Biggest Little City

What is Low Impact Development?


Low Impact Development (LID) is a term for landscape features like rain gardens, swales, planted "low spots", and protective buffer zones around lawns.  We have found that well-placed landscape is perfect for preventing storm runoff from reaching the river without treatment!  This softscape provides infiltration and storage, for runoff, putting it back into the ground to seep into the river -treated. This cleans the water of dissolved materials like pesticides, bacteria from pet waste, and other dirty contaminants, keeping them out of 
our storm drain system and river.

There are also structural controls, or engineered fixes, to treat storm water on site also, (e.g. pervious concrete or "tree box filters"). The Truckee Meadows Watershed Committee updated the Truckee Meadows Structural Controls Design and LID Manual (2015), and provides design guidance worksheets linked below. Please view them online.  

While the City of Reno passed a Structural Controls/LID Ordinance in 2009, it requires new developments to include LID features or other storm water treatment on site where feasible. Recognizing that some site conditions have some constraints to LID, the TMWC has provided Standard Design Guidance Worksheets for selecting and sizing these features to the best extent appropriate.   For more info on local considerations, check
out the Local LID guidance links.

This program implements structural best management practices (BMPs) at areas of new development and redevelopment.  Program components include new policies and procedures, ordinance revisions, drainage manual revisions, training for staff, project designers and developers, database tracking, complaints reporting and public education and outreach on structural BMPs. Our goal is to provide written guidance and training to local government staff, project designers, developers and structural BMP owners regarding the design, operation, inspection and maintenance of structural controls.  Existing jurisdictional drainage design manuals (Reno Public Works Design Manual and Truckee Meadows Regional Drainage Manual) have been revised to include a new chapter on structural controls for stormwater quality. The new chapters include technical guidance on the selection, site, sizing, operation and maintenance of structural controls designed to enhance stormwater quality. 

 The picture shows a structural control located in Denver, CO, a sand filter extended detention basin. This structure passively treats storm water runoff from a  parking lot of about 10 acres and has had no problems in 10 years. Design was based on  criteria outlined in the Urban Storm Drainage Criteria Manual, Vol. 3 - BMPs (UDFCD, Denver CO, September 1999). Photograph courtesy of the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, Denver, Colorado.

For more information please contact the Storm Water Team at 775-334-2350.




Tree Box Filter



 Denver - structural control


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