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Putting Low Impact Development to Work

Research low impact principles and techniques. Detailed design manuals for LID techniques and applications are available from public and nonprofit sources. Many organizations publish case studies of low impact projects, with sizing details, monitoring data, and cost information.

Find opportunities to apply LID techniques. Where appropriate, recommend simple low impact techniques such as swales, bioretention cells, or simply disconnecting downspouts from the stormwater system. Educate your clients about LID and the benefits of these techniques.

Educate local boards and regulators. While interest in LID is on the rise, many boards and regulators are not familiar with the principles. Provide local officials and board members with information about LID to improve trust and communication during the regulatory review.

Team up with experts. Some firms in Massachusetts have extensive experience with application of low impact techniques. Find opportunities to partner with them as a learning experience.

Help pass a stormwater bylaw. As communities draft stormwater bylaws, it is important that they be structured to permit and encourage low impact development. Engineers and other consultants should be involved in this process to ensure that the bylaw is workable and provides predictability for developers.

Benefits of Low Impact Development

Cost-effective compliance with stormwater standards. Low impact developments can meet rate, recharge, and quality standards with less investment in stormwater “hardscaping.” LID techniques are especially effective at treating and infiltrating runoff from smaller storms.

Opportunities for creative site design. The low impact approach involves planners, engineers, and landscape architects in a comprehensive analysis and design process, fostering creative solutions. Designers benefit from the flexibility provided by narrower roadways, smaller parking areas, and LID techniques that also help to satisfy site landscaping and open space requirements.

High-value developments. Increasingly, clients are looking to add “green building” components to their projects; LID is a cost-effective way to increases a project’s environmental sustainability. The emphasis on preservation of natural areas creates attractive, marketable developments that enhance a portfolio.

Applicability to retrofits. Low impact techniques provide communities and property owners with opportunities to reduce runoff through retrofits, before they resort to expensive storm sewer upgrades.