Designing a Sustainable Stormwater System for Urban, Transit-Oriented Development


Located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, on a highly urban site with poor soil conditions, the challenges for this project, which also had an aggressive timeline, were numerous. The project team would have to make use of every square inch of the parcel while not interrupting operations of a nearby waste-to-energy facility. The site also contained significant contamination which eliminated the ability to infiltrate storm water on site to prevent mobilization of existing contamination plumes in the nearby Mississippi River. This created more challenges in meeting the stormwater management requirements of the City of Minneapolis and those set forth in the RFP by the both the Owner and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO).


In collaboration with project partners, the SEH team, which included engineers and landscape architects, designed the first-ever, year-round stormwater and snowmelt runoff system in Minnesota. The system redirects approximately one million gallons of stormwater runoff per year.

The innovative collection system captures snowmelt and stormwater runoff from the upper level plazas, green roofs and light rail station bridge. The stormwater is collected in large cisterns then routed to the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), a nearby waste-to-energy facility that burns municipal waste to generate energy. The HERC treats the stormwater and uses it in a variety of industrial processes.

Related Content: When It Rains, It Sustains


  • Stormwater management system design
  • Green roof surfaces to aid in water collection
  • High-performance streetscape for filtering water
  • Bioretention swales collect runoff from structures and pavements
  • Cisterns collect 95 percent of total annual rainfall and route to energy facility
  • Permeable pavers feed water to street trees


  • 2015 Honor Award for General Design | American Society of Landscape Architects, Minnesota Chapter (ASLA-MN)
  • 2015 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design | American Institute of Architects
  • 2015 Public Works Project of the Year - Structures Greater than $75 million | American Public Works Association (APWA)
  • 2016 Engineering Excellence Grand Award – American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC/MN

Target Field Station Transit Plaza

Minneapolis, Minn.

Hennepin County


  • Civil Engineering
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Stormwater Management

Project Partners

  • Knutson Construction
  • Perkins Eastman Architects
  • Olin
  • Palanisami & Associates
  • Michaud Cooley Erickson
  • TKDA