Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center

Firm:Primera Engineers

Other Consultants: Capital Development Board, FGM Architects, Jacobs/Ryan Associates, Gilbane Building Company

Owner: City Colleges of Chicago

Description:Primera provided site civil design and engineering services for Olive-Harvey College’s (OHC) new Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) Center in Chicago. The 7-acre site includes a 3-acre Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training lot, truck loading docks, parking areas, and site roadways designed for the movement of large vehicles. The addition of these numerous impermeable features presented stormwater challenges, specifically a large volume of runoff on a site with a high water table and low soil permeability.

Primera’s first step in overcoming the stormwater challenges was calculating the volume of required stormwater storage based on the new, impermeable surfaces. The calculations indicated that roughly 2.5-acre-feet (approximately 814,600 gallons) of storage was required. Primera saw two potential paths: A more traditional approach utilizing typical urban, utilitarian-looking detention ponds surrounded by turf grass and concrete, or a sustainability-minded approach incorporating more sustainable methods. Given the OHC’s proximity to several natural bodies of water, the incorporation of sustainable biodetention ponds, bioswales/bioinfiltration, and rain gardens was a more natural fit and aligned with their sustainability, greenspace, and environmental goals for the project.

Primera worked with the team’s landscape architect to design project-specific Best Management Practices (BMPs) that utilized permeable pavement to reduce runoff as well as rain gardens, four bioswales and a biodetention pond to accommodate more than 390,000 square feet of runoff tributary area. Seven thousand square feet of walkway permeable pavers were used to receive almost 27,000 square feet of roof runoff with the remainder of the roof, sidewalk and roadway runoff directed towards one of the four bioswale infiltration facilities. The greatest volume of stormwater runoff is from the 3-acre CDL lot, which Primera designed to sheet drain to perimeter rain gardens before continuing into the largest bio area on campus—a detention area with the capacity of nearly 2-acre-feet or roughly 651,000 gallons.

These facilities include layers of mixed soil media, crushed stone, and geotextile fabric and utilize perforated piping for efficient distribution of collected runoff throughout the subsurface media. Because the bioswales and biodetention areas can only provide limited infiltration into the existing site soils, storage was added in the stone and sand under these areas.

Primera’s civil design met a variety of rate, volume, and sedimentation and erosion control requirements set forth by the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), the Illinois EPA’s Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan, and LEED Silver Quantity Control and Construction Activity Pollution Prevention guidelines. The project site met and exceeded stormwater code requirements offering numerous social, environmental, and maintenance benefits. The environmental benefits to using rain gardens, bioswales and biodetention ponds are numerous, but chief among them are the reduction of sediments, metals, and nutrients through natural filtering. Traditional storm- water detention areas, though functional, are typically turfgrass requiring maintenance, such as mowing, irrigation, chemical herbicides and fertilizers while providing minimal aesthetic value.

City Colleges of Chicago

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