Sustainability and Resiliency

Stormwater Master Plan

Informing campus development in a way that does not increase stormwater runoff.

The Stormwater Master Plan, currently awaiting approval by RI DEM,  established a campus-wide credit and debit tracking system to address the requirements of the three regional authorities which have jurisdiction over stormwater: The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Narragansett Bay Commission, and the City of Providence.

Under the master plan, the requirements of all three agencies must be collectively met at all times, meaning that the credit tally for each agency must be even or positive. By providing the flexibility to construct stormwater treatment systems in locations that are separate from corresponding development projects, Brown’s master plan eliminates compromises to stormwater treatment imposed by the constraints of any particular parcel.

While the Master Plan does not lay out specific stormwater reduction goals, over the coming years the the associate provost for sustainability, in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, will explore the environmental consequences of Brown’s current stormwater management system and weigh the costs and benefits of changes to that system against other sustainability priorities. If exploration of such questions reveals major environmental benefits to stormwater reduction, Brown will take further steps toward mitigation.

Green Roofs

To mitigate stormwater runoff, FM’s Grounds Division maintains three green roofs at the Granoff Center, the Medical School, and the Sciences Library, and three rain gardens at Applied Math, 85 Waterman, and the Granoff Center. These “gardens,” populated by hearty, water-absorbent grasses and plants soak up rainwater before it has a chance to enter storm drains and pick up debris and pollutants along the way.

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Stormwater Reuse Tank

85 Waterman utilizes a rainwater reuse system (greywater system) to provide water for the building’s toilets. The conservatory on top of the building uses rooftop drains to collect rainwater, which travels through storm drain downspouts to the 11,000 gallon underground stormwater detention tank. Then the rainwater is filtered and treated in the rainwater pump room before being pumped into the building’s toilets.

EPA Rainwater Harvesting handbook