Volume 52, Issue 8

Back in May, I was muttering about the lack of stormwater management best practices in the New Orleans zoning code but as it turns out, they aren’t far from implementation! A copy of proposed Article 23 of the Comprehensive Zoning Code (in draft form) recently came across my desk. In it, there is discussion of general landscape design standards that not only must be adhered to but approved in the course of obtaining a building permit. While under review for landscape plan approval, one must submit (among other things):  “A stormwater management plan, including the pre-development runoff rate and the post-development runoff rate. The stormwater management plan must include:

All pertinant calculations and specifi cations used in the design and construction of the detention area and other drainage improvements. Safeguards to present short-circuiting of detention system must be designed into the system. If underground systems are used, a monitoring and maintenance schedule may be required.”

Even more, stormwater “BMP’s” as described in the “Model Storm Water Based Landscape Code” are to be utilized in the development of one’s landscape plan. Encouraging news if you ask me!…
(but don’t put away your rainboots just yet)

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Volume 52, Issue 5

All the talk in the news about flooding recently reminded me of a conversation I had at the office shortly after moving to New Orleans that went a little something like this: “Ok, I think I understand the scope of the project. Have we submitted the site plan to the City for stormwater management approval?”

“What stormwater management approval?”

“Do you not have to demostrate implementation of long term best practices for stormwater management in order to be considered for a building permit?”

“No.”

In a city whose streets flood after a 20 minute downpour, I found this very hard to believe. I now realize I’ve taken for granted the very progressive nature of the city I lived in for 13 years that requires a civil engineer to calculate rainfall percentages and a landscape architect to accommodate on-site retention of storm water.  I realize the same approaches to stormwater management won’t hold true in an area with a high water table such as New Orleans but I’d thought I’d share this diagram from the Water Environment Research Foundation to get the ball rolling instead of… well… floating!