Low Impact Development in Richland County

Rain garden at The Cove, Sumter, SC Bioretention at Whole Foods, Columbia, SC Bioswale in Chattanooga, TN

What is Low Impact Development (LID)?

LID is an approach to land development that works to protect water resources by managing stormwater runoff as close to the source as possible and mimicking the natural processes that treat and store rainfall.  These techniques can be used in new development, redevelopment and retrofits of existing sites to lessen or even remove the effects of increased stormwater volumes and associated pollutants in runoff.

Why use LID?

LID techniques, such as rain gardens and pervious pavement, help water soak into the ground instead of running off of the surface, replenishing groundwater supplies and decreasing runoff.  These practices are recognized through research as more effective at filtering out pollution than traditional stormwater management (e.g. gutters, ditches and ponds).  Oftentimes, they are much more attractive than traditional infrastructure because diverse vegetation are included in their design.

LID Practices

Many LID options are available to meet the unique needs of each site.  They can be used independently or together as part of an overall site design known as a "treatment train."

Bioretention at Killian Marketplace, Columbia, SC

Rain Gardens/Bioretention
Rain Gardens are landscaped areas that collect and temporarily store rain water, which infiltrates into the ground over 24-48 hours after a rain storm.
EPA Bioretention fact sheet
South Carolina Rain Garden Manual

Bioswale at The Cove, Sumter, SC

A bioswale is similar to a stormwater ditch, except that it is wider and gently sloped on the sides, with grass or other vegetation that slows the flow of water, removes sediment and allows water to infiltrate.
EPA Grassed Swales fact sheet

Cistern at Moore Farms Botanical Garden, Lake City, SC

Rain Water Harvesting
Rain water harvesting is the practice of catching and storing rooftop runoff for later use.  Harvested water can be used for irrigation, vehicle washing and other uses.  Cisterns and rain barrels are examples of rain water harvesting.
Carolina Clear Rain Water Harvesting Manual
NCSU rain water harvesting website

Pervious pavers, Dubuque, Iowa

Pervious Pavement
Pervious pavement includes a variety of paving surfaces that allow water to pass through and soak into the ground.  Pervious pavement systems are usually designed with additional storage for water below the surface of the pavement.
EPA Pervious Pavement factsheets: interlocking concrete pavers, pervious concrete and porous asphalt
SC WaterWays Fact Sheet: An Introduction to Porous Pavement

Green Roof Moore Farms Botanical Garden, Lake City, SC

Green Roofs
Green roofs are rooftops covered with vegetation which filters and temporarily stores rain water.  Green roofs also reduce the urban heat island effect.
EPA Green Roof fact sheet

Parking lot in Portland, OR

More best management practices recommended by the EPA

Local Examples of LID

Click here for examples in Richland County and nearby.
Maps of projects: South Carolina Low Impact Development Atlas, National Low Impact Development Atlas

Additional Resources

United States Environmental Protection Agency Low Impact Development Website

Low Impact Development Urban Design Tools

Low Impact Development Center

EPA’s Green Infrastructure Website

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Best Management Handbook

Reducing Stormwater Costs with LID: Case Studies

LID for Big Box Retailers

Carolina Yards Plant Database: Plant Recommendations for South Carolina