What is LID Sanitation and Why is it Important?

Public Health and Environment Safety

The Low Impact Development Ordinance, developed by LA Sanitation seeks to ensure development projects utilize various rainwater capturing strategies to prevent runoff water. It was implemented to help combat stormwater pollution, an environmental hazard that is created when excess water causes draining systems to flood and overflow, releasing contaminated water into the environment. 

Stormwater pollution is especially dangerous because of the toxic and bioactive content of storm drains, which includes heavy metals, bacteria, trash and debris, oil, grease, sediment and many other dangers to the ecosystem

If these hazardous materials spill out from the drains, the flow of water may carry them into surrounding soil, residential areas, rivers, lakes, and other inhabited environments.


Low Impact Development Requirements

To comply with the sanitation ordinance and help protect public health and the ecosystem, architects, investors and developers must employ a series of design approaches and best management practices, known as BMPs, and actively seek to prevent runoff rainwater.

In essence, LID ordinance requires that a property with an area greater than 500 square feet of solid landscape – hardscape, prevents runoff, or in terms of volume, captures three quarters of an inch of rainwater during a rain episode. This is performed best by reducing the surface area that can cause runoff, and utilizing natural systems of capture and exploitation of the rainwater, as detailed below.


LID Sanitation Strategies

LID Strategies revolve around manipulating the flow of water and enhancing existing infiltration areas such as areas of soil, vegetation, porous construction material, or adding mechanisms to collect the rainwater in appropriate containers. Some of these strategies include:

  • Reducing the amount of impervious surfaces on the property area. This strategy is implemented across the property, anywhere where materials and design goals allow for it. The objective is to guide the water to reach the ground, through various crevices, holes, drains, and other construction techniques. Special construction materials may be employed as well, such as porous concrete and asphalt.
  • Using natural infiltration systems to capture water, or amplify current infiltration rates. This is accomplished by decompacting soil, leading the water onto the flat areas of soil, creating basins in the soil to collect the rainwater, implementing permeable pavements, and other techniques.
  • Installing rain barrels or storage tanks to collect rainwater from drains or gutters. Ideally, this stored water should be used as a resource for the area, further enhancing its positive ecological impact.


LID Soil Characteristics and Best Practices

It’s important to have a professional assessment of the soil to determine its characteristics – infiltration rate, porous space, density, and layer composition. Local climate properties need to be studied as well, notably temperatures, humidity, and rainfall trends. 

With this in mind, calculations can be made to project the effectiveness of soil retention, and if necessary, improvement can be done:

  • Overcoming soil deficiencies through composting, decompacting, or replacing soil that has a low infiltration rate (IR) with a more appropriate type.
  • Increasing rain exposure of suitable infiltration areas, by removing any overhead barriers that would funnel rainwater elsewhere, and actively placing infiltration areas in spots that would receive the highest rainfall volume. The reverse can be done for areas with a poor infiltration rating.


LID Green Infrastructure Practices

One of the key goals when implementing LID Sanitation should be to effortlessly use the rainwater as a resource for the property. Green infrastructure helps accomplish this through sustainable and affordable methods:

  • Bioretention – implementing areas of plants that will gather water as a part of their biological cycle. These can include rain gardens, trees, flower beds, as well as other biofiltration devices.
  • Green Roofs, also known as vegetated rooftops, are a special form of bioretention that’s implemented on rooftops in the form of soil and a garden layer. This small layer is carefully designed to hold the water that would otherwise accumulate on the rooftop surface area and drain down the building, potentially causing runoff.


How To Implement The Best LID Practices?

Complying with LID ordinance in Los Angeles will require that you develop suitable solutions that meet government standards. LID practices are simple in theory, but require professional assessment of your project design or existing lot area. 

In ideal circumstances, LID practices combine sustainable design with modern, practical architecture, and create solutions that not only comply with industry standards, but add greater value to the whole area. A lot of attention to detail needs to go into implementing these solutions, and we recommend working only with licensed professionals in Los Angeles. 


Hire Los Angeles LID Ordinance Professionals 

Yakov Build general contractors have accumulated vast experience with LID projects in Los Angeles, and our company serves projects with the best practices, materials, and finest professionals in the field

If you would like to contact us with your questions or projects, visit the contact us page for more details, or call us directly. We are eager to work on new projects for a safer, more environmentally friendly Los Angeles. 

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