Richmond Green Schools Program

Richmond Green Schools Program

Richmond, Virginia
United States
Richmond, Virginia

Greeley and Hansen, A TYLin Company, developed a program to install green stormwater facilities to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutant loads on Richmond Public School campuses.

To promote green technologies and reduce stormwater runoff and pollutant loads to the City's receiving waters, Greeley and Hansen worked closely with the City of Richmond to obtain a Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund grant and identify potential locations to install green stormwater facilities. The grant stipulated that the project must provide improved water quality through the use of "green" technologies. Greeley and Hansen provided the City with multiple project locations that could easily integrate green infrastructure technologies to reduce run off and improve water quality. Ultimately, two City‐owned Richmond Public School campuses, with large impervious surfaces, were selected partially due to the minimal coordination needed with other public agencies. Greeley and Hansen acted as a liaison between Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the City, and the School Board in order to coordinate the design and construction. Periodic meetings were set up with all groups to coordinate design issues and ensure each group was well informed and satisfied with the direction of the project.

The project involved the installation of two bioretention basins, six infiltration planters, and an Americast Bacterra at the Chimborazo Elementary campus and two bioretention basins at the Albert V. Norrell Annex campus. Initially, influent and effluent sampling was a component of the project; however, due to funding limitations the City chose not address sampling under this contract. All of the bioretention basins were designed to make sampling feasible via drain basins connected to the underdrains. Extensive investigations were undertaken at each site to identify the maximum stormwater runoff volumes that could be captured and treated at each site based on existing drainage patterns and roof drain system. Early on the design incorporated careful coordination with each school to ensure the resulting facilities could be used as an educational tool and not hinder the daily operations at the schools.

The stormwater project resulted in many residual benefits along with the improved stormwater quality and quantity reduction benefits. The community received an appealing streetscape and portions of old parking lots were transformed into thriving gardens adding aesthetic beauty to community. Through coordination with the City and the elementary school the project also provided an educational opportunity. The school decided to use the rain garden as a teaching tool to expose the students to the science of hydrology and to promote environmental awareness. Each year the school now selects five fifth grade students to become stormwater liaisons to teach their peers about the rain gardens and further their environmental stewardship. 

Project Highlights: 

  • Green infrastructure planning and design 
  • Hydraulic modeling 
  • Template for future Green Infrastructure projects 
  • Long term benefits in addition to stormwater reductions