Stormwater Management

The Dell Project

With the construction of the Kanbar Campus Center, expanded Recreation Facility and Parking Garage, the University had a unique opportunity to address this connection to the Park and Wissahickon Watershed.  As part of the Master Plan and campus construction, the University implemented the Dell Stormwater Management Project, an effective and innovative multi-phase stormwater management system.

Philadelphia University’s Dell Stormwater Management Project addresses conditions that lead to periodic flooding of Lincoln Drive along the Wissahickon Creek due to stormwater runoff, improves water quality on site, addresses aesthetic aspects of project implementation, and involves students and the community in active learning about watersheds, stormwater management and pro-active maintenance. The Dell Stormwater Management Project demonstrates model practices and policies for an integrated approach to watershed management.

The Dell Project meets all regulatory requirements and creates a learning laboratory for university and high school students.


This stormwater management project provides an environmentally sound solution that improves water quality and controls runoff flowing into the Wissahickon.


Moreover, it incorporates an aestetic amenity for the campus and neighboring community including greater plant and wildlife diversity.


The Philadelphia University Dell Stormwater Management System, designed by Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc., and Boles Smyth Associates, Inc., consists of a series of check dams, step pools and wetlands for holding and treating the first flush of a rain event and also serves as a large detention/retention basin with monitoring and control devices for larger storm events.  This type of stormwater system infiltrates water on the site, removes pollutants from the water, prevents flooding downstream, provides wildlife habitat, and serves as an aesthetic amenity for the campus.  This project fits within the larger Philadelphia Water Department’s master plan for long-term ecological restoration of the Schuylkill River watershed.

Per agreement with the City of Philadelphia and Fairmont Park Commission, Philadelphia University also completed park restoration work within Fairmont Park.  This work included repair of a damaged section of the Orange Trail, construction of four step pools, re-grading a portion of the Orange Trail leading to the pipe arch, and at the top of the ravine, construction of two more step pools.

With the completion of the Dell, the University has committed to an ongoing operation and maintenance program for this runoff area.