When the University of Minnesota (UM) decided to build a new football facility, school officials wanted to construct a green venue. Due to a city-based campus and limited green space, the primary challenge was creating a sustainable and durable stormwater solution. After researching viable options, Firestones Environmental Passive Irrigation Chamber (EPIC Chamber System) was selected for the project.
The system collects rainwater and runoff, filters pollutants and slows the rate of water flow into the nearby Mississippi River.
With approximately 600 chambers, an EPIC Chamber System was laid every 40 ft_ in the grassy area adjacent to the stadium. The underground system takes up 0.54 acres of land while collecting water from a watershed of 3.75 acres. The system can hold more than 140,000 gal of water in its above and below-ground capacities, and can handle all runoff from a 3.5 inch rain event.
From a sustainability standpoint, were able to reduce our need and related costs for irrigation because the roots from the turf pull water up through the sand profile, said Doug Lauer, Landcare Supervisor for UM. We also save money by eliminating the disposal of water down the storm sewer. Since the product was installed, potable water use has been reduced by 30%. In addition, the EPIC Chamber System has removed 70-85% of suspended solids, and up to 35% of pathogens including E. coli, coliform and streptococci, leading to healthier water being used to irrigate the green space and flowing into the nearby Mississippi River.
In addition to being a drainage collection area, the system area also functions as a multi-use green space for students to enjoy, and for event and media staff to use during football game days. The green space of the multi-purpose plaza area also has withstood the weight of broadcast trucks and emergency vehicles all while the EPIC Chamber System quietly works beneath the surface.