Storm drain_Flickr_elycefelizIt’s so satisfying to be able to promote a pro-environment stance that’s also sweet for the money-crunching bottom line. Especially when the audience for that pitch is Washington’s business community.

That’s what Sightline chieftain Alan Durning and I got to do in an editorial about stormwater for Seattle Business magazine that’s out now.

Seattle BusinessThe editorial makes the case that low-impact development is the cheapest, smartest, and most environmentally beneficial way to reduce and treat polluted stormwater. The idea is that you protect a site’s soil and as many trees and plants as possible, which in turn will catch and absorb rainfall instead of sending it into the gutter. It also means building densely and limiting sprawl into untouched areas.

When and where you must build roads, parking lots, and buildings, you use low-impact development (or LID) to make them behave like the natural environment as much as possible. That includes installing porous pavement that lets the water trickle through it, constructing green roofs that soak up rainwater, and channeling downpours to rain gardens that are engineered to be more absorbent than a normal landscape job.

Research shows that the technology works, and study after study reports that it’s more affordable to use LID than traditional gutters and retention ponds or underground vaults for holding the stormwater. Hurrah!

So state regulators, local governments, builders and developers, and the greenies must be rushing to the rule and code books to require LID all over the place, right? If only it were so… (stay tuned for more on an update of LID rules).

Storm drain photo elycefeliz courtesy of Flickr user elycefeliz under a Creative Commons license.