Nov 13, 2020

What is LID? Successful Low Impact Development in Utah

By Focus Engineering In Expertise, Services No comments

Engineering effectively to manage stormwater runoff

Across the State of Utah, Low Impact Development is increasingly being recognized by developers, engineers, and municipalities. Low Impact Development (LID), is the process of developing construction projects with sustainable tools to manage stormwater runoff. At FOCUS Engineering, LID is an integral design component.

As described by FOCUS Site Civil Engineer Cameron Taylor, “LID is still somewhat a new concept. Clients tend to view it from the perspective of a municipality requirement, often not understanding the benefits.” Cameron continued, “Our role as engineers is to identify how to incorporate LID and help educate our clients on site-specific benefits.” Benefits include reducing the cost of stormwater maintenance, lowering utility costs, decreasing the probability of flood events, and increasing site use and aesthetics.

As Utah communities continue to expand and become more urbanized, ground areas covered with structures, parking lots, and roadways also increase. Traditional stormwater management involves runoff water traveling across expanses of concrete and asphalt—picking up various environmental contaminants and pollutants—before the water enters the storm drains. From the storm drain, this runoff water is typically dumped into untreated, local waterways. The engineering design tools involved with LID help rainwater react more naturally with the environment. The goal of LID is to improve groundwater quality and protect aquatic life.

FOCUS Engineering utilizes precise LID tools to encourage rainwater to percolate into the soil, evaporate, or be reused. The LID tools often considered and integrated into projects by the FOCUS Engineering team include rain gardens, vegetated park strips (bioswales), bioretention cells, dry wells, permeable hardscapes, engineered soils, along with tree and vegetation planting, to name a few.

Critical components for successful implementation of LID include an engineering team well versed in LID, and engineers who stay up to date on technologies and methodologies. This allows the integration of best practices for each project. The depth of LID within the FOCUS Engineering team includes many seasoned professionals such as Site Civil Engineer Curtis Ball, PE, with over two decades of industry experience.

Cameron began his study of LID as an engineering student at the University of Utah. Since joining Focus, Cameron has increased his LID expertise and experience to serve our clients better. FOCUS Engineering is proud to offer Site Civil LID services to our clients. “At FOCUS, we are responsible for making our clients’ projects more effective and appealing,” says Cameron. “Providing Low Impact Development strategies gives our clients an effective, long-term solution for their projects. Everything we do is to make our clients happy.”