Storm water can cause a lot of problems. This water, that is either the result of a particularly heavy downpour or the after effects of snow and ice melt off, can lead to a number of different types of pollution, which can then infiltrate the natural water sources of the area, leading to further complications.
Storm water can be dealt with in a number of ways. In nature, it will soak down into the soil, run off into nearby rivers and lakes, or simply be held on the surface until it evaporates into the air. However, in more developed and built-up environments, storm water starts to pose difficulties.
The main issues that can arise in these developed areas are water pollution (pollutants from roads, gardens, roofs and farming fields are picked up by this surface water and carried back to the surface waters, polluting them) and flooding, which occurs when the area’s drainage systems cannot cope with the timing or the volume of storm water at any one time.
These issues are further impacted by the impervious surfaces that we lay down, such as parking lots, buildings and roads, as well as things that might seem less impactful, like compacted soil. Water cannot easily infiltrate through these, leading to further flooding and pollution.
So what can be done? Storm water management is a tricky thing, with a number of different factors that must be monitored and controlled. One of the easier solutions to help with this is permeable pavement.
What Is Permeable Pavement and How Can It Help?
Permeable pavement is almost exactly what the name would seem to imply – it is a form of ground covering, like asphalt or concrete, but it is permeable. This means that, unlike asphalt and concrete, it allows water to easily and efficiently infiltrate through it and into the ground below, preventing those complications like flooding and water pollution.
It uses a circular grid system made of recycled plastic. The large “cells” are then filled with rocks and gravel. This is what allows water to drain through the pavement and back into the ground easily.
A permeable pavement can be put to especially good use somewhere like a parking lot. Typically, a parking lot will cause a lot of runoff, causing you to have to install a storm water detention pond, which can take up a lot of precious space. With permeable pavement, you don’t lose this space, meaning you can more effectively use the area you have.
Permeable pavement has the added advantage of being environmentally friendly. Because they are made of post-consumer recycled plastic, it is much better for the environment than fresh asphalt is. Furthermore, it stops that water pollution, adding to the environmental benefits.
Up to around 70% of debris, heavy metals, and chemicals are removed by the natural remediation process. This is what is then re-absorbed into the soil, aquifer or water systems, ensuring that there is cleaner water all round.