Los Angeles Puts The LID On Stormwater Pollution

The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously passed a landmark Low Impact Development Ordinance (LID).

Curb inlet and infiltration basin in Downtown LA–Hope Street and 11th Street


Developed by the Bureau of Sanitation in collaboration with community members, environmental organizations, business groups and the building industry, LID calls for development and redevelopment projects to mitigate runoff in a manner that captures rainwater at its source, while utilizing natural resources including rain barrels, permeable pavement, rainwater storage tanks, infiltration swales or curb bumpouts to contain water.  Reports have shown that LID is the most effective and cost-efficient means of managing stormwater and abating water pollution.  LID practices are designed to address runoff and pollution at the source.  Other low impact development benefits include water conservation, groundwater recharge and greening communities.

Ninth District City Councilwoman Jan Perry reflected on the importance of the new ordinance. “This is a banner day for the City of Los Angeles.  Water is a precious commodity in our city. The adoption of the Low Impact Development Ordinance brings home the message that improving water quality is a collective responsibility.”

The ordinance will require 100 percent of rainwater from a three-quarter inch rainstorm to be captured, infiltrated and, or used, onsite—at most developments and redevelopments where more than 500 square feet of hardscape is added.  Single family residences can comply in a more simple way with options available from the LID Handbook.

Watermarke Tower—705 West Ninth Street, Los Angeles—2,100 sq. ft. bio-filtration system

“We are on a steady path of embracing an innovative and exciting approach to stormwater management.  Clean water remains a top priority for the City and the Bureau of Sanitation.  Today we are one step closer to meeting our environmental and water quality goals, and fulfilling Mayor Villaraigosa’s vision of making Los Angeles the greenest and the cleanest big city in America,” commented Enrique C. Zaldivar, Director of the Bureau of Sanitation.

The City is building many stormwater green projects that capture, treat and beneficially reuse rainwater while greening neighborhoods.  Such projects are changing the water footprint of Los Angeles and making the city more sustainable.

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