Photos of CELS green roof terrace.

Stormwater on Campus

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater, or stormwater runoff, is the water from rain or melted snow that runs across our streets, sidewalks, parking lots, lawns, etc. as it travels to a storm sewer to be released into our water sources (rivers, lakes, etc.).

Stormwater Pollution

Unlike wastewater from our plumbing systems, which send water from our sinks, showers, laundry, and toilets to a treatment plant for cleaning before being released, stormwater is not treated and is released directly into our water sources.

As stormwater travels, it picks up pollution (trash/litter, gas, motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides, and pet droppings). These pollutants are transported to our water sources via storm sewers, and because stormwater is not treated, this polluted stormwater has the potential to harm wildlife, destroy wildlife habitat, contaminate drinking water sources, and force the closing of beaches because of health threats to swimmers. (source)

Stormwater carrying a disposable cup into the drain.

We can help prevent stormwater pollution!

  • Don’t litter.
  • Use lawn & garden chemicals responsibly.

Get more tips

Stormwater Pollution Prevention on Campus

Montclair State operates under the the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Public Complex Stormwater General Permit, which authorizes the discharge of stormwater from large publicly owned complexes such as colleges, universities, prisons and hospital complexes.

In order to remain in compliance with this permit and the associated regulations, the University is required to maintain a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SPPP) which ensures that the University is following best practices in its daily operations to keep pollutants out of our stormwater system. These best practices cover a variety of areas in Facilities such as construction, vehicle fueling & washing, outdoor storage of materials such as ice melting products or mulch, employee training, and more. Learn more.

Stormwater Management

Stormwater management is the effort to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and to improve the quality of the water that makes its way to our water sources.

Types of Stormwater Infrastructure

Gray Infrastructure

Gray infrastructure generally focuses on collecting rainwater and sending it downstream to ultimately be discharged into a waterway. This type of infrastructure includes design features such as culverts, gutters, storm sewers, and conventional piped drainage.

Green Infrastructure

Rather than focusing on the transportation of runoff, green infrastructure often mimics the natural processes of the water cycle.

Despite the name, green infrastructure doesn’t have to be vegetated; it can include designs incorporating pervious pavement and sand filters that use the soils to reduce runoff and treat pollutants, or rain barrels and cisterns that store rainwater for later reuse. Learn more and see examples from across the country. 

Examples of Green Infrastructure on Campus

CELS rain garden after storm

Rain Garden at CELS

The Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) has a rain garden installed in front of the building on either side of the main entrance. The garden holds rain water, slowing it’s release and allowing the garden’s plants to take in as much as possible.
Stop by and see it in action the next time rain is in the forecast!


Photo of the installation of permeable "grass" pavers between Morehead and College Halls.

Permeable Pavers by Morehead Hall

If you’d like to see an example of permeable pavers, visit the area between Morehead and College Halls. These pavers are also known as grass pavers because grass grows in their open spaces. The open spaces allow stormwater to be absorbed into the ground while still  providing a firm structure for emergency vehicle access.


CELS green roof

Green Roof at CELS

The Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) has a green roof installed on the 3rd floor terrace.
Constructed with sedum mats, this feature absorbs stormwater, allows for evapotranspiration of stored water, adds insulation to the building roof, and provides a scenic study site and retreat for building occupants.