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Permeable pavement projects

Health Factors: Air & Water Quality
Decision Makers: Community Members Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Grantmakers Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Permeable pavement, also called porous or pervious pavement, is a type of green infrastructure that is often part of low impact development efforts to make city landscapes more permeable. Permeable pavement can be made from a range of materials and techniques, including pervious concrete, porous asphalt, permeable interlocking pavers, open-jointed blocks or cells, and resin bound paving. Homeowners can install or retrofit a driveway or patio with permeable pavement, or commercial property owners can use it for a parking lot or walkway. Permeable pavement projects can also be larger scale efforts, encompassing sidewalks, roads, or parking lots throughout a city, county, or larger geographic region (US EPA-Green infrastructure).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced runoff
Reduced water pollution
Reduced urban heat island effects
Reduced crashes
Reduced soil erosion
Reduced flooding
Increased wildlife habitat

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that permeable pavement projects reduce stormwater runoff and pollutant concentrations, especially total suspended solids and heavy metals (Mullaney 2014Drake 2013Ahiablame 2012Revitt 2014Imran 2013Scholz 2007Dietz 2007). Permeable pavement may reduce urban heat island effects when materials used function as cool pavement (US EPA-Wong 2008), and reduce glare and automobile hydroplaning accidents (LSS-Pervious pavement). Using permeable pavement and other low impact development techniques is also a suggested strategy to reduce soil erosion, protect communities from flooding, improve water quality, and preserve habitat, property, and other infrastructure (CDC-Water qualityUS EPA-Green infrastructure). 

Coordinated large scale efforts to use permeable pavement throughout a city, county, or region have a greater effect on water quality than small scale permeable pavement projects implemented in isolation (US EPA-LID). Permeable pavement has been shown to infiltrate stormwater runoff in cold weather climates (Drake 2013, Dietz 2007). Stormwater filtered through permeable pavement projects in cold climates after winter applications of salt can retain chlorides; design and maintenance adaptations in cold climates can reduce risks to groundwater (Drake 2013).

The effectiveness of most permeable materials varies with stormwater runoff volume (Hoss 2016); a comparison of 10 different permeable surfaces suggests porous concrete has the greatest infiltration rates and the least variation (Alizadehtazi 2016). Maintenance such as industrial vacuum cleaning, pressure washing, or milling can remove clogging material and retain permeability over time (Winston 2016). Permeable pavement projects with thicker subsurface layers of gravel more effectively remove total suspended solids (TSS) than thinner layers. Smaller gravel sizes may also increase TSS removal, but require more frequent maintenance than larger gravel layers (Huang 2016).

Costs for permeable pavements vary by the material used. Costs for porous concrete, for example, range from $2-$6.50 per square foot installed and costs for interlocking concrete paving blocks range from $5-10 per square foot installed. Although these costs are higher than the cost of installing asphalt per square foot, permeable pavement can cost less than full conventional concrete stormwater management systems (LIDC-Bioretention costs). Permeable pavement projects are particularly cost effective where land values are high and where flooding or icing is a problem (US EPA-Green infrastructure).

Implementation

United States

A few states have regulations that encourage sustainable water management, including techniques such as permeable pavement; California is one example (CA SB 7). Many states and cities have guidelines and strategic plans that encourage stormwater management best practices that include using low impact development and green infrastructure such as permeable pavement, rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, and rain barrels. Examples include Minnesota (MN PCA-Stormwater), Connecticut (Fuss & O'Neill 2013), the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC-Stormwater), Washington DC’s Department of Transportation (DC-Green infrastructure), and Muncie, Indiana (MSD-Stormwater management).

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a permeable pavement conservation practice standard that provides guidance on design, installation, and maintenance of permeable pavement systems (WI DNR-Permeable pavement). The City of LaCrosse offers a permeable pavement credit to property owners that install permeable pavement projects (LaCrosse-Stormwater).

