Whiteoak Bayou: Implementing Low-Impact Development
Whiteoak Bayou Above Tidal (Segment 1017) flows through a primarily urban landscape in the Houston area. Water-quality testing has found elevated bacteria concentrations within the the bayou and its tributaries, posing a risk to people who swim or wade in them. Urban stormwater runoff has been shown to be a significant contributor of pollutant loads to the waterways; therefore, LID has the potential to be an effective management strategy.
This project incorporates a set of LID technologies into a redevelopment project in the Cottage Grove Subdivision and evaluates their effectiveness. The 5200 and 5300 blocks of Darling Street were reconstructed with several LID features: six bulb-out rain gardens at intersections and 20 curb-inlet tree boxes.
The City of Houston continues to document the water-quality benefits of the LID features by collecting stormwater-quality data. One storm runoff event was monitored prior to construction at the project site and an adjacent two-block area without LID features to compare water quality results. The city established and is conducting a scheduled maintenance program for the LID features.
To evaluate possible city-wide application of proven LID practices, the city will compare the costs of construction, annual operation, and maintenance costs compared with the costs of conventional practices. The city will also conduct outreach and educational activities to inform residents about the benefits of low-impact development.
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