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EPA Headquarters Low Impact Development Program

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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 William Jefferson Clinton Building 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 William Jefferson Clinton Building West, 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.

Aerial photo of Federal Triangle. Click on image for more information on LID demonstration projects at EPA Headquarters.
Click on photo for larger image.

LID Demonstration Project Descriptions

William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard

Constitution Avenue Entrances

Garage Cisterns at William Jefferson Clinton Building West

Stormwater Management Practices at EPA
Practice Environmental Benefits Location
South Courtyard Constitution Avenue West Building
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
Permeable Concrete X
Permeable Pavers 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:

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.

More Information

Visit EPA's Office of Water webpage on Stormwater Management at the EPA Headquarters for more on EPA's Federal Triangle Campus project.


Robert Goo (goo.robert@epa.gov)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (4503T)
Washington, DC 20460
Phone: (202) 566-1201

Cathy Berlow (berlow.cathy@epa.gov)
Ronald Reagan Building (3204R)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Phone: (202) 564-3739

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