Plan Review Design Standards

The Washoe County District Board of Health established regulations for the Vector-Borne Diseases Program to:

  • Prevent the impact and severity of Vector-Borne Diseases;
  • Improve waterways design in the community;
  • Minimize the use of pesticides for poorly designed waterways; and
  • Minimize insect and rodent issues.

These goals are met by:

  • Using these design standards to decrease waterways ponding and nuisance water runoff;
  • Assisting in the review and approval process by providing Community Development, planners and engineers waterways detail designs; and
  • Providing and requiring these design standards in project development reviews.

Landscape Design

Landscape design with turf for common areas and typical front lots require an 18 inch catchment area from the back face of sidewalk reducing water runoff into catch basins. If only a curb exists without a sidewalk the catchment area is the same 18 inches. A wind sensor control unit is required which shuts off the irrigation system when the wind exceeds a set mph reducing excess water runoff.

Detention Basins & Retention Basins

Detention basins require a cobble line low flow channel between the inlet and outlet pipe allowing nuisance water runoff to flow through the facility while detaining storm water runoff in the winter. An infiltration trench 2 feet wide 3 feet deep constructed below the low flow channel will minimize water runoff through infiltration on site. For existing detention basins regrading between the inlet and outlet pipe will reestablish the flow line to eliminate water ponding in the basin.

Retention basin design requires the same cobble line low flow channel and infiltration trench constructed from the inlet to the farthest point in the basin since these basins have no outlet pipe.

All new channels require a low flow channel within the facility to allow water to flow through the drainage way.

Newly constructed swales are required to have the flow line lined with cobble rock.

Maintenance language is noted on building plans or placed in the CC&R's to maintain detention, retention basins and channels on an annual basis.

Access points are required for detention, retention basins and channels to allow access for inspection of these facilities.


Newly constructed ponds, aeration is required with these units operating at a minimum of two hours in the morning and afternoon from April through October. The placement of cobble rock on the side slopes two feet above and below the mean water line is also required for these ponds.

In existing ponds aeration and the removal of vegetation around the perimeter is required.

Helicopter access is required for developments with new and existing channels, wetlands and large bodies of water for aerial treatments.

Catch Basins

New and existing private catch basins including basins in Washoe County infrastructure require a paver tray insert placed below the grate and above the outlet pipe. GPS points are required for new catch basins.

Wetland Design

A wetland design with low flow channels, sediment basins, ponds and native plants planted on the upland slopes for newly constructed wetlands.

Easy helicopter access is required for developments with new and existing channels, wetlands and large bodies of water for aerial treatments.

Erosion Prevention

Mechanical slope stabilization, fill the voids using a mixed aggregate of 3/4 inch D size to 1 1/2 inch to a depth of 4 inches to discourage void formation of rodent habitat.

For rockery walls, the voids in the face of the rockery wall filled for the entire height of the wall.