There are many opportunities where concrete products can be used to improve storm-water control. The amount of impermeable land is increasing, and as it grows so too does the amount of storm-water that flows along its surface as run-off.
How storm-water is managed has a tremendous effect on pollution levels in streams, rivers and lakes as it contains sediment that strips nutrients from the land, and pollutants such as pesticides from agricultural land, bacteria from livestock wastes, and fuels and oils from vehicles. Excessive storm-water also reduces groundwater recharge and therefore diminishes aquifer supplies.*
The use of pervious (also referred to as permeable) concrete and pervious concrete pavers can play an important role in an overarching management strategy to mitigate the environmental impacts of storm-water. This role is based on their ability to allow rainwater to drain through the paved surface in a controlled way into the ground before being released into sewers or waterways. Their applications can be as diverse as drives, paths, general landscaping or other hard surface requirements.
Low impact design is an approach for site development that protects and incorporates natural site features into erosion and sediment control and storm-water management plans. This new approach contrasts with the conventional approach of discharging storm-water directly to large scale piped systems. These systems mimic natural drainage regimes and improve visual and amenity forms.
Whether of the conventional type or the turf block type, pervious concrete is a simple and effective means of reducing the amount of storm-water. Its use may reduce the necessity for other more expensive storm