Low Impact Development for Businesses

Low Impact Development (LID) is a method of development that seeks to maintain the natural hydrologic character of an area. LID provides a more sustainable and pollution-preventative approach to water management. Water quality regulations for Orange County require implementation of LID in larger new developments and encourage LID and other sustainable practices in existing areas. Using these LID tips for businesses, you will decrease polluted runoff and local flooding, increase water infiltration, and reduce your business’s water bill.




Bioretention areas function as soil and plant-based filtration devices that remove pollutants from runoff through a variety of physical, biological, and chemical treatment processes. Bioretention cells can achieve quality runoff control by infiltrating and temporarily storing runoff. They function as dynamic, living micro-ecological systems that demonstrate many benefits such as:

Rain Barrels

rain barrel

Rain barrels are an inexpensive way to easily maintain water retention that can be used in commercial or residential settings. Rain barrels are typically small devices that contain a downspout, sealed lid, and an overflow pipe.

Prevent mosquito growth in and around rain barrels by ensuring all entry points are tightly sealed.



Cisterns are roof water management devices that retain runoff in above or underground storage tanks. They hold more water by volume than rain barrels with some underground cisterns having the capacity for 10,000 gallons of runoff. On-site cistern use with redistribution helps conserve water and can reduce water utility costs.

 Permeable Surfaces

Paving materials and design benefits include:

Pervious Concrete

pervious concrete

Porous Asphalt

porous asphalt

Permeable Pavement

permeable pavement

Soil Amendments

soil amendments

Soil amendments composed of green waste top soil, lime, and gypsum can help provide added nutrients to a landscape. These additives can reduce polluted runoff by helping minimize development impacts on native soils and restoring their infiltration capacity. A large business landscape would benefit from a soil analysis prior to compost amending.

Tree Box Filters

tree box filter

Tree box filters are mini bioretention cells that live beneath trees. These are very effective at collecting polluted runoff that is then filtered by local vegetation and entered into a catch basin to be distributed throughout the area.

Green Roofs

green roof

Green roofs help reduce harmful effects to water quality by filtering, absorbing, or detaining rainfall through vegetated roof covers. They are comprised of a lightweight soil on top of a drainage layer and impermeable membrane which helps to protect the building. Green roofs can use native plants that are adapted to the Orange County climate, reducing the need for additional irrigation. Green roof benefits include:



For more information about how to reduce polluted runoff at your business, check out the following resources:

Pollution Prevention for Businesses

Did you know?

Learn "hands on" about the HBPD by participating in the Citizens Academy.  Each session is 11 weeks long and is offered twice a year.  Learn about Patrol, Traffic, Vice, SWAT, K-9, Aero and more!  Apply here.

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