Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > OW Home > OWM Home > NPDES Home > End Hierarchical Links
Basic Information
Municipal MS4s
Construction Activities
- Construction General Permit eNOI
Industrial Activities
- Multi-Sector General Permit eNOI
Road-Related MS4s
Menu of BMPs
Green Infrastructure
Integrated Municipal Plans
Stormwater Home


NPDES Topics Alphabetical Index Glossary About NPDES

Stormwater Case Studies Search Results

Case Study Location: Maryland: Prince George's County

Case Study Title: Incorporating Low Impact Development into Stormwater Management

Minimum Control Measure: Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment

List of Low-Impact Design StrategiesFor more than ten years Prince George's County has been a leader in implementing and developing guidance on lot-level best management practices to control stormwater and restore predevelopment hydrologic functions to urban and suburban systems.

Location: Maryland: Prince George's County
Annual Rainfall: 34.8 inches
Population: 801,515
Year the Program Started: 1990

Contact Information:

Chris Akinbobola
Prince George's County Department of Environmental Resources Exit EPA Site
9400 Peppercorn Pl
Largo, MD 20774
Phone: (301) 883-5822  
Fax: (301) 883-9218


The Prince George's County's Department of Environmental Resources (DER) sought to develop a more cost-effective approach to stormwater management that provided both flood control and water quality benefits. In the early 1990s the County experimented with plant/soil filter techniques, which led them to develop a lot-level runoff management concept called low impact development (LID). The County produced local and national guidance on LID design techniques that describe in detail the steps needed to develop lots that mimic the hydrologic functions of a natural landscape.

In 1990, the DER was faced with the task of managing stormwater under the NPDES Phase I Stormwater Rule. Conventional best management practices, which had been implemented throughout Prince George's County, had proven to be costly to maintain and inspect and fell short of the water quality goals the County sought to achieve. An additional challenge the DER faced in such an urbanized County was the daunting task of retrofitting areas already developed using capital-intensive, end-of-pipe structural stormwater treatment controls.

Images of biorentention in Prince George's County

As a solution to these challenges, the County experimented with bioretention, or "rain gardens," which use small, low-lying landscaped areas to capture and infiltrate runoff on-site. Experience with these practices led them to develop a strategy for engineering lot-level landscapes that can function (hydrologically) like a natural landscape. This strategy evolved into the LID design approach, which involves directing runoff from impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, and streets, to grassed or other landscaped areas. This slows the runoff and provides treatment through filtration, settling, and biological uptake of pollutants. The ultimate goal of the LID design approach is to provide in situ management of runoff from impervious surfaces to reduce end-of-pipe treatment costs and protect headwater streams that would otherwise be vulnerable to degradation from erosive storm flows and high pollutant loads.

The success of LID applications in Prince George's County led to the development of two national guidance manuals by Prince George's County's Department of Environmental Resources with assistance from EPA. Low-Impact Development Design Strategies: An Integrated Design Approach [PDF] expands the scope of Prince George's County's 1997 local design manual to be applied nationwide. The manual

  • Describes LID goals and contrasts LID with conventional stormwater management.
  • Presents site planning concepts fundamental to LID.
  • Provides a step-by-step approach for implementing LID at a development site, from identifying zoning considerations and delineating areas to be protected to developing a site plan that incorporates the essential elements of LID.
  • Outlines steps to perform a hydrologic analysis to ensure that performance goals for runoff control are being met. These concepts are expanded upon in the companion manual, Low-Impact Development Hydrologic Analysis [PDF].
  • Details BMPs that work within the framework of LID, such as bioretention, filter strips, grassed swales, and rain barrels.
  • Includes erosion and sediment control considerations for the construction phase of development.
  • Presents an outreach program to promote awareness of LID and stormwater management in the community.

In recent years, other communities, non-profit groups, private businesses, and federal agencies have implemented LID design and developed additional guidance and resources (see Additional Resources and Tools). Because of the economic and water quality benefits of this approach, LID has gained wide appeal, and its concepts have become standard practice in many communities dedicated to improving water quality.

Additional Materials Related to this Case Study:

Additional Resources and Tools for this Minimum Control Measure

EPA presents this case study as an example to which Phase I and Phase II municipal stormwater programs can refer as they develop their own stormwater programs. Although EPA has reviewed the case studies, they should not be considered officially endorsed by the Agency and are not intended to represent full compliance with EPA’s stormwater Phase II minimum control measures. Each community must decide on the appropriate BMPs necessary to meet its unique permit requirements and local conditions.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Home

Stormwater Information
Recent Additions




Training & Meetings



 Register to Receive NPDES News Alerts!  

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. Files are best viewed in Internet Explorer and Adobe 8.0 or higher. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.


Office of Water | Office of Wastewater Management | Disclaimer | Search EPA

Begin Site Footer

EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

Last updated on June 08, 2007 9:09 AM