Site assessment of residential

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Understanding site conditions is critical when Screening LID Options. Gaining comprehensive knowledge of the proposed site requires a desktop review of relevant background information followed by field reconnaissance to verify the review and identify relevant site conditions not included in background information.

Desktop analysis

As you begin gathering and reviewing background information, determine any existing infrastructure gaps and planned upgrades, resident concerns, previous community greening efforts, past water usage and past problems with basement flooding. The following sources of information should be considered when conducting a desktop analysis:

  • Watershed studies
  • Subwatershed studies
  • Stormwater master plans
  • Sewershed delineation
  • Areas with identified storm sewer capacity issues
  • Areas contributing to combined sewer overflows
  • Areas of degraded water quality
  • Areas prone to flooding (both urban and riverine)
  • Water quality targets
  • Flow targets
  • Infiltration targets
  • The impact of planned development on existing infrastructure and watershed health
  • Source water protection plans
  • Wellhead protection areas (quantity and quality)
  • Surficial Geology
    • Soil characterization
    • Groundwater levels

Local bylaws and regulations

Be sure to know the relevant local bylaws before developing recommendations. Some LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. features may contravene local regulations. Below are some examples of typical bylaws and their potential impact on LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. planning:

Typical Bylaws General Provisions May Include: Impacts on LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. Options:
Nuisance weeds and tall grass
  • Designates tall grass and weeds as a public nuisance:
  • Defines “tall grass” as grasses over a maximum height (typically 20 – 30 cm)
  • Requires tall grass to be cut to a height not exceeding the maximum height
  • Requires all nuisance weeds and weed seeds to be removed from a property by the owner
  • The municipality may carry out the work to bring properties into
  • Compliance and recovery costs from the land owner
Vegetated LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. practices may be in violation of the relevant bylaw, e.g. landscape naturalization with prairie or ornamental grasses.
Property standards

Sets minimum requirements for privately owned properties

  • Restricts low-lying areas, including those that have been excavated and accumulate water, and requires that they be drained, filled and graded so that water drains to a storm sewer or ditchA long narrow trench or furrow dug in the ground, as for irrigation, drainage, or a boundary line..
  • Requires that all landscaped areas be maintained in a reasonable condition relative to the neighboring environmentRefers to the conditions in which an organism lives and survives or the conditions in which an organism resides. These conditions can be described as aspects of a “physical”, “social” or an “economic” environment, depending on the perspective perceived by the observer.
Can preclude the some LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. practices, such as bioretentionA shallow excavated surface depression containing prepared filter media, mulch, and planted with selected vegetation. facilities designed be both low-lying and including ‘shallow’ surface ponding. Such bylaws can also prohibit other BMPs which rely on naturalizing landscapes.
Sewer use Although generally limited to sanitary sewers, many municipalities now include stormwater within this by-law. It generally requires all stormwater be discharged to an approved outlet and regulates the contents of the discharged water. May not permit direct discharge of roof water to the municipal storm sewer system. This can include overflow from rainwater harvestingThe practice of intercepting, conveying and storing rainwater for future use. Captured rainwater is typically used for outdoor non-potable water uses such as irrigation, or in the building to flush toilets. tanks and similar devices.
Standing waterWater ponded on the ground surface.

Prevents accumulation of water on an individual property within any depression

  • Often in response to mosquito breeding and West Nile Virus concerns.
  • Accumulation is typically defined by a determined period of time (e.g. 48 hours)

Infiltration trenches or chambers, bioretention, or swales may be prohibited.

Boulevard planting Regulates the type of vegetation that can be planted within the boulevard area Swales may be constrained by plant-type and plant-height restrictions along municipal boulevards
Roof leader policies (often part of property standards bylaws)

Regulates the collection and allowable discharge location of roof drainageNatural or artificial means of intercepting and removing surface or subsurface water (usually by gravity).

  • May specify outlet distance from building foundation and may prohibit discharge to storm sewers, imperviousA hard surface area (e.g., road, parking area or rooftop) that prevents or retards the infiltration of water into the soil. surfaces and property boundaries

Progressive roof leader policies can encourage the implementation of rain gardens, rain barrels and other LIDLow Impact Development. A stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased urban runoff and stormwater pollution by managing it as close to its source as possible. It comprises a set of site design approaches and small scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration and evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. practices.
See Downspout disconnection

Field reconnaissance

After concluding a desktop analysis, visiting the neighbourhood in question for field reconnaissance is be ideal. Be sure to look for:

  • Neighbourhood characteristics – general impressions
  • General lot characteristics:
    • Driveway sizes
    • Driveway types (% of asphaltA mixture of mineral aggregates bound with bituminous materials, used in the construction and maintenance of paved surfaces., gravel, block pavers, etc.)
    • Percentage of property covered by house
    • Percentage of property covered by turf
    • Percentage of property covered by alternative landscaping
    • Percentage of property covered by trees
    • Percentage of property covered by curb
    • Location and general condition of gardens
    • Distribution and coverage of natural vegetation
    • Location of septic systems
    • Fencing style and location
    • Prevalence of irrigationHuman application of water to agricultural or recreational land for watering purposes. City of Toronto Wet Weather Flow Management November 2006 47 systems
    • Roadside swalesA shallow constructed channel, often grass-lined, which is used as an alternative to curb and channel, or as a pretreatment to other measures. Swales are generally characterized by a broad top width to depth ratio and gentle grades.
  • Drainage characteristics
  • Rooftop / drainage characteristics
  • Best management practices info

This list is not meant to be exhaustive - keep your eyes open for other relevant factors, and let us know if there's anything we should add.

Once the analysis is complete, proceed to developing a list of recommended BMPs for implementation.