Jan 06, 2020

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

stormwater storage

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, because the school was built into the side of a hill, the verticality of the campus and its underground drainage systems cause the Lower Campus to suffer impacts from rain events. Two to four times per year, the campus can be inundated with up to 3.5 ft of flooding. 

Jacob R. Murray, PE, LEED AP and senior civil engineer with Waterfield Design Group, said sand bags and portable pump brigades were often utilized at a moment’s notice as the campus’ flooding trigger was measured by rainfall intensity, not volume. Additionally, the city's storm water infrastructure does not have an outlet for collected storm water to exit the Boston College system. 

After analysis, 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 gal of storm water that can provide 25 years of flood protection for the campus. 

More than 7 acre-ft of underground storage had to be installed inside the college’s athletic field house to store runoff from the two main flooding areas—the Alumni Stadium and the Beacon Street parking garage. More than 680 StormTrap units were placed in a 65,000 sq ft footprint. 

“This project illustrates firsthand the value that effective storm water management can have on the bottom line of a major institution,” Murray said. “Spending money on storm water management is not as glamorous as building new classrooms, dormitories or athletic fields, but without these important improvements, the utility of each of those elements within the Boston College system were threatened.”  

Project Year:
Contractor: Suffolk Construction
Designers: Waterfield Design Group Inc.
Owner: Boston College
Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Cost: $1.348 million
Size: 7.57 acre-ft