrofits on their own properties. The report also contains several appendices including tables with a complete breakdown of all the costs associated with these retrofits, and a list of water-loving plants native to Nova Scotia, for installation in the rain gardens.

Thanks to all the students for their excellent work.


  1. The journal looks very complete when it comes to being clear with the details. The design presents a good layout of the rain gardens that will help a lot in managing rain water when the rainy season comes a long. But what’s even better is that they also add to the beauty of the landscape. Schools, especially the Dalhousie University, will fully benefit from this kind of planning because it ensures the safety of the students and the facility itself. Let’s hope this stormwater management project becomes a success.

  2. Great idea! Was this really a concept made by students? It feels good to know that there are still students who care very much for Mother Nature. If only more students of the current generation would use their intelligence to create such things to benefit our environment, and in turn, our community, then we’ll no longer have to worry much about flooding. Congratulations to the students! Keep it up!

    -Sharon Strock