American Society of Civil Engineers

Low Impact Development: Smart Technology for Clean Water - Definitions, Issues, Roadblocks, and Next Steps

by Larry S. Coffman, (Associate Director, Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources Programs and Planning Division. 9400 Peppercorn Place. Largo, Maryland 20770)
Section: Best Management Practices, pp. 1-11, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Global Solutions for Urban Drainage
Abstract: Low Impact Development (LID) provides new economically and environmentally sustainable tools for local and state officials, the private sector and others to better address nonpoint pollution wet weather flow regulatory challenges for the protection of our receiving waters. LID has initiated new dialogue, opened up new areas of research, provided new management tools and has caused us to question many of our past urban nonpoint pollution control approaches and technologies. LID represents the latest advancement in stormwater management technology and has evolved from the lessons learned over the past 30 years here in the United States and around the world. Through LID’s new advance technological tools it is possible to have better environmental protection for significantly less cost. However, despite the demonstrated environmental and economic advantages of LID over today’s conventional approaches, there remain numerous barriers to its widespread acceptance and utilization. These barriers are well understood and typical for an emerging technology. They include issues related political agendas, institutional structure and philosophy, lack of professional education and training, competing and vested interests in maintaining the statusquo, regulatory conflicts and inflexibility, lack of funding for research and development and professional / personal beliefs, knowledge and preferences. The following is a summary of LID’S basic principles / practices and some of the issues and roadblocks to adopting LID as a cost effective mainstay of our urban stormwater technology.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Nonpoint pollution
Stormwater management
Regional development