Stormwater Management Questions/Successes Sought

While I was researching my recent article in Building Operating Management on water efficiency in commercial facilities, I ended up having a lot of conversations about storm water management. That wasn’t the main focus of my last piece, but it will be the focus of my next piece on water. I want to know your successes, challenges, and questions around storm water management.

I live in Chicago, and one thing I’ve noticed is that when it rains it RAINS. It rains for days and it rains in big fat bursts. I have three rain barrels set up on my tiny Chicago property and at least for the last two seasons they have been full constantly, no matter how much I water my garden.

As I watch the rain sheeting down, I often think about all those commercial rooftops in the city, the parking lots, and other impermeable surfaces. So many thousands of gallons rushing uselessly down the storm drains, sweeping all manner of pollutants into the lake, where we get our drinking water.

More can and should be done to address stormwater. Some of it is easier, like disconnecting downspouts from the storm sewer, and instead redirecting the water somewhere where it can safely leach slowly into the ground. Some of it is harder, like installing grey water systems in existing facilities. Not impossible, just trickier. So what are you questions and challenges? What are your successes? If you have a story to share, you can find me at

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