Capturing the Rain

A proposal seeks to capture rain water before it becomes polluted

Brandon Haarman

All that storm water runoff has to go somewhere. Under a proposal wading through county committees, builders would be required to capture it.

The plan calls for new homes, larger developments and some redevelopment projects to collect and reuse rainwater or build systems to filter it. The commissioner who proposed the capture plan said it would prevent about 140 million gallons of polluted storm runoff from entering the ocean.

If builders fail to capture the rain, they face a mitigation fee of $13 per gallon.

The Department of Public Works supports the proposal. The Builder's Industry Assocation does not.

Here's how it would work, according to the LA Times:

Under the ordinance, builders would be required to use rainwater storage tanks, permeable pavement, infiltration swales or curb bump-outs to manage the water where it falls. Builders unable to manage 100 percent of a project's runoff on site would be required to pay a penalty of $13 a gallon of runoff not handled there -- a requirement the Building Industry Assn. has been fighting.

"The Building Industry Assn. is supportive of the concept of low-impact development and has invested a lot of time and energy in educating our members on those techniques and advancing those technologies," Holly Schroeder, executive officer of the L.A.-Ventura County chapter of the association, told the Times. "But when we now start talking about using LIDs as a regulatory tool, we need to make sure we devise a regulation that can be implemented successfully."

If approved, the plan would probably take effect in 2011.

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