Permeable paving surfaces can offer huge advantages over traditional pavement. Materials like concrete are solid and durable, but they provide nowhere for rainwater runoff to go – which can mean flooding, erosion, and concentrated pollutants, not to mention making sewage treatment facilities work overtime.
Permeable pavement, on the other hand, allows water to percolate down into the soil below. This allows groundwater to be replenished, and provides better moisture and aeration in the soil for nearby plants and trees. Permeable materials can also act as a filter for pollutants like motor oil, trapping them where they can be broken down by bacteria instead of flowing along with stormwater runoff.
Also known as a “pervious” surface, permeable paving can be used for large-scale projects like parking lots – - but it’s a great option for residential applications like driveways and patios as well. A huge variety of options are available, ranging from “honeycomb” style grids that can be filled with gravel or even planted grass, to surfaces that mimic the appearance of ordinary pavement.
Using permeable paving materials is an EPA “best practice” for managing stormwater runoff, and it can also earn points toward LEED certification. Learn more at the EPA website and the US Green Building Council’s LEED website.