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Convincing your engineering, planning and development community that they need to rethink the way they design storm drainage facilities is not a simple task. Design criteria for conventional storm drainage systems that consist of impervious streets, curbs and gutters, drop inlets and underground storm drain pipes are deeply entrenched in textbooks and drainage design manuals and have been the standard for over 50 years. Conventional storm drainage systems are also the primary source of degradation to our nation's streams, rivers, wetlands, lakes and oceans. The concept of Low Impact Development (LID) presents a change in thinking. Instead of quickly removing storm water from urban landscapes, LID strives to mimic predevelopment hydrology by slowing the velocity of runoff, maximizing flow paths, detaining and filtering storm water in vegetated areas and increasing groundwater recharge. Although this concept seems intuitive, there are many institutional obstacles that must be overcome before LID can be successfully implemented in a community.

The Truckee Meadows Regional Stormwater Quality Management Program, adopted by the Truckee Meadows Storm Water Permit Coordinating Committee (SWPCC) in September of 2001, established a plan for developing new programs that support the goals and objectives of water resource protection within the three jurisdictions of the committee (the Cities of Reno and Sparks, and Washoe County, Nevada). One of the new programs included the development of watershed management and land use planning policies that would effectively reduce the impacts of storm water discharges to the Truckee River and its tributaries. In addition to supporting the goals and objectives of the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan, the program was also intended to meet the requirements of the NPDES municipal storm water permits issued jointly to the cities and county by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) in 2000 and 2005. The permits require implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that effectively reduce pollutants in storm water discharges to the maximum extent practicable (MEP). However, specific policies and procedures that define the process of plan review, permitting, inspection, operation, maintenance and enforcement of BMPs were to be developed by the cities and county.

In 2004, the cities and county contracted with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants to develop an LID Handbook and a Watershed Protection Manual for regional use in the Truckee Meadows. Concurrent with the LID handbook, Kennedy/Jenks was responsible for working with the private and public development professionals to establish recommendations for new policies, procedures and ordinances that would effectively function to meet the goals and objectives discussed above. The process included researching other communities, significant public education and outreach efforts, and the formation of partnerships.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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