If you’re planning to build or replace a driveway or other paved area, consider a permeable surface before you invest in concrete or asphalt. Available in a myriad of colors, shapes and patterns, permeable pavers can make your property look better and have a significant positive impact on the environment.
In response to the growing environmental stress of land development which diminishes the natural water filtration provided by soil - storm water run-off is often mixed with motor oil, fertilizers and other substances - paver manufacturers have developed permeable systems that help address this source of pollution for our lakes, rivers, coastlines and groundwater.
By allowing rainwater and snowmelt to drain into the ground, rather than sending it off into our streets and storm drains, permeable paving helps reduce runoff while filtering pollutants from the water. It can even lower the temperature around a house in the summertime as it absorbs moisture instead of heat.
With every 30-by-30 foot patch of concrete or asphalt shedding as much as 550 gallons of water in a one-inch rain, permeable paving is an excellent alternative to traditional methods and an ideal solution for driveways, parking areas, sidewalks, pathways and patios.
Just as rain soaks into the earth in forests and fields, permeable paving allows the water to percolate into the sub-soil the very same way.
Using a selection of paver blocks and grids, water is permitted to pass through the permeable surface, and then through a system of various sized gravels, back into the soil. Some installations also support grass or other suitable vegetation, providing a naturalized green appearance.
A growing number of commercial installations across the country demonstrate how permeable paving can reduce the quantity of surface runoff, particularly for small to moderate-sized storms, as well as the flow of runoff pollutants.
Functional, durable and aesthetically pleasing, permeable paving is proving especially effective in areas near Lake Michigan where the soil is particularly sandy. Because it can virtually eliminate runoff, permeable paving has the potential to reduce the need for retention ponds and/or underground sewer pipes.