Low-Impact Development – Coming to a Road Near You

Street-side Swale
This permiable sidewalk and swale, located on McPhee Road on Olympia’s Westside, filters water run-off onsite.

When it rains in the Pacific Northwest, much of the water flows over the pavement and through pipes into our streams and rivers, picking up petroleum and other pollutants along the way. So how can we reduce the amount of road run-off pollution that enters our waterways?

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about “low-impact development” (LID) – a sustainable development concept that uses nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible. Strategies include everything from preserving and creating landscape features to minimizing pavement and other impervious surfaces that funnel pollutants right into our streams. Rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs, green streets — it’s all LID, and it’s coming to a community near you.

Newly revised regulations are requiring Thurston County, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, and other urban communities to evaluate and update their codes and standards – where necessary – so that low-impact development is the preferred approach for new construction.

On Friday, October 3rd, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild will facilitate a “Vision2Action” symposium about how LID requirements will affect the look, feel, and function of roads, sidewalks, buildings, and landscaping. Following the symposium Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) will lead a tour of rain gardens, green streets, and other local LID projects.

Visit ecobuilding.org to learn more about the symposium, titled Adapting to Low-Impact Development – The New World of Stormwater Management.

The New World of Stormwater Management
8:00 am – 1:00 pm, Friday October 3, 2014
$25 per person, includes lunch
1500 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia
WA Department of Enterprise Services LEED Platinum Building

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