Anaheim introduces stormwater capture credit program

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California Construction News staff writer

Anaheim’s Stormwater Capture Credits will allow developers to build without having to implement and maintain extensive onsite stormwater systems, while still providing basic environmental protections such as screening storm drains, landscaping and street sweeping.

Anaheim’s stormwater capture and diversion sites collect and recycle enough water to serve 370 families a year. The city implemented the credits to protect waterways and renew drinking water supply by capturing rainfall and creating credits developers can use as to build housing, revitalize neighborhoods and expand visitor attractions.

How it works:

Anaheim develops, runs and maintains two large sites that collect and filter stormwater, reducing runoff to channels and the Santa Ana River while replenishing groundwater supply.

In early 2024, developers will be able to buy credits created by city sites to use for their projects.

Anaheim has $6.5 million worth of credits available, a number that will vary as credits are bought and additional capture sites are developed.

Credits now cost $26.88 to $32.79, which is also subject to change. Prices are based on the cost to design, plan, build, operate and maintain capture sites, the cost of developing sites to expand the program and the size of a development project seeking credits.

The Stormwater Capture Credit program started as a pilot for city projects in late 2023. Credits will be available for developers in February 2024 and then expand to all types of projects in April 2024.

Developers interested in credits can contact Anaheim’s Keith Linker at (714) 765-4141 or or by email to klinker@anaheim.net. For more information visit Anaheim.net/Stormwater.

All California cities are required to reduce debris and chemicals from stormwater before it reaches our streams, rivers and oceans under the California Clean Water Act and other regulations.

Since 2020, Anaheim has worked with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, our local regulator, on a program to protect waterways while encouraging the building of more homes, redeveloping blighted areas and expanding visitor attractions, all city goals to better our community. The Stormwater Capture Credits program will reduce runoff — and pollution — from Anaheim makes its way to the ocean.

The city operates a 224-acre stormwater capture site at Modjeska Park in west Anaheim. Twenty-five feet below the park’s parking lot, a 14-foot concrete chamber captures rain that makes its way through the surface above.

In Anaheim Canyon, an industrial area just east of the Orange (57) Freeway, stormwater that builds up at the intersection of La Palma Avenue and Richfield Road is diverted to the Orange County Water District’s Foster-Huckleberry Basin, where it works its way into underground wells that supply drinking water.

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