University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Environmental Sustainability Report
Recognizing that the construction of 5.9 million square feet of new buildings would typically cause an increase in stormwater runoff, the
university is in the process of developing a stormwater master plan funded by the
higher education bond. In the 10-year development plan already submitted to the town of Chapel Hill, the
university has committed to no net increase in stormwater volume, runoff rate or pollutant load in any of the five campus drainage basins.
Impervious surface area on campus will increase by only one percent as a result of planned construction. Some 20 acres of surface parking will be removed and 10 acres of new
green space will be created. Vegetated roofs will be incorporated in several locations, including the top of a parking deck. Portions of two streams that have been buried and placed in pipes over the years will be daylit to the extent possible, restoring oxygen and sunlight.
Many methods will be employed to reduce stormwater runoff. Porous bituminous pavement will soon be installed on a pilot basis at a parking lot expansion. A bed of stone underneath the pavement will catch and store the water, allowing it to infiltrate the soil. A similar strategy is proposed for use under a reconstructed playing field. Roof areas generate significant volumes of clean and sediment free runoff, that is typically allowed to scour pollutants from the land surface and cause erosion. Roof leaders that directly connect this water to sub-surface storage and infiltration beds will be installed in several locations.
Three types of stream monitoring will be conducted to assess any changes caused by stormwater runoff during and following construction.
Using potable water more efficiently is another campus goal. Improved metering and better practices are both being evaluated. Supplying distilled water to science labs using reverse osmosis units is one change that may offer considerable savings. Using greywater to flush toilets and water the landscape is another opportunity. The Green Games competition between residence halls may also lead to more efficient practices. Waterless urinals and composting toilets are two of the new technologies under consideration.
Capturing silver from the 80 photo processing labs on campus is one of the water quality initiatives currently under way. To raise awareness about water quality, stormwater grates are being marked to discourage illicit dumping into surface water supplies. The grounds department already applies large quantities of site-generated mulch and employs integrated pest management strategies to reduce the use and contamination of water. Further improvements, especially by the athletics department, will be sought.
Contact: Sharon Myers