EPA Headquarters Low Impact Development Program
In This Section
EPA, in collaboration with the U.S. General Services Administration, is demonstrating low impact development (LID) and sustainable stormwater management practices in a landscape renovation project at its Federal Triangle Headquarters in Washington, DC. The project is not only potentially reducing the quantity and improving the quality of stormwater runoff, but it also demonstrates that sustainable design and LID can be implemented or incorporated in high profile, urban sites with rigorous aesthetic design requirements.
The Federal Triangle complex's extensive building roofs, sidewalks, courtyards, and parking areas make the area approximately 95 percent impervious to rain. This multi-phased project, however, is significantly reducing the adverse impacts of stormwater flows from the 25-acre site.
The Constitution Avenue entrances upgrades include construction of rain gardens (bio-retention cells) and new plantings along this major avenue. The Ariel Rios South Courtyard project includes, in addition to bioretention cells, permeable paving, sustainable landscaping, and a cistern to capture rainwater runoff for reuse in irrigating an interior courtyard. At the EPA West building, six 1,000 gallon cisterns were installed to capture rainwater to help satisfy irrigation requirements along Constitution Avenue in front of the building. By summer 2008 all these projects were functional.
LID Demonstration Project Descriptions
|Ariel Rios South Courtyard||Constitution Avenue||West Buildings|
|Bioretention Cells||Allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground rather than eroding topsoil and running directly into storm drains and the combined sewer system.||X||X|
|Cisterns||Collect and store stormwater for later use in landscape irrigation.||X||X|
|Sustainable Landscaping||Utilize stormwater for irrigation, provide wildlife habitat.||X||X|
|Recycled Content Materials||Reduce solid waste and reliance on raw materials.||X|
This table was taken from the Office of Water Stormwater Management at EPA Headquarters Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 905K, About PDF).
Headquarters LID Goals
This LID Project has several important goals:
- Reduce the volume and peak runoff of stormwater that is generated from the EPA complex to the Washington, DC, combined sewer system.
- Increase water quality by reducing the pollutant loads that are carried via stormwater runoff to major waterways.
- Create an educational facility that will allow EPA and local governments to observe and monitor point source pollution.
- Demonstrate the feasibility of using innovative (LID or green infrastructure) stormwater management techniques for urban stormwater management retrofits.
- Demonstrate the costs and effectiveness of urban retrofits.
- Incorporate site design techniques into the complex that will help improve efforts to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification.
- Promote water and energy conservation techniques that will help fulfill executive orders on greening the government.
- Promote partnerships between federal and local government agencies for the stewardship of the environment.
More information on the major sustainable features demonstrated in these projects can be found on the Stormwater Management Techniques page.
LID and Green Infrastructure
As it relates to stormwater, "green infrastructure" refers to sustainable systems and practices that use or mimic natural processes to infiltrate, evapotranspire (return water to the atmosphere either through evaporation or by plants), or reuse stormwater runoff on the site where it is generated. Green infrastructure can be incorporated in a variety of landscaping scenarios in place of, or in addition to, more traditional stormwater control elements to support the principles of LID. To learn more about how EPA is promoting green infrastructure to manage wet weather impacts in urban areas, please visit EPA's Green Infrastructure Page. Read EPA's 2008 Action Strategy (PDF) (38 pp, 940K, About PDF) for more information about green infrastructure.
Visit EPA's Office of Water Web page on Stormwater Management at the EPA Headquarters Office Complex for more on EPA's Federal Triangle Campus project.
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