Think outside the box to deliver sustainable stormwater solutions

Posted in: Municipal, Water

Previous pipe infiltration trench schematic

The reconstruction of Lacy Road in Fitchburg was a challenging project that needed major upgrades had and multiple, sometimes competing goals. The road serves as a major collector roadway within the City—bike lanes and multi-use pathways were added, utilities were upgraded, and the aging, inadequate drainage system was replaced to control peak flow and provide stormwater treatment.

Many aspects of the work came together to make this a successful, award-winning project. One of the most notable aspects for me was the innovative use of pervious pipes to achieve a sustainable, cost-effective design.

Pervious pipe

The project first investigated common stormwater solutions like wet detention and bioswales, but ultimately it was determined these wouldn’t meet the stormwater treatment goals in a satisfactory manner. Ponds required purchasing property and bioswales didn’t meet the stormwater treatment goals without adding a pond. We had to look outside the common solutions to find something that would work within the project’s expanded right-of-way. Through careful collaboration between the City and the design team, we came up with an innovative solution to install pervious pipe infiltration trenches in selective mainline storm sewer sections. This solution eliminated the previously anticipated need for additional right-of-way or property acquisition.

Pervious pipe infiltration trench construction

The project installed pervious pipe infiltration trenches within the reconstructed roadway corridor, avoiding two municipal wells, several private residential wells, steep slopes and shallow rock in the process.

The pipe is readily available for future application on other projects. Pervious pipe offers us an important and sustainable stormwater solution. It allows us to achieve water quality and quantity benefits through infiltration of stormwater into the ground. This enables more water to be reused, avoids further depletion of our water resources, and offers a cost-effective solution to our clients. It is vital that we look beyond common solutions to find the best fit for each client and project.

Completed project


Anne Anderson, PE

About the Author

Anne Anderson, PE, specializes in stormwater management, permitting, planning and municipal infrastructure projects. As a project manager and design team member, she has been involved in projects in the public and private sector throughout the Midwest. Read “Finding fulfillment beyond numbers: Mead & Hunt engineer taps new capabilities” that shares Anne’s love of storm water issues.

Read more posts by Anne Anderson, PE

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