Continuing the theme of stormwater management, I am happy to report that on Jan. 15th, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works unanimously approved a draft Low-Impact Development (LID) ordinance for LA. The ordinance would require 100% of the runoff generated from a three-quarter-inch storm at newly constructed homes, larger developments and certain redevelopments to be captured and reused or infiltrated on site. If compliance is infeasible on site, developers could pay a stormwater pollution mitigation fee to help pay for off-site public LID projects like green streets and alleys. Accordingly to Board of Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels, "the new requirements would prevent 104 million gallons of polluted urban runoff from washing in to the ocean." (LA Times) Supported design strategies in the ordinance include rainwater storage tanks, permeable pavement, infiltration swales or curb bumpouts to manage the water where it falls. A penalty of $13 per gallon of runoff that was not handled on site would be applied.
The ordinance will now move on to two more committees before facing a council vote and approval by the mayor. Hopefully the ordinance will be approved in the next six months, and go in to effect by the end of 2010. If so, next rainy season could be a whole lot greener. For more information and coverage, check out Spouting Off - a blog by Mark Gold, President of Heal The Bay, for a great discussion on the significance of this ordinance, and LA Stormwater for a discussion of what LID is, including its benefits and examples of applications elsewhere.