The Green Infrastructure Living Laboratory (or GILL for short) is a collaboration between the Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Laboratory at Drexel University and the Philadelphia Water Department.

Drexel researchers are monitoring the performance of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) sites throughout the University City District. Through their research, the Drexel team is developing recommendations for design, construction and maintenance of GSI for the Philadelphia Water Department.

What is GSI?

GSI is a form of stormwater management that often uses vegetated systems to capture, slow and infiltrate rainwater back into the ground. In the urban landscape, impervious surfaces such as roofs, streets and sidewalks generate large volumes of stormwater runoff, which can overburden sewer systems and cause pollution in nearby rivers and streams.

To prevent this source of water pollution, the City of Philadelphia is installing GSI to capture that stormwater runoff before it enters the sewer system. GSI includes tree trenches specifically designed to capture extra stormwater, rain gardens in sidewalks or other public spaces, swales, planters, and green roofs.

Read more about Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan on the Philadelphia Water Department’s website


The GILL team monitors public and privately owned green stormwater infrastructure sites around the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia. Current sites include a rain garden prototype at the Boys Choir Lot at 32nd and Poweltown, the rain gardens at PISB (the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building on Drexel’s campus) and a rainwater harvesting cistern at the Drexel Recreational Center.  Find out more about each of these sites by visiting our Sites and Data page.

The Team

Principal Investigator:

Franco A. Montalto PhD, PE
Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering
Research Director, Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Lab
Drexel University

Research Team:





Wasps love the cozy dry box where we store our weather station monitoring equipment. Their nest was blocking the port that transmits the data, so we had to ask them to move. Franco, our lab director, is braver than the rest of us. He was well *suited* to the challenge!

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

Adieu to Stephen and welcome to Korin!   Our contract manager from PWD, Stephen White, is moving to Connecticut to work for the City of New Haven. We’ll miss you, Stephen!   We are also welcoming a new GILL team member, Korin Tangtrakul. She will serve as the Sustainability Manager of GILL’s overarching laboratory group, …

GILL featured as Innovation Finalist in Sustainable Business Network’s Excellence in GSI Awards

The Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony (May 23) is the region’s only award that celebrates and elevates green stormwater infrastructure projects and innovations, the triple bottom line (TBL) benefits of a nature-based approach to stormwater management, and the partners who bring these projects to life in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Buy tickets. The GILL team …