Green Stormwater Infrastructure in the Sustainable Site. Outline: 2/19/2014. The Stormwater Problem: Impacts of turning spongy forests into cities

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1 Green Stormwater Infrastructure in the Sustainable Site Stormwater Challenges, and the GSI/LID Toolbox of Solutions Manage stormwater on site! Outline: Why do we need Green Stormwater Infrastructure (a.k.a. Low Impact Development)? Regulatory requirements for new construction & redeveloped sites The toolbox of GSI/LID practices Applyingthese tools to every site David McDonald Seattle Public Utilities presentation for the EcoPro WA Sustainable Landscape Professional Certification course, 2/ The Stormwater Problem: Impacts of turning spongy forests into cities data: Amount of land with 50% tree cover decreased by 37% in Puget Sound region (from 42% of land down to 27%) Forest Development Effects Before development: forest soils absorb rainfall release it slowly Impervious surface (roads, buildings) increasing More people moving into region = denser development Our climate is changing: Seattle Public Utilities more high rainfall events 3 American Forests After development: rainfall rushes off roofs, roads, and compacted soils Urban 4 Courtesy May, U of W Development Impacts from lost soil infiltration and increased impervious surface runoff = peak storm flows erosion of stream bank and bed fine sediment choking spawning gravels pollutants (from cars, landscape chemicals) groundwater recharge summer low flows in streams summer stream & estuary temperature oxygen habitat and food supply for young salmon Changes in hydrology (runoff vs. infiltration) after development 5 Seattle Public Utilities 6 1

2 What are the impacts? Chinook Salmon What s a Combined Sewer Overflow? (CSO) Large cities (Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, Spokane etc.) have combined storm & sanitary sewers. Salmon decline Pollution Erosion Flooding & property p damage Failing landscapes: more chemical use, higher summer water needs Combined sewer overflows (CSO s): Where storm and sanitary sewers are combined, high rainfalls can cause overflows into nearest water body When it rains harder than combined sanitary/storm sewers can convey to the sewage treatment plant, the excess overflows through a combined sewer outfall into a nearby water body, carrying untreated sewage along with rain runoff from streets, roofs, and yards. 8 How can we make our cities function hydrologically more like forests? The solution: Low Impact Development = Green Stormwater Infrastructure Make this Protect watersheds by managing stormwater upstream, on each site. Manage stormwater on site! Try to restore pre-development site hydrology, through distributed on-site detention and infiltration. green roofs (on new construction) work more like this! Rainfall: - slow it - spread it - filter it - soak it in. 9 permeable pavers 10 Why We Need Low Impact Development / Green Stormwater Infrastructure Protect our streams, rivers, lakes, & Puget Sound Fish & wildlife habitat Watershed hydrology Water quality Reduce stormwater infrastructure costs CSO reduction Flood protection Water quality treatment Reduce both flooding and drought damage Make our communities Seattle Public Utilities 11 more attractive & livable Stormwater is Regulated Federal Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Washington State Department of Ecology Municipal permits (city and county permits for both general stormwater and CSO s) requiring Local codes and ordinances Developers, builders, design and landscape pro s 2

3 Regulatory Requirements, now and soon! As WA jurisdictions update codes, they must include LID requirements specified in Ecology s Stormwater Management Manuals: Western Washington LID will be required in new development and re development already required by updated codes in many western WA cities and counties Eastern Washington LID recommended ddto meet stormwater t req s. Deadlines depend on population size: Already required for NPDES Phase I permittees (large cities and counties in western Washington) Phase II (smaller cities) deadlines: June 2015 June 2018 Many smaller cities have already adopted or will adopt very soon. Regulatory guidance: Ecology manual LID manual stormwater/manual.html local codes State and local regulations both point to the LID Technical Guidance Manual as the how to implementation guidance The LID / GSI Toolbox Site planning to retain and restore soil and vegetation Reducing building foundation and paving footprint Runoff dispersion into landscape Manage stormwater on site! Compost amended soil Trees Bioretention green roofs (on new construction) (rain gardens) Permeable paving Cisterns Vegetated roofs Etc.: slow it, spread it, filter it, soak it in! ( bioretention ) 15 Site planning, soil & vegetation preservation Plan from watershed scale down to individual lot. Develop a Soil Management Plan, to guide soil & veg. protection and soil restoration. Fence and sign protection areas. Protect ttree root zones use plates or rock pads for temporary access. 16 Restore & Improve Soil with Compost and Mulch Soil is alive! You can feed it: Restore construction disturbed soils: Rip to reduce compaction Amend with 15 25% compost by volume Amendsoil withcompost before planting Mulch trees and shrubs with leaves, wood chips Mulch annuals with compost Grasscycle (leave clippings on lawn) Topdress lawns with compost Minimize weed killers and chemical fertilizers Chemical overuse damages soil life Look for natural organic or slow release fertilizers Healthy plants grow in healthy soil. Build soil life using compost and mulch. Erosion control during construction: Compost based BMPs Compost blankets: 1 3 layer prevents erosion and filters pollutants. Compost berms: temporary perimeter. Compost socks: use instead of silt fence better filtration Builders get a faster installation. 2 for 1 value when compost is used for erosion control, and then tilled in to meet Ecology s Soil BMP requirements. Learn more at 3

