Bio-retention, bio-swales improve stormwater quality

The University of Wisconsin – Madison established goals for cleaning up storm water quality on its West Campus. Our team overcame the challenges of high ground water and contaminated soils. We provided the university with a two-phase plan to clean up the stormwater runoff.

By using current technology and plans from a previous study, our team recommended alternatives and found the needed space for stormwater treatment features. Phase one introduced new engineered soil mixes to certain areas of campus through bio-retention facilities. Phase two constructed a bio-swale to capture stormwater before it entered nearby Lake Mendota. This phase also created two naturalized wet detention ponds populated with native plants to address high groundwater concerns. The ponds will capture and treat runoff before it flows into the Class of 1918 Marsh and Lake Mendota.


The Daily Reporter
The Daily Reporter
Top Projects Award
American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin
American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin
Engineering Excellence Award


University of Wisconsin Stormwater Quality Management Plan


DOA Division of State Facilities

Expertise Provided



Madison, WI


The project's success included creating areas that would accomplish the lofty goal of as much total suspended solids (TSS) removal as possible while not ponding water for more than 24 hours. ...Non-traditional solutions delivered much more than the original stormwater goals.
Rhonda James
Landscape Architect, University of Wisconsin Facilities Planning & Management