Johnson County Community College

Southeast Quadrant Stormwater Project

JCCC has over 2 million square feet of impermeable parking surfaces on campus. During every rain and snow-melt event flowing water carries vehicle pollutants and litter into storm drains that lead to Johnson County’s waterways.

In an effort to ensure that the water flowing off campus surfaces is a cleaner contribution to the area watersheds, JCCC completed its first stormwater management project in the southeast quadrant of campus in August 2010.

How It Works

The project allows water runoff from nearly 438,000 square feet, or about 21 percent, of the campus’s impervious parking and driving surfaces to drain to a constructed wetland on the south side of the parking areas. Before entering the wetland, the stormwater runoff filters through a sequence of treatment systems, planted with native vegetation and designed to treat diverse pollutants, including manufactured filtration tanks, bioswales and bioretention cells.

The wetland is at the site of an old farm pond that was later converted to a detention basin. By expanding the basin’s footprint and adding gravel, topsoil and native plants adapted to such conditions, water is allowed to stand under a layer of gravel to avoid the problems of an exposed pool of water and provide one last cleaning before the water leaves the campus and makes its way to Indian Creek.

Native Plants

More than 50,000 native plants of different varieties are included in the system. Native plants list


The wetland, incorporating native plants to promote ecological activity and provide habitat for animals and beneficial microbes, will be used for student education and for the community as a recreational and learning environment. Students test the quality of water as the water goes through the entire system, and an interpretive sign describes the system to the public.

Two rows of limestone seats are available as an outdoor classroom, and a pervious concrete walkway lines the wetland perimeter.


To arrange a tour of the JCCC Stormwater Management Project email or call 913-469-8500 ext. 2883.


The project was awarded as the 2011 American Public Works Project of the Year in the Environment Category from by APWA Kansas City Metro Chapter and was honored by the Mid-American Regional Council as a Sustainable Success Story in 2010.


The project was funded by stimulus money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and a 20 percent match from the college, including funds from the student-allocated Sustainability Initiatives Fund, for a total of $700,000.


The system was designed and constructed by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell and landscape architects Bowman Bowman Novick.

Agri Drain Corporation donated a series of wick drains, specifically designed so as not to plug with debris, as field-inlets for water. Native and drought-tolerant plants were custom grown by KAT Nurseries, Olathe.

Next Steps

JCCC hopes to expand its stormwater management practices to other corners of campus when funding becomes available, but for now the Southeast Quadrant Stormwater Management Project serves as a demonstration project for others in the area seeking best management practices.

Supporting documents:
Agri Drain Corporation wick drains (PDF)
Listing of the plants installed