LID retrofit fulfills unique benefits: walking trail, native plantings, sustainable facility

Posted in: Environmental, Infrastructure, Water


Milwaukee Water Works Riverside Pump StationThe Milwaukee Water Works Riverside Pump Station project, initiated as a flood risk reduction project, ended up providing many other benefits. By implementing Low Impact Development Best Management Practices, we were able to impact social, environmental and economic outcomes for our client.

Originally, the project’s sole purpose was to redirect and infiltrate storm water runoff away from a historic water pump station. Our storm water design team recommended reconstructing a portion of the main access roadway with permeable asphalt pavement and a stone riprap lined overflow channel to the Milwaukee River. With collaborative involvement of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the proposed design also removed storm water discharges to the combined sewer system by disconnecting the pump station building runoff. The storm water design addressed flow reduction and runoff treatment prior to discharge to the adjacent Milwaukee River, a regulated Waters of the U.S.

A benefit of working for a consulting firm with a national practice is being able to share and learn from our diverse project experiences. I was initially intrigued by this project because of the implementation of various LID BMPs such as permeable pavement. LID BMPs manage storm water runoff using on-site green infrastructure features to protect water quality. By collaborating with others, the design team was able to include other green infrastructure features, such as bioretention facilities, which reduced discharges to a combined sewer system and enhanced surface water quality.

Our team helped Milwaukee Water Works obtain grant funding in support of the green infrastructure project features. This funding let us add elements to this project, further enhancing its value to the City. We were able to add social and environmental benefits such as walking trail improvements and native riparian plantings. A low-cost operation and maintenance program supports the sustainable facility features.

This project demonstrates how cooperation and coordination between multiple agencies can lead to effective implementation of multiple LID BMPs and inclusion of sustainable design features. I strive to deliver similar award winning features in my clients’ projects by following this model.

More information about this project:


Kari Nichols, PE

About the Author

If a raindrop falls on the project, Kari Nichols, P.E., gets involved to find a storm water management solution. “I believe in dedication and follow-through,” she says. “Deciphering regulatory language and developing workable design solutions helps me connect with clients and colleagues.” Kari has a taste for adventure and a passion for sustainability, which she satisfies by exploring natural and urban environments.

Read more posts by Kari Nichols, PE

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