Low Impact Development - Runoff Reduction
Low impact development (LID) is a stormwater management strategy that emphasizes conservation and use of existing natural site features integrated with distributed, small-scale stormwater controls to more closely mimic natural hydrologic patterns in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. LID employs principles such as preserving and recreating natural landscape features and minimizing impervious surfaces to create functional and appealing site drainage that treat stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product. Practices that adhere to these LID principles include bioretention facilities, rain gardens, vegetated rooftops, rainwater harvesting (rain barrels and cisterns), and permeable pavements.
This webpage includes information on two LID practices: rain gardens and rainwater harvesting.
General LID Information
The following resources address low impact development techniques
- Developing Low Impact Development (LID) Standards, Washington State Department of Ecology - Results of state advisory committee process, 2009-2011
- Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Green Roof Infrastructure Industry Association - Extensive information on green roof systems
- 2012 LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound, Puget Sound Partnership
- LID Local Regulation Assistance Project, Puget Sound Partnership - Archival information about project from 2005-2009
- Low Impact Development, U.S. EPA - Includes LID factsheets and reports, design guidance manuals, and information resources
- Low Impact Development Center - Nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of low impact development technology; includes publications, rain garden template, green highways, and green infrastructure
- Low Impact Development: An Alternative Approach to Site Design, by Asa Foss, PAS Memo, May/June 2005 (Available through MRSC Library Loan)
- Low Impact Development, Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit, Massachusetts - Useful general information about LID
- Low Impact Development, Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound (), WSU and Puget Sound Partnership,12/2012 - Includes guidelines for low impact development practices and research and data related to those practices to help inform decision making when adapting LID applications to local jurisdictions
- The Practice of Low-Impact Development (), NAHB Research Center, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 07/2003
- Stormwater & Low Impact Development (LID), Puget Sound Partnership - Basic information about the benefits of LID
- Urban Design Tools for Low Impact Development - Includes LID techniques and design examples
Sample Local Government Provisions
This section includes sample regulations and information on LID from Washington cities and counties.
- Bellingham Ordinance No. 2001-01-001 () - Regarding land use controls in Lake Whatcom Watershed (Silver Beach Neighborhood), and adopting limits on permitted uses, impervious area, earthwork, and related water quality protection measures, passed 01/2001
- Low-Impact Development - Includes native plant guide and information on rain gardens and rain barrels
- Fife Green Factor - Low Impact Development - Includes ordinance and Green Factor worksheets
- Kirkland Surface Water Low Impact Development - Includes tools and requirements for rurface water development and LID elements, such as pervious pavement, green roofs rain barrels, and rain garden
- Mercer Island Low Impact Development - Basic LID information
- Port Angeles Ordinance No. 3293 () - Adds Planned Low Impact Development Zone, passed 08/2007
- Redmond Low Impact Development - Information about LID policies and projects
- Sammamish Ordinance No. O2008-236 - Low Impact Development Regulations, adopted 09/16/2008
- Tacoma Surface Water Studies - Includes Low Impact Development Technologies
- Tumwater Municipal Code Ch. 13.22 - Zero Effect Drainage Discharge
A rain garden is a shallow planted area in the landscape where rainwater is allowed to collect and absorb back into the soil. A rain garden mimics the undisturbed conditions of the natural environment. This section includes information on rain garden design.
Rainwater harvesting for irrigation involves collecting the water that falls on a roof in a rain barrel or cistern and using it for watering lawns and gardens. Rainwater harvesting conserves water and can reduce the impact of heavy storm flows on streams, lakes, bays, and watersheds. The following is some information from communities in Washington State.
Statutes Allowing Reduction of Stormwater Charges
The following state statutes allow for possible rater reductions for new or remodeled commercial buildings that use permissive rainwater harvesting systems.
Sample Ordinances - Stormwater Rate Reductions for Rainwater Catchment Systems
- Edmonds Ordinance No. 3682 () - Interim ordinance removing barriers that discourage installation of rainwater collection and reuse systems; and defines rainwater collection tank, passed 04/2008
- King County Board of Health Agenda packet for Proposed No. BOH11-03.1 () - Amendments to Board of Health Title 13 - Onsite Sewage Systems; addresses the use of rainwater catchment systems for potable water supply. Includes King County Council news release, New Public Health rules allow rainwater as sole source for residential drinking water, 07/21/2011
- Kitsap County Ordinance No. 315-2004 () - Amends Kitsap County Code Sec.12.40.050 to establish a surface and stormwater management program rate reduction for permissive rainwater harvesting systems, infiltration systems, and direct discharge systems, passed 04/12/2004
- Snohomish County Ordinances 05-102 and 05-103 provide reductions in surface water management rates and charges for commercial properties with approved rainwater harvesting systems, passed 10/2005
- Rainwater Harvesting (), Oregon Smart Guide, Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Building Codes Division - Useful introductiory guide to rainwater harvesting
- Rainwater Harvesting: Moderate Investment Can Yield Big Results (), by Doug Pushard, OnTap, Summer 2008 - Overview of rainwater harvesting
- The State of Rainwater Harvesting in the U.S (), by Tammie Stark and Doug Pushard, On Tap, Fall 2008 - Review of rainwater harevesting regulations
- Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting (), 3rd Ed., Texas Water Development Board, 2005 - Comprehensive guide to rainwater harvesting