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Los Angeles Puts The LID On Stormwater Pollution
Los Angeles City Council Unanimously Passes Low Impact Development Ordinance

LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2011)—The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously passed a landmark Low Impact Development Ordinance (LID). 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.

To download the full press release PDF: click here

The Low Impact Development Ordinance and related documents are available for download here: LID Ordinance PDF (1.1MB)

Development Best Management Practices Handbook Adopted

We are pleased to announce that on July 1, 2011, the City of Los Angeles’ Board of Public Works adopted the 4th Edition of the Development Best Management Practices Handbook – Part B: Planning Activities, which incorporates Low Impact Development (LID) principles and strategies.

A copy of the newly adopted 4th Edition of the Development Best Management Practices Handbook – Part B: Planning Activities can be found here:

1. Water Quality Compliance Master Plan for Urban Runoff (April 2009)

This master plan outlines the City’s strategies for compliance with water quality regulations and was adopted by the Board of Public Works in April 2009. LID is one of the proposed strategies to improve the quality of the City’s waters.

2. Green Infrastructure for Los Angeles: Addressing Urban Runoff and Water Supply through Low Impact Development (April 2009)

Stormwater pollution, water shortages, flood control, climate change, and the availability of natural green space have all become pressing environmental issues for cities around the nation including the City of Los Angeles. This report examines Low Impact Development (LID) for the City of Los Angeles and potential steps for instituting city-wide low impact development programs or projects to address many of these environmental concerns, especially those related to water management.

Download the  Green Infrastructure Initiative LID PDF document:

Executive Summary (896kb)

3 . City of Los Angeles Green Design Standards (in development)

This document will provide the details and standard plans for designing LID applications in streets, alleys, residential properties, and open spaces such as parks. This document is a work in progress: it was started in July 2009 and revisions will be made available on a biweekly basis. Standard plans are pending the final approval of several City departments and may be subject to change.

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose of Manual
  3. Infiltration Requirements and Restrictions
  4. City’s LID Plan Approval Process
  5. Relevant Regulations
  6. Standard Plans: Streets
  7. Standard Plans: Alleys
  8. Standard Plans: Residential Properties
  9. Standard Plans: Open Space
4. SUSMP Brochure 
The Developer’s Guide for developers, builders, planners landscape architects, architects and engineers — has been partitioned into two segments for downloading:

5.  L.A. Rainwater Harvesting Program

A typical Los Angeles home directs about 14,000 gallons of rainwater through its downspouts into the storm drain system every year. While collecting pollutants on the way, this water ultimately gets to Santa Monica Bay and pollutes our beaches.

The L.A. Rainwater Harvesting Program is a pilot program that provides free rainwater harvesting installation for 600 property owners in the targeted neighborhoods by Fall of 2009. By capturing the roof rainwater and using it for lawn and garden irrigation, pollution will be reduced and water will be conserved. Ultimately, it is the goal that the pilot program will be expanded throughout the City.

6. Green Streets Info (in development)
7. Other resources:

Several cities and agencies have developed manuals and other informational resources for urban runoff management including LID, landscaping tips and other tips for in and around the house. The following links are some good examples:

If you’d like to receive regular updates regarding the LID ordinance and handbook, please let us know.

Soliciting Input on the Draft and Proposed Work in Progress

Stormwater pollution, water shortages, flood control, climate change, and the availability of natural green space have all become pressing environmental issues for cities around the nation including the City of Los Angeles. Many of these environmental concerns can be addressed by Low Impact Development (LID).

LID can be described as the use of practices that encourage site sustainability and smart growth in a manner that respects and preserves the characteristics of the City’s watersheds, drainage paths, water supplies, and natural resources. Or in simpler wording: bringing nature back to our City to help with urban runoff management, water conservation, and improving the quality of the City’s waters. LID reduces the impact from urban development and provides the benefits of:

Replenishing groundwater supplies
Improving the quality of surface water runoff
Stabilizing natural stream characteristics
Preserving natural site characteristics, and
Minimizing downstream impacts.

There are many ways we can increase groundwater supplies and prevent stormwater from flowing to our storm drains and polluting our rivers and oceans. The key to effective LID is to capture urban runoff and use it on the site for infiltration, irrigation and other beneficial uses before it enters the storm drain system. We can do this in and around our homes, as well as in our streets, alleys, parks and other open spaces throughout the City.

The information provided here contains links to design standards, guidelines suggestions and additional reading about incorporating LID use in Los Angeles. This information is to assist home-owners, developers, planners, engineers, landscape designers, and anyone else that is interested or professionally involved with the development and redevelopment of Los Angeles.

With this information, we hope to encourage everyone to make a difference and embrace LID as a way to improve the quality of life in Los Angeles. LID is a relatively new concept, but is gaining acceptance rapidly throughout the nation. This website will be frequently updated as new information becomes available. For any questions, please feel free to email staff and use the Subject Title "LID Info."