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Stormwater Management Techniques in Use at EPA Headquarters

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The stormwater management techniques employed in EPA’s Headquarters Low Impact Development (LID) projects include several best management practices such as: bioretention cells, cisterns, permeable pavement, permeable pavers, and soil amendments.

Several other LID techniques are in use at EPA Headquarters:

High Density Plastic Grid: This is a flat grid made of high density plastic that is used to reduce soil compaction and maintain infiltration in lawns subject to vehicle traffic. This permits traffic to cross the area and still allow water to infiltrate into the grass.

Sketch of high density plastic grid

Sketch of high density plastic grid.

Photo of a high density plastic grid.

Grid installed beneath grass on Constitution Avenue

High-Efficiency Irrigation: Irrigation techniques, timers, and moisture sensors can be utilized to reduce excess watering and promote water conservation. Furthermore, stormwater runoff can be collected in cisterns, which in turn can be used in place of potable water in these more efficient irrigation systems.

Photo of irrigation line.

Irrigation head

Photo of an irrigation head.

Irrigation cap denoting non-potable water source

Photo of irrigation controls.

Water management equipment

Runnels: Runnels are surface depressions in sidewalks that safely channel small amounts of stormwater runoff. At EPA’s William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard, runnels channel stormwater to the cistern for reuse in the irrigation system.

Sketch of a cobbleston runnel, which diverts stormwater from the patio to the cistern.

Sketch of a runnel.

Photo of runnels.

Sloped runnel to drain

Photo of runnels.

Cobbles sloped to form runnel

Sustainable Landscaping: Sustainable plant species thrive with minimal maintenance. Most are native plants that are well adapted to local conditions and best suited to respond to and/or reduce stormwater runoff. View the sustainable landscaping planting plan or the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard plant list. For more on this topic, visit EPA's WaterSense Program, Greenacres, or Mid-Atlantic Region Green Landscaping websites.

Thumbnail sketch of the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard planting plan. Click for a larger, more detailed image.

Planting plan

Photo of installed sustainable plants.

Plant installation

Photo of completed landscape at the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard.

Completed landscape

Other Sustainable Techniques

The following are examples of other sustainable design strategies employed in the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard (not related to stormwater management):

High Efficiency Lighting:Energy-efficient light fixtures are installed to light the walkway and cistern. Lighting contains low voltage and fiber optic lamps with daylight sensors and timers.

Photo of fiber-optic cistern lighting.

Fiber optic lighting inside cistern

Photo of path lighting.

Low voltage path lighting

Recycled Content Materials: The site furniture is made from recycled metals and plastics. Recycled concrete and aggregates are also used in the construction of pavement bases.

Photo of plant sign, which is made from recycled farm tools. Photo of patio furniture, which is made of recycled content materials. Photo of plastic lumber controls bunker, which is made from recycled plastic lumber.

Plant sign made from farm tools


Recycled content patio furniture Recycled plastic used for walls of control bunker
Photo of recycled glass cistern cover. Photo of bench before it was removed. Photo of bench once it was placed in the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard.
Recycled glass cistern cover Historic granite curb removal New location and use for historic granite curb as bench

Water-Efficient Historic Fountain: Another feature added to the historic fountain at the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard is a recirculating pump that reuses water and eliminates the need for continuous potable water use.

Photo of the historic fountain at the William Jefferson Clinton Building South Courtyard.
Renovated fountain

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