Permeable Pavement

Permeable pavement cartoonMaking pavement impervious to water only seems like a good idea. In fact, it creates a huge and serious problem. Whenever precipitation accumulates, the water travels across the pavement to street gutters, picking up contaminants along the way — from motor oil to dog poop. This noxious mix then flows into storm sewers, which empty into local waterways, polluting rivers that supply drinking water and beaches where people swim.

This problem goes by the name of runoff — and is the greatest threat to water quality in many areas of the United States today.

One solution — which many far-sighted towns from Philadelphia to Chicago are experimenting with — is permeable pavement. If you’re a property-owner, you can apply the same solution to your driveway, paths and other paved surfaces. For business-owners, that means parking lots, too.

Permeable pavement options include pervious concrete, permeable pavers and paving grids. With permeable pavers, you can get a very beautiful, upscale look. With paving grids, you can have a grass-filled driveway that doubles as a lawn!

Read my Permeable Pavement column for NRDC to learn more. If you have personal experience with permeable pavement, please share it here.


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One Response to Permeable Pavement

  1. pavement deterioration August 12, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Pervious paving (characterized by rapid draining), when properly designed/installed/maintained can perform under winter freezing conditions because it does not become saturated.
    Typically a pervious concrete pavement is designed with 15 to 35% void content placed over a 8? to 24? layer of drainable rock (crushed 1? diameter stone).
    1) typical flow rates can range from 3 gal/ft sq/min to 17 gal/ft sq/min
    2) maintenance includes vacuuming of the surface to prevent clogging og the voids
    3) design factors include: sub-grade compaction; water to cementtitious material ratio; coarse aggregate; installation; entrained air ration.