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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Columbia University
OP-27: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dan Held
Executive Director
Facilities Communication
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution use Low Impact Development (LID) practices as a matter of policy or standard practice to reduce rainwater/stormwater runoff volume and improve outgoing water quality for new construction, major renovation, and other projects?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s Low Impact Development (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 storm water 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 storm water 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is installing a new dedicated storm sewer and upgrading and relocating a combined (sanitary and storm) sewer to replace outdated 19th century sewage and water main systems in the Manhattanville area of West Harlem.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 PlaNYC 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 rain water away from the pavement that is used on the campus community garden on the Morningside campus.

Columbia's Rain Barrels:
http://gosustainable.blogspot.com/2010/11/rain-garden-is-coming-to-russell.html
Manhattanville's Stormwater Management: http://neighbors.columbia.edu/pages/manplanning/pdf-files/current-construction-storm-sewer.pdf


Has the institution adopted a rainwater/stormwater management policy, plan, or strategies that mitigate the rainwater runoff impacts of ongoing campus operations through the use of green infrastructure? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s rainwater/stormwater management policy, plan, and/or strategies for ongoing campus operations:

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 rain water away from the pavement that is used on the campus community garden on the Morningside campus.

+ Date Revised: April 22, 2015

A brief description of any rainwater harvesting employed by the institution:
---

Rainwater harvested directly and stored/used by the institution, performance year:
---

A brief description of any rainwater filtering systems employed by the institution to treat water prior to release:
---

A brief description of any living or vegetated roofs on campus:

The campus has green roofs on five of our buildings – we are the first institution of higher education in New York City to implement this technique as well as the first green roof research station. Zero Floor harvest sedum-a local plant from Upstate New York- supplies the greenroof and farm is within 2-300 miles of campus. The greenroofs are weeded once a year.


A brief description of any porous (i.e. permeable) paving employed by the institution:

New construction projects will lay down permeable pavement where applicable to reduce the flow of contaminants into the city’s waterways.


A brief description of any downspout disconnection employed by the institution:
---

A brief description of any rain gardens on campus:
---

A brief description of any stormwater retention and/or detention ponds employed by the institution:
---

A brief description of any bioswales on campus (vegetated, compost or stone):

Catoniasta plants are installed on top of the stone near Lewisohn Hall. The plants operate as a vegetative swale by diverting water and slowing down the water rate to allow for better groundwater recharge.


A brief description of any other rainwater management technologies or strategies employed by the institution:

Columbia’s Morningside campus employs a timed irrigation system. The Rain Bird irrigation system was installed on Lower Campus, College Walk and Low Plaza green spaces totaling about four acres. Columbia's irrigation grid with its 5,004 rotor heads is controlled and monitored by what's known as a cluster control computer. The customized system enhances campus environmental efforts by conserving water and power at about 20 percent. Over watering leaches nutrients, while under watering stresses the plant, which then becomes drought intolerant.

Columbia's irrigation system: http://facilities.columbia.edu/new-irrigation-system-sustainable-coup-scorching-summer
Manhattanville: http://neighbors.columbia.edu/pages/manplanning/pdf-files/current-construction-storm-sewer.pdf


The website URL where information about the institution’s rainwater management initiatives, plan or policy is available:

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.