Denver’s New Stormwater Outfall Amenity in the RiNo Neighborhood

Denver, Colorado


The River North Outfall is a very large storm sewer outfall for an 11’x 8’concrete box sized to drain an approximate 2,000 acre watershed for up to a 5-year flood event (1,155 cfs). The outfall is located along the regional South Platte Greenway Trail in the heart of one of Denver’s most fashionable neighborhoods, the River North Art District (RiNo), which includes a dense concentration of art galleries, design offices, and other creative-minded businesses.

While working closely with civil engineers, City Staff, and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), Stream led the creative process to develop design alternatives for the outfall that enhance the South Platte River corridor, provide an aesthetically appealing approach to stormwater conveyance under the regional trail, and fit the values and visions of the RiNo Art District by improving river visibility and access, creatively utilizing stormwater enhancements as an amenity, improving water quality, and creating recreational green space that enhances the RiNo experience.

With tremendous constraints that include tight grades, ensuing mixed use development plans, a 16’ wide regional bike/ped trail, and twin 6’ diameter sanitary sewer pipes at the edge of the river embankment, the team designed the outfall to exceed mere functional drainage requirements by creating a space where stormwater is celebrated, the aesthetic is pleasant, and vegetation is as prevalent as structure. Construction to be completed 2017.