4 Plant Trees Trees catch and evaporate rainfall, transpire water from soil into air, stabilize soil, clean the air. Use deciduous trees to south, to allow winter sun Use conifers to north to block winds conifers transpireyear round. Chose trees that will fit the site at mature size. Use engineered soils and other strategies to increase root access under/past pavement. Disperse runoff into landscape to infiltrate WA Stormwater Manual allows dispersion but: depends on local codes and soils some areas have too low infiltration rates Direct runoff from roofs and driveways away from buildings over a level spreader to gently sloped landscapes with compost amended soil where excess will run to street right of way or other safe discharge. Eastern WA LID Guidance Manual 20 Reduce Pavement & use Permeable Paving Permeable pavers, or porous concrete? 1) Remove excess pavement 2) Pave less area 3) Use porous paving Pathways or driveways Paver installation South Seattle Community College students and facilities staff Seattle Public Utilities 24 4

5 Bioretention Depressions with amended soil and plants to infiltrate & treat runoff from roofs & pavement Bioretention swales: usually roadside 1 4% slope conveys water while treating Bioretention cells (aka raingardens ) Closed drainage (low spot) with overflow Stormwater planters Engineered dfor tight spaces Locating rain gardens Don t locate: over underground utilities, major tree roots, soggy areas, or near steep slopes or landslide prone areas. Do locate: on gently sloped sites, downhill of roof or driveway drainage, where overflow will run to street, on site big enough for required bottom dimensions, where it looks good! Plants that fit site conditions, hydrology, year round growth. 1 3 ft. of bioretention soil mix: typically 2/3 sandy soil, 1/3 compost Infiltration ( perc ) on-site test example follow local permit requirements 1) Dig hole 24 inches deep, add stake with ruler 2) Fill with hose, let drain completely 3) Repeat fill & drain (may take overnight) 4) On third fill: Measure water height every hour Continue until rate of fall stabilizes (same amount of fall for 2 3 hours) Use that as the infiltration rate (in./hour) Rain Garden sizing Permitted projects: Follow local code sizing chart. Requires bioretention spec soil mix. Private retrofits (non permitted): Follow local code, or chart in Rain Garden Handbook May be able to amend sandy site soils with compost, instead of importing bioretention spec soil mix. If you hit hardpan within 24 don t build there! Cistern Installations for stormwater management and rainwater storage/reuse A 50 gallon rain barrel is not enough. You need 200 plus gallons of storage to affect home stormwater runoff, or store a useful amount for summer use. Stormwater benefit comes from leaving drain open between storms in winter, to drain slowly so there s space for the next storm. Close drain in May to store water for summer use. Water Use (mil gal/day) Water Use Rainfall Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Rainfall (inches) Overflow Downspout Screened inlet Low-flow orifice, drain to disperse into landscape Tim Pope, in LID Technical Manual A cistern installation needs: A level location near a downspout Don t block doors, windows, vents, utilities, or neighbor s accesses Verify local code & permit requirements A solid base An approved place to discharge the overflow: Rainwater harvesting & storage for reuse: Outdoor use: no permits, locate to flow to landscape Indoor use: permits required! Filtration, piping, backflow prevention, etc. Comply with Health Dept. code & local permitting See Roof Rainwater Collection Systems in the LID Technical Guidance Manual Vegetated ( green ) roofs and walls Smaller stormwater benefit (small storage) but other benefits include building cooling/warming, air quality, urban habitat, etc. In Northwest typically require summer irrigation, at least for several years. Walls need specialized support & irrigation. These are engineered systems! Growth medium = custom soil mix

6 Maintaining GSI/LID systems Soils: mulching, grasscycling, amend when replanting, avoid pesticides & soluble fertilizers. Trees: best tree practices consult with arborist, protect root zones from compaction. Bioretention: check inflow and overflow, maintain mulch, weed, water until established. Cisterns: clean screens and outlets, open low flow orifice to drain all winter, close in spring to store for summer use. Green roofs and walls: water, weed, replant as needed. 31 GSI/LID works on every site! Think about your sites. Rain runoff how can you: slow it spread it filter it soak it in? Low Impact Development Center LID Technical Guidance Manual 32 LID / GSI Resources LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound Eastern WA LID Guidance Manual Rain Garden Handbook for Western WA, 2013 ed. and other WSU resources Seattle s how to factsheets & GSI resources WA Dept. of Ecology s LID page, with many useful links Soil and site best practices: background science and design quick info for builders and landscapers Local codes around WA see your local planning dept. s website 33 6

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