Storm Water Management

This is part of our Campus Spotlight on the Global Water Initiative at the University of Virginia.


Catalog Description: “Emphasizes the management of stormwater quantity and quality, especially in urban areas. Course includes impacts of stormwater on infrastructure and ecosystems, hydrologic and contaminant transport principles, stormwater regulation, structural and non-structural stormwater management approaches, and modeling tools for stormwater analysis and management.” My course will emphasize projects and real world context.

Prerequisite: CE3220 Water Resources Engineering (or EVSC 3600) or instructor permission

Learning Objectives 

Students in the course will:

  • learn to estimate stormwater volumes and pollutant loads in real systems
  • develop insight into the regulatory, political, social, economic and environmental drivers of stormwater management,
  • explore emerging challenges and methodologies in stormwater and develop educational experience for other students
  • use appropriate software for analysis and presentation
  • and learn to evaluate runoff risks and design a component of a stormwater management system


Homework will include feedback from guest speakers, problems sets, and small modeling and/or design assignments. In some cases, class time may be allocated to this ‘homework’. Homeworks may include the following: Stormwater Overview, Grounds Response, Pipe Design, Loading, TR55, SWMM, and best management practice (BMP) finder and designs. Some assignments will be completed in pairs or teams. Assignments should be assumed to be ‘individual’ assignments unless specified otherwise by the faculty member.

Professor Individual/Team Quizzes 

Some topics will be introduced with guided readings, followed by in-class quizzes. Quizzes will be taken twice; first as individuals and then in small teams. You will receive the average of the two scores. There will be four or more such quizzes during the semester. This format has multiple educational advantages:

  • all students are motivated to complete readings and other preparatory assignments outside of class & less pure lecture time is required
  • multiple small quizzes creates a low stress testing environment
  • working in teams, all students are likely to have a solid understanding of material at the end of the quiz
  • most importantly, research has shown this approach more effectively helps students learn than standard lectures.

If you must have an excused absence for a quiz, you will be allowed to take the individual portion, but for that quiz, you will lose the opportunity to average your individual score with your group score.

Topical Project and Activities 

In small teams, students will explore emerging topics or techniques related to stormwater. Each team will be responsible for a day of class. The team must select an appropriate reading for the class, and plan an educational experience for the class. The experience must include a gradable in-class activity. This could be an individual/team quiz or an activity to complete in-class and submit. Topics may include the following:

  • Agricultural Runoff and Management
  • Stream Restoration
  • Combined Sewer Overflows
  • Stormwater and Climate Change
  • Construction Erosion & Sediment Control
  • Nutrient Trading Systems
  • Ultra-Urban BMPs
  • Site Planning (VA Environmental Site Design)
  • Stormwater Modeling: Beyond SWMM
  • Ice & Snow and Roadway Runoff
  • Fair and Effective Stormwater Utilities
  • Stormwater Design and Karst
  • Stormwater Design and High Water Tables

Assessment and Design Project 

Teams of students will be assigned a small set of properties within the county. Teams will assess the properties for their relative need for stormwater improvements and the overall impact from a technical and social perspective of making those changes. Teams will then select one of their properties and perform stormwater retrofits, including the design of at least two appropriate BMPs. Geographical information systems (GIS), stormwater modeling and computer-aided design (CAD) will be used within the course of this major project.


It is my objective to creative an active and effective learning environment. Learning requires your participation. Participation will be evaluated based primarily on asking and answering questions in class, and by completing in class activities. These points are collected and recorded throughout the semester. Participation will also include peer evaluation feedback from team members of major projects. Finally, your completion of required class evaluations, including completing the ‘official’ course evaluation via collab, completing supplemental course evaluation, and completing peer evaluations will be included within your participation points.


 Date Topic Reading Assignment
Aug 23 Class Overview MDE Manual Ch. 1
Aug 25 On-grounds Stormwater Management
Aug 30 Unified Sizing Approach – Volumes Va Manual

Ch. 10

Stormwater Overview
Sept 1 Flow Calculations Mays Chap 15 Grounds Response
Sept 6 Stormwater Pipe Drainage Systems
Sept 8 Water Quality BMP Monitoring Sect. 4.3 Topical Project Preferences
Sept 13 Event quality & sampling VRRM VRRM Manual

Chap 1-4

Pipe Design
Sept 15 TR-55/Project Intro TR55 Quiz
Sept 20 GIS Analysis Loading HW
Sept 22 TR-55
Sept 27 Parcel Assessment
Sept 29 SW Modeling TR-55
Oct 6 SW Modeling Parcel Assessment
Oct 11 SW Modeling SWMM
Oct 13 Stream Restoration
Oct 18 BMP activity Quiz
Oct 20 Environmental Site Design SWMM
Oct 25 Ice and Snow and Runoff
Oct 27 BMP activity Quiz
Nov 1 Construction Erosion and Sediment Control
Nov 3 BMP activity Quiz
Nov 8 Climate Change and Stormwater
Nov 10 BMP Design Parcel Part 2
Nov 15 Ultra-Urban BMPs
Nov 17 Project Work Design HW
Nov 22 Project Work
Nov 29 Project Work
Dec 1 Nutrient Trading
Dec 6 Summary
Dec 15 “Final” Projects Due


Select Resources:

Cahill, Thomas H., Low Impact Development and Sustainable Stormwater Management, Wiley and Sons, Somerset, N.J., 2012. Available at (must be on Grounds or using a secure login to Library resources)

Center for Watershed Protection and Maryland Department of the Environment, (2009, 2000), Maryland Stormwater Management Design Manual (2009 revisions), Baltimore, Maryland. Available at, as of August 2012

Geosyntec Consultants and Wright Water Engineers, 2009, Urban Stormwater BMP Performance Monitoring, US EPA, WERF, FHA, and EWRI, available at as of August 2016

International Stormwater Best Management Practices database,

Hydrometerological Design Studies Center – Precipitation Frequency Data Server (PFDS), NOAA National Weather Service,, as of September 2016

Simpson, T., and S. Weammert, 2009, Developing Best Management Practice Definitions and Effectiveness Estimates for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Final Report, University of Maryland Mid-Atlantic Water Program

Virginia Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse,, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia Water Resources Research Center, as of August 2014.

Virginia Stormwater Handbook (Draft 2013),

Virginia BMP Standards and Specifications (Draft 2013 ) (



These are syllabi of water courses or courses with significant water content from colleagues affiliated with the Global Water Initiative at the University of Virginia.

Photo: Water drainage | Shutterstock
Published on December 11, 2018.


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