Impervious surfaces and the resulting stormwater runoff are to blame for surface water pollution, flooding, erosion, and low urban tree survival rates, but porous pavement can solve these and other environmental problems.
There’s a lot of pavement in the United States—nearly 38,000 square miles (9.9 Million ha) or an area about the size of Indiana, according to calculations EBN has done (Vol. 5, No. 1). The vast majority of this is impermeable surface that contributes to stormwater runoff. In certain applications, that pavement can be made porous so that the rainwater falling on it can soak into the ground instead of contributing to stormwater runoff.
Using porous paving is a relatively new practice, going back just a few decades, and there are significant limitations and challenges. But there are also huge opportunities. This article takes a look at porous pavement, examining various products and addressing strategies for making it work. The article will be relevant to anyone involved with projects that include parking lots, driveways, roadways, sidewalks, courtyards, or patios.