US Army Corps of Engineers
North Atlantic Division

A low-impact design site designed to mitigate the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff

Low Impact Development

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Low Impact Development (LID) is a stormwater management strategy designed to maintain site hydrology and mitigate the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution. LID actively manages stormwater runoff by mimicking a project site’s pre-development hydrology using design techniques that infiltrate, store, and evaporate runoff close to its source of origin. LID strategies provide decentralized hydrologic source control for stormwater runoff. In short, LID seeks to manage the rain, beginning at the point where it falls. This is done through a series of techniques that are referred to as LID Integrated Management Practices (LID-IMPs). The LID-IMPs are distributed small scale controls that closely mimic hydrological behavior of the pre-project sites for a design storm event.

We are a team of subject matter experts that provide content to include guidance documents, case studies, best management practices and tools to assist the user in designing construction projects that conserve water and reduce the impact of the constructed environment on the surrounding natural resources. Reducing the impacts of storm water runoff associated with new construction helps to sustain our water resources. Using Low Impact Development (LID) techniques on DoD facility projects can assist in fulfilling environmental regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act. Since 2004, DoD has implemented LID techniques for controlling storm water runoff on a number of projects.

EISA Section 438 (Title 42, US Code, Section 17094) establishes into law new storm water design requirements for Federal development and redevelopment projects. Under these requirements, Federal facility projects over 5,000 square feet must "maintain or restore, to the maximum extent technically feasible, the predevelopment hydrology of the property with regard to the temperature, rate, volume, and duration of flow." Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance (October 5,2009), directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue EISA Section 438 guidance. DoD shall implement EISA Section 438 and the EPA Technical Guidance on Implementing the Stormwater Runoff Requirements for Federal Projects under Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act.
1. EISA Section 438 requirements apply to projects that construct facilities with a footprint greater than 5,000 gross square feet, or expand the footprint of existing facilities by more than 5,000 gross square feet. The project footprint consists of all horizontal hard surfaces and disturbed areas associated with the project development, including both building area and pavements (such as roads, parking, and sidewalks). These requirements do not apply to internal renovations, maintenance, or resurfacing of existing pavements.
2. The overall design objective for each project is to maintain predevelopment hydrology and prevent any net increase in storm water runoff. DoD defines “predevelopment hydrology” as the pre-project hydrologic conditions of temperature, rate, volume, and duration of storm water flow from the project site. The analysis of the predevelopment hydrology must include site-specific factors (such as soil type, ground cover, and ground slope) and use modeling or other recognized tools to establish the design objective for the water volume to be managed from the project site.
3. Project site design options shall be evaluated to achieve the design objective to the maximum extent technically feasible. The “maximum extent technically feasible” criterion requires full employment of accepted and reasonable storm water retention and reuse technologies (e.g., bio-retention areas, permeable pavements, cisterns/recycling, and green roofs), subject to site and applicable regulatory constraints (e.g., site size, soil types, vegetation, demand for recycled water, existing structural limitations, state or local prohibitions on water collection). All site-specific technical constraints that limit the full attainment of the design objective shall be documented. If the design objective cannot be met within the project footprint, LID measures may be applied at nearby locations on DoD property (e.g., downstream from the project) within available resources.
4. Prior to finalizing the design for a redevelopment project, DoD Components shall also consider whether natural hydrological conditions of the property can be restored, to the extent practical.
5. Estimated design and construction costs for implementing EISA Section 438 shall be documented in the project cost estimate as a separate line item. Final implementation costs will be documented as part of the project historical file. Post-construction analysis shall also be conducted to validate the effectiveness of as-built storm water features.