Nov 14, 2019

SWS Announces 2019 Top Project Winners

SWS announced its annual Top Project winners in the storm water and erosion control industries at its 2019 SWS Conference & Exhibition, which took place from Nov. 12-14 in Tinley Park, Ill. 

The Whispering Firs Stormwater Park based in Washington was this year's number one project.
The Whispering Firs Stormwater Park based in Washington was this year's number one project.

On Thursday, November 14, Storm Water Solutions awarded its annual Top Project winners during the third annual SWS Conference & Exhibition in Tinley Park, Ill. Each project was nominated through the media brand’s website and then later judged by the SWS editorial staff. The 2019 top projects overcame challenges while innovating the way storm water is managed and required close collaboration with engineers, architects and other professionals.

Below is a list of the winners, along with information and data on each project. 

Whispering Firs Stormwater Park 

The Whispering Firs Stormwater Park in Washington was the number one project.

The Kitsap County Public Works Department in Washington transformed a vacant former trailer park into a multi-function and benefit regional storm water retrofit facility called Whispering Firs that uses green treatment techniques to treat runoff in a way that meets current Washington State Department of Ecology water quality standards. Coming off the successful implementation of the Manchester Stormwater Park, the department decided to use a similar retrofit design for Whispering Firs to expand it beyond just a retention pond. The $4 million project treats 113 acres of high-use roadway and residential areas and treats total suspended solids, total petroleum hydrocarbons, metals and nutrients and reduces flows to Clear Creek.

Location: Silverdale, Wash.

Cost: $4 million

Size: 113 acres

Owner: Kitsap County 

Manager: Chris May

Designer: Contech, N.L. Olson & Assoc. and Parametrix

Contractor: Sound Excavation Inc.

Manufacturer: Contech Engineered Solutions

Rancho Cucamonga Freeway Fire Restoration

This project in Rancho Cucamonga was necessary for erosion control after a wildfire.

When more than 20 acres of land were burned in the California Freeway Fire, an emergency restoration project was deemed necessary. So, the California Department of Transportation District 8 worked with others, including Profile Products, to establish sustainable vegetation to avoid post-burn dangers, apply the proper solution on the first try as it used public funds, amend the soil to create optimal growing conditions and safely apply an erosion control product to hold seed and soil in place until germination. Within three months, the site was covered in a blanket of purple and yellow wildflowers.

Location: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. 

Cost: $75,000

Size: 20 acres

Owner: Caltrans District 8

Designer: Caltrans District 8 Landscape Architect

Contractors: McLoughlin Engineering Co. Inc., Pacific Restoration Group Inc. and Stover Seed Company

Manufacturer: FINN & Profile Products 


City Hall & Squires Avenue Parking Lots & Green Alley

City Hall and Squires and Green Alley

 As both an MS4 community and part of the Milwaukee River Basin, the city of Cudahy, Wisc., is required to remove suspended solids and phosphorus from storm water runoff. Additionally, the city is committed to implementing green infrastructure practices into public works projects, so when the city was tasked with replacing an alley and a couple of parking lots, they were introduced to air-cooled blast furnace slag. After an ecotoxicity test showed little impact, and a way to work around a residential area was discovered, the city chose to use a permeable articulating concrete block to capture and transfer storm water under the alley and one parking lot.  A high-performance biofilter was used for the second parking lot. To document the capability of the systems, officials have implemented a three-year monitoring program of the discharge for both project areas.

Location: Cudahy, Wisc. 

Cost: $487, 470

Size: 32,762 sq ft 

Owner: City of Cudahy

Managers: Todd Weik & Mary Jo Lang

Designer: CBC Engineers and Assoc.




This project took a former industrial complex and redeveloped it into a complex called “VERDE,” which includes six residential buildings, parking, a fitness center, maintenance building, four multi-car garages, sidewalks and other open space amenities. The redevelopment strategies had to match the neighborhood’s existing context, meet storm water regulations and comply with all applicable environmental requirements. Four water-tight underground storm water facilities and conveyance infrastructure improvements were implemented. Additionally, project officials conducted a water quality analysis and implemented best management practices for the removal of total suspended solids, nitrogen and phosphorus in accordance with the General NPDES permit requirements. 

Location: Hummelstown, Pa.

Cost: $19.6 million

Size: 2,688,900 gallons per year

Owner: 2nd Street Realty Assoc.

Manager: Lawson Development & Construction Corp.

Designer: RGS Assoc. Inc. 

Contractor: Ebersole Excavating Inc. 

Manufacturers: ADS, Best Management Inlet & Pipe Protection Inc., Monarch Precast and Filtrexx 


Stormwater Storage Facility Underneath Boston College's New Athletic Field House

Boston College

The Lower Campus area of Boston College is the hub of activity with some important buildings in its vicinity, such as the Alumni Stadium, Conte Forum, the Fish Fieldhouse, the campus police and others. However, this project was deemed necessary because the school was built into the side of a hill, meaning the verticality of the campus and its underground drainage systems cause the lower campus to suffer from heavy rain events. Two to four times a year, the campus can be inundated with up to 3.5 ft of flooding. In addition, the city of Boston’s storm water infrastructure has faced some challenges, including not having an outlet for any volume or velocity of collected storm water to exit the Boston College system. To combat these issues, an underground detention system with a watertight basin was built and designed under the Fish Fieldhouse with the capability of storing approximately 2.5 million gall of storm water that can provide 25 years of flood protection for the campus.

Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Cost: $1.348 million

Size: 7.57 acre-ft 

Owner: Boston College

Manager & Designer: Waterfield Design Group Inc. 

Contractor: Suffolk Construction

Manufacturer: StormTrap


Van Nuys Blvd Green Street Project

Van Nuys

The Van Nuys Blvd Green Street Project (Project) captures stormwater and urban runoff from a 100-acre watershed and infiltrates the captured water into the ground. The Los Angeles Sanitation Environment needed to improve the quality of the Los Angeles River water to meet the provisions of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit. The project is designed to reduce localized flooding, remove pollutants, such as trash, metals and bacteria and increase groundwater recharge in the San Fernando Groundwater Basin, which is currently at less than 50% of its storage capacity. The project incorporated various green infrastructure elements including 21 dry wells, nine bioswales and 11 porous concrete gutters. There are four more similar projects slated for the area to be completed by the end of 2020 as they assist the city of Los Angeles in meeting water quality standards by the Regional Water Quality Control Board for the Los Angeles River Watershed. 

Location: Pacoima, Los Angeles, Calif.

Cost: $3.36 million

Size: 95 acre-ft per year 

Owner: CIty of Los Angeles

Manager: Wing Tam & Ryan Thiha

Designers: City of Los Angeles and GeoSyntec

Contractors: GeoSyntec and El Camino Construction & Engineering Corp.

Manufacturers: Torrent Resources Inc.and Porous Technologies LLC


San Antonio Water System Fixing America's Infrastructure With Smart City Technology

San Antonio

Without underground visibility, sewer operators in San Antonio routinely cleaned the same pipes on a routine, calendar-based system. To transition from this process to one that was more efficient, the San Antonio Water System integrated SmartCover’s data-driven monitoring and decision support to help improve their understanding of the system, optimize cleaning routines and protect human and environmental health. Since implementing the SmartCover system, there have been 65 cleanings, a decrease from the previous 1,246 cleanings. SAWS has since seen a 95% reduction in cleaning and zero sanitary sewer overflow incidents with 216 SSO “saves,” which equates to more than $1 million in savings based on the average spill cost of $5,000. In addition, human and equipment resources are freed for other needs, risk to staff and SAWS’ carbon foot print are reduced and management has access to more data to prioritize capital investments.

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Cost: $300,000

Size: 70 miles of sewer line. 

Owner: San Antonio Water System

Manager & Designer: SmartCover Systems

Contractors: SmartCover Systems and ACE Pipe

Manufacturers: SmartCover and Iridium 


River Wyre Flood Protection Works

River Wyre

After a large flooding event impacted a farm, workshop and a private house on the River Wyre riverbank, property owners sought out a solution. A simple redesign showed that with a raised flood bund and additional features, flooding could be prevented. After implementing precast concrete flood blocks, the final design of the project covers more than 500 flood defenses with a combination of earthen raised bund through agricultural land and a 1.5 meter high modular block wall. The project is complete with gates and demountable barriers where the line comes closer to a domestic property. In the end, this solution protects the entire village of Churchtown in Lancashire in the United Kingdom and not just the three original properties. 

Location: Garstang, United Kingdom.

Cost: 90,000 euros

Size: 600m bund & 70 m flood wall 

Owner: FloodSafe Projects

Manager: John O'gara

Designer: Marshalls CPM

Contractors: Floodsafe Projects

Manufacturers: Marshalls CPM


Commercial Site Low Impact Development Best Management Practice Retrofit

Low Impact Development Best Management Practices

In an effort to replenish local groundwater supplies and reduce potential pollutant discharges to the Municipal Storm Sewer System, CASC Engineering & Consulting retrofitted a 1.7 acre commercial development office site to capture and infiltrate runoff. Despite the low permeability of the top soil and liquefaction, low impact development best management practices were implemented to cover more than 100% of the site. The LID BMPs include two infiltration basins, two infiltration trenches, two areas of pervious paving, one area of pervious interlocking pavers, one roof-runoff diversion system and three areas of turf conversion. These practices reduced the site’s storm water discharges, increased infiltration and reduce potable water. Before the retrofit, 100% of the site drained directly into the street or adjacent creek. Now, only 14,983 sq ft drain to those areas, which is a 79.6% reduction.The project also reduced water usage by removing 10,877 sq ft of turf and installed drought tolerant landscaping.

Location: Colton, Calif.

Cost: $75,000 - $100,000

Size: 74,052 sq ft 

Owner: 1470 Cooley LLC

Manager: Rick Sidor

Designer:  Rick Sidor, PE, Anthony Mistretta, PE, Ed Gerlach, RLA and Jeff Endicott, PE 

Contractor: CASC Engineering & Consulting Staff 

Manufacturers: Bobcat, GEHL, Kubota, John Deere, Bomah and Multiquip 


Ebinport/Northgate Stormwater Improvement Project


During times of heavy rain, the intersection of Ebinport Road and Northgate Lane in Rock Hill, S.C., would become overwhelmed and caused yard flooding and property damage to five residences. It was discovered that a box culvert installed under the intersection in 2007 was undersized. After careful analysis, this project was started to limit overtopping of the existing creek banks in the vicinity of the residences.  The project team decided to create a large, regional impoundment area to control flows to a newly constructed dam and culvert with the advantages of additional flood control for a majority of the 70-acre watershed the intersection drained into, which also established a natural floodplain and wetland area. Once the dam was completed, the site was fine-graded, seeded and strawed or matted for stabilization purposes. Project Manager David Dickson said the wetland species seeds have produced many plants, bringing wildlife to the vicinity. 

Location: Rock Hill, S.C.

Cost: $375,109

Size: 456 cfs inflow for 100-year event

Owner: City of Rock Hill, S.C.

Manager: David F. Dickson 

Designer: Jon Aldridge, PE with McAdams

Contractor: City of Rock Hill 

Manufacturer: Freightliner, Mack Truck, Ford, Caterpillar, Kubota, Kaiser and rented Linkbelt