Stormwater Management

Boneyard Creek

Emergency Spill Response

If a release is LIFE THREATENING, dial 911. If a release is NON-LIFE THREATENING, call the Service Office 217-333-0340.


Stormwater is important on our campus

Stormwater is simply rainwater and snowmelt. It’s important on our campus because stormwater takes pollutants on the ground and transport them via the storm drain to our creeks and rivers. The University’s Stormwater Management Program is designed to minimize this pollution and improve water quality in our receiving streams.

Permit Requirements

The Stormwater Management Program meets the requirements of the University’s permit with the Illinois EPA. Called a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Permit, it allows the University to discharge stormwater into its receiving streams.

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

The 49 best management practices (BMPs) include initiatives that educate students, staff, and faculty about stormwater impacts, detect and eliminate illicit discharges, control stormwater runoff from construction sites during and after construction, and prevent pollution from facility operations.

BMP A.1.1: Stormwater factsheets and posters on Safety and Compliance website.
BMP A.1.2: Press release.
BMP A.1.3: Stormwater website
BMP A.2.1: Information Presentation or Information Booth
BMP A.3.1: Social media, radio, television and/or internet public service announcements
BMP A.4.1: Biennial Green Infrastructure Conference

BMP B.1.1: Involve the campus community and students in campus stormwater initiatives.
BMP B.3.1: Meet with stakeholder group to review stormwater quality and stormwater issues around campus.
BMP B.4.1: Provide opportunity for public input on the stormwater program including discussion of environmental justice areas.
BMP B.6.1: On-going committee meetings of the Cooperating MS4s (City of Urbana, City of Champaign, Village of Savoy, Champaign County, University of Illinois, and Village of Rantoul) to discuss NPDES Phase 2 requirements.
BMP B.7.1: Campus clean-up event.

BMP C.1.1: Maintain and update GIS storm sewer system map as changes occur.
BMP C.2.1: Prohibit illegal discharges to storm sewer system.
BMP C.3.1: Investigate priority areas likely to have illicit discharges.
BMP C.3.2: Maintain septic system inventory and management program.
BMP C.6.1: Develop annual report to the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District documenting any illicit connections that are repaired.
BMP C.7.1 Visual Inspection of Outfalls during Dry Weather
BMP C.10.1: Storm drain marking program.
BMP C.10.2: Maintain construction standard that requires all new storm sewer inlets to have a storm water protection warning.
BMP C.10.3: Publicize and encourage spill reporting procedures.

BMP D.2.1: Pre-construction briefings for projects greater than or equal to 1 acre.
BMP D.2.3: Organize stormwater management team (SWMT) to monitor the University’s compliance with the permit requirements at construction sites.
BMP D.2.4: Require the outside Architect/Engineer to prepare a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) for all projects involving ground disturbance of one or more acres.
BMP D.4.1: University review of SWPPP’s and Erosion Control Plans.
BMP D.5.1: Maintain construction site spill or illegal discharge reporting procedures and provide link at website.
BMP D.6.1: Enforce contractor requirements associated with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Permit ILR10, site Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), and University Facility Standards.
BMP D.6.2: Conduct construction site inspections.
BMP D.6.3: Maintain procedure for handling reports of non-compliance.

BMP E.2.1: Upgrade stormwater management policies as needed.
BMP E.3.1: Evaluate feasibility of green infrastructure and low-impact design for new or redeveloped properties taking into account climate change.
BMP E.4.1: Plant preservation walk-through during pre-construction site inspections.
BMP E.6.1: Inspection and maintain retention basins.
BMP E.7.1: Incorporate low-impact design elements where applicable into utility program statements in the project review process.

BMP F.1.1: Abbott Power Plant Facility Response Plan.
BMP F.1.2: Spill prevention, control, and countermeasures (SPCC) plan and annual training.
BMP F.1.3: Laboratory and Hazardous material training.
BMP F.1.4: Pesticide application training.
BMP F.1.5: Annual employee training to prevent and reduce stormwater pollution.
BMP F.2.1: Maintenance and repair programs for campus car, truck, and heavy equipment pools.   
BMP F.3.1: Storm sewer system and catch basin inspection and cleaning program.
BMP F.3.2: Sanitary sewer system inspection and cleaning program.
BMP F.4.1: Hazardous waste management and pickup program.
BMP F.4.2: Provide recycling service at the Waste Transfer and Material Recovery Facility. Contain waste materials under cover to avoid contact with stormwater.
BMP F.6.1: Direct vehicle washing to sanitary sewer.
BMP F.6.2: Pesticide application and management controls.
BMP F.6.3: Street sweeping.
BMP F.6.4: Parking deck cleaning.
BMP F.6.5: Emergency response contractor continuing purchase order.
BMP F.6.6: Salt/sand application and management controls.
BMP F.6.7: Contractor training to prevent and reduce stormwater pollution.


The University collaborates with neighboring communities that also have MS4 permits by sharing information and resources to best comply with requirements. The MS4 Technical Committee includes practitioners from the University, the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Village of Savoy, and Champaign County. Committee activities include hosting stormwater conferences and sponsoring clean up events.

Champaign County Stormwater Partnership

2014 NOI

ILR40 MS4 Permit 2016-2021

Division of Research Safety


Audio PSA: Clean streams are for everyone.

Audio PSA: Take it to the carwash.

Storm Drains Get Artistic Makeover News-Gazette 8-17-13

The University completes and submits an annual written report to the Illinois EPA. The reports summarize the University’s activities to comply with the Stormwater Management Program. Program years are from April 1 to March 31. Please click below to see the reports.

2022 – 2023

2021 – 2022

2020 – 2021

2019 – 2020

2018 – 2019

2017 – 2018

2016 – 2017

2015 – 2016

2014 – 2015

Construction sites must comply with Federal, State, and University stormwater requirements. University requirements are found in the University’s Facility Standards. Below are resources for compliance with the Standards.

Template: SWPPP
Forms: Incidence of NoncomplianceInspectionChange in SWPPP
Brochure: Pollution Prevention
Websites: Illinois Urban Manual
International Erosion Control Association

The University’s Stormwater Management Program includes Public Education activities that inform campus and community about keeping our receiving streams clean. 



This free biennial conference will feature:
“Artful Rainwater” Designs
Green Infrastructure Solutions in Peoria, IL
Designing Landscapes to Support Pollinators
Modeling Green Infrastructure & Addressing Environmental Justice
Site Visit: Crystal Lake Rehabilitation Project

For information regarding the program, presenters/presentations, live recordings of past events:

The CCSP a collaborative effort of local government entities in Champaign County, Illinois consisting of Champaign County, City of Champaign, City of Urbana, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the Village of Savoy. The partners share common resources and efforts to develop a regional consistency in fulfilling the requirements of their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits. 


2023 Boneyard Creek Community Day Was Amazing!

The Boneyard Creek Community Day is an annual volunteer event that helps minimize pollution, improve water quality, and restore the beauty of the Boneyard Creek and other local waterways. Volunteers remove trash and non-native plants, and mark storm drains.

Registration information and more event details are available at

See more about Boneyard Creek Community Day here:


Feel free to download these outreach posters.

Rain Garden Map

Keep it Clean: Basketball

Keep it Clean: Punt Pass Kick

Spill Response 1

Spill Response 2

Spill Response 3

Pollution Solution Brochure

Stormwater Tool Box Talks

For information on climate change and stormwater, visit the following websites:

US Environmental Protection Agency:
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration:

For information on environmental justice and stormwater, visit the following website:

US Environmental Protection Agency:

Do you know where your stormwater goes? On the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, there are two answers: Boneyard Creek and a tributary to the Embarras River. The goal of the Stormwater Management Program is to improve the water quality the campus sends to these receiving streams.

EPA: Healthy Watersheds Initiative
Illinois Water Quality
Boneyard Creek and Embarras River
Humans and Animals Enjoying the Second Street Basin
Pollution and the Boneyard Podcast

Green Stormwater Infrastructure helps improve stormwater quality and decrease flooding by delaying peak flows and filtering pollutants. In addition to these benefits, they also can increase landscape aesthetics. Green Stormwater Infrastructure can be found throughout the Urbana-Champaign campus. These projects include green roofs, rain gardens/infiltration basins, detention ponds, rain barrels, permeable asphalt/concrete/pavers and underground retention basins.

Campus Green Stormwater Infrastructure highlights:
Yeh Student Center Green Roof
Business Instructional Facility Green Roof
Red Oak Rain Garden
Japan House and Arboretum Bicycle Parking Permeable Pavers

See more projects here.


The Red Oak Rain Garden (RORG) is a sustainable landscape that celebrates rain, invigorates the campus and community education experience, and promotes well-being. The RORG is a green space located between Allen Hall and the McKinley Health Center.

It was the first rain garden on the Urbana campus. Since it was established in 2006, RORG lost its effectiveness as an aesthetically beautiful feature which also provides flood protection, improves water quality, and promotes ecological health.

In the summer and fall of 2019, Eliana Brown, a water quality specialist with Illinois Extension and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, led a renovation team that’s improving the area, with the help of F&S. Brent Lewis, campus landscape architect, provided design consultation, and Grounds, Concrete Finishers, Electricians and other laborers helped establish new concrete sidewalks, move rocks, and light poles, and reshape and prepare the ground for volunteers to plant new flowers, grasses, and shrubs.

“The Red Oak Rain Garden is a model for how our campus landscape can be beautiful and resilient while engaging student and community volunteers in service learning,” said Brown. “F&S has been a wonderful partner on this project – contributing years of construction expertise making things go successfully. We are pleased with the improvements and look forward to enjoying this exemplary rainwater amenity for years to come.”

In spring of 2020, the F&S Carpenter shop will install a boardwalk comprised of Osage Orange wood, which will be sustainably harvested by Allerton Park staff.

Follow progress and future news at, and on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram all at @RainGardenUIUC.

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