This excessive runoff, now underground, still creates problems for the city with flooding along University Avenue. Flooding is one of the reasons behind the massive construction project now taking place there.
There are more problems than just flooding. Rapid runoff means the groundwater isn't recharged, so springs around Lake Wingra have been drying up. Deprived of clean water from springs, Lake Wingra becomes more polluted as a greater proportion of its water comes from dirty stormwater.
As the water table drops, it becomes more costly for the city to pump drinking water.
Curiously, Queen of Peace is in the ground watershed of Lake Wingra, but in the surface watershed of Lake Mendota. So Queen of Peace sends its floods and its sediment via Willow Creek to University Bay.
The Eroding Playground
Kids are hard on their toys, and playgrounds are no exception. It's common to have eroding areas at most schools. But Queen of Peace is unusual, because the eroding playground washes right onto the parking area, and from there--right to University Bay, quick as a wink.
Soil from the eroding playground washes to the parking lot, then to the Lake.
There are unused places on the campus suitable for rain gardens. For example, along Holly Ave, for roof runoff, or at the SW corner of the parking area, behind the backstop.
Walkways can have a strip of rain garden along the low side.
To immediately contain the sediment from the play area, silt socks are the way to go. They are visible around the edge of the Sequoia Commons construction site.
Different kinds of rain gardens
The key thing in planning, is to go out in a storm, and watch where the water goes--where it flows, and where it pools.
Could the parish make a commitment to add one substantial rain garden a year, for the next ten years? Plus many smaller ones that could be a project for groups of families?
More educational opportunities for children
A more beautiful campus