Low Impact Development Practices: A Review of Current Research and Recommendations for Future Directions
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The low impact development (LID) approach has been recommended as an alternative to traditional stormwater design. Research on individual LID practices such as bioretention, pervious pavements, and grassed swales has increased in recent years. Bioretention cells have been effective in retaining large volumes of runoff and pollutants on site, and consistently reduced concentrations of certain pollutants such as metals. However, retention of certain pollutants such as nitrate–nitrogen and phosphorus has been problematic. Porous pavements have been extremely effective in infiltrating stormwater runoff. Concerns have been raised about groundwater contamination, but research has shown that this is not a problem in most settings. Green roofs have been found to retain a large percentage of rainfall (63% on average) in a variety of climates. A common thread across bioretention, green roofs and grassed swales was found: the export of phosphorus. The issue appears to be linked to high phosphorus levels in the soil media, or possibly to fertilization of turf or planted areas. Solutions to this problem have been recommended. Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that bioretention and pervious pavements continue to infiltrate even with frost in the ground. Although issues have been identified with retention of certain pollutants, the LID approach has been found to result in increased retention of stormwater and pollutants on site, mimicking pre-development hydrologic function. Future research needs have also been identified.