The Dell at the University of Virginia Emmett Street • Charlottesville, Virginia


Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects with Biohabitats, Inc.; PHR&A with Nitsch Engineering


University of Virginia
The Dell
The Dell
The Dell
The Dell
The Dell

Utility Goals

Reduce pollutant loads in rainwater
Reduce downstream damage from runoff
Safely move, control, contain rainwater
Capture rain for reuse (of all kinds, human and natural, from irrigation and toilet flushing to groundwater recharge)
Restore or create habitat


The basic stormwater management concept at The Dell is capture, cleanse, convey, reuse in water feature, detain and discharge.  Runoff sheeting into the daylighted Meadow Creek is first cleansed and partially infiltrated to ensure the creek is as clean as possible; the meandering creek is subsequently channeled and drops into a 2-cell wet detention pond: water drops sediment in the forebay, then overflows into the second detention cell.  The detained water later discharges to the storm sewer at a controlled rate that doesn’t overtax the grey infrastructure.  According to UVa and state monitoring, the project meets or exceeds all water quality and quantity goals, significantly reducing and delaying peak stormwater discharge and reducing sediments and nutrient loading downstream.

Amenity Goals

Public Relations
Aesthetic Richness


The Dell is a complex stormwater management system that presents as a pastoral, 12-acre park whose centerpiece is a beautiful pond.  The only shortcoming of the Dell as an ARD is that its stormwater management function isn’t obvious; but a number of visible characteristics suggest that water is doing something special here.