Implementation Resources

CA DWR-Water efficient - California Department of Water Resources (CA DWR). Water efficient landscape ordinance: Technical assistance. Accessed on January 12, 2017
ICPI - Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). Carving a new path in town? Pavement systems that offer durability, life-cycle and aesthetics. Accessed on January 12, 2017
LSS-Stormwater - Lake Superior Streams (LSS). Tools for stormwater management. Accessed on January 12, 2017
MAPC-Stormwater - Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Stormwater management. Accessed on January 12, 2017
NAPA-Porous asphalt - National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). Porous asphalt. Accessed on January 12, 2017
NRMCA-Pervious pavement - National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA). Pervious concrete pavement. Accessed on January 12, 2017
SEMCOG-LID - Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). Low impact development (LID). Accessed on January 12, 2017
US EPA-LID - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Urban runoff: Low impact development (LID). Accessed on March 16, 2017

Citations - Description

US EPA-Green infrastructure - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). What is green infrastructure? Accessed on March 17, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Ahiablame 2012* - Ahiablame LM, Engel BA, Chaubey I. Effectiveness of low impact development practices: Literature review and suggestions for future research. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. 2012;223:4253-4273. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Alizadehtazi 2016* - Alizadehtazi B, DiGiovanni K, Foti R, et al. Comparison of observed infiltration rates of different permeable urban surfaces using a Cornell sprinkle infiltrometer. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering. 2016;21(7):6016003. Accessed on January 20, 2017
CDC-Water quality - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthy places: Water quality. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Dietz 2007* - Dietz ME. Low impact development practices: A review of current research and recommendations for future directions. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. 2007;186:351-363. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Drake 2013 - Drake JAP, Bradford A, Marsalek J. Review of environmental performance of permeable pavement systems: State of the knowledge. Water Quality Research Journal of Canada. 2013;48:203-222. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Hoss 2016* - Hoss F, Fischbach J, Molina-Perez E. Effectiveness of best management practices for stormwater treatment as a function of runoff volume. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 2016;142(11):5016009. Accessed on January 20, 2017
Huang 2016* - Huang J, Valeo C, He J, Chu A. The influence of design parameters on stormwater pollutant removal in permeable pavements. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution. 2016;227(9):311. Accessed on January 20, 2017
Imran 2013* - Imran HM, Akib S, Karim MR. Permeable pavement and stormwater management systems: A review. Environmental Technology. 2013;34(18):2649-2656. Accessed on January 12, 2017
LIDC-Bioretention costs - Low Impact Development Center (LIDC). Urban design tools: Bioretention costs. Accessed on January 12, 2017
LSS-Pervious pavement - Lake Superior Streams (LSS). Pervious pavement. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Mullaney 2014* - Mullaney J, Lucke T. Practical review of pervious pavement designs. Clean - Soil, Air, Water. 2014;42(2):111-124. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Revitt 2014* - Revitt DM, Lundy L, Coulon F, Fairley M. The sources, impact and management of car park runoff pollution: A review. Journal of Environmental Management. 2014;146:552-567. Accessed on January 12, 2017
Scholz 2007* - Scholz M, Grabowiecki P. Review of permeable pavement systems. Building and Environment. 2007;42:3830-3836. Accessed on January 12, 2017
US EPA-Green infrastructure - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). What is green infrastructure? Accessed on March 17, 2017
US EPA-LID - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Urban runoff: Low impact development (LID). Accessed on March 16, 2017
US EPA-Wong 2008 - Wong E. Reducing urban heat islands: Compendium of strategies: Chapter 5 Cool pavements. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). 2008. Accessed on February 28, 2017
Winston 2016* - Winston RJ, Al-Rubaei AM, Blecken GT, Viklander M, Hunt WF. Maintenance measures for preservation and recovery of permeable pavement surface infiltration rate – The effects of street sweeping, vacuum cleaning, high pressure washing, and milling. Journal of Environmental Management. 2016;169:132-144. Accessed on January 20, 2017

Citations - Implementation

CA SB 7 - California Senate Bill No. 7 (CA SB 7). Part 2.55. Sustainable water use and demand reduction: Chapter 5: Sustainable Water Management. 2009. Accessed on January 12, 2017
DC-Green infrastructure - Washington DC, District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Green infrastructure. Accessed on January 20, 2017
Fuss & O'Neill 2013 - Fuss & O'Neill. Quinnipac River: Watershed based plan. 2013. Accessed on January 12, 2017
LaCrosse-Stormwater - City of LaCrosse Wisconsin. Stormwater utility credit policy: Board of Public Works approval date, 1/30/2012. Accessed on January 12, 2017
MAPC-Stormwater - Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Stormwater management. Accessed on January 12, 2017
MN PCA-Stormwater - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MN PCA). Stormwater management: Low impact development and green infrastructure. Accessed on January 12, 2017
MSD-Stormwater management - Muncie Sanitary District (MSD). Stormwater management: Rain gardens. Accessed on January 12, 2017
WI DNR-Permeable pavement - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR). Permeable pavement: Conservation practice standard (1008). Accessed on January 12, 2017

Page Last Updated

January 20, 2017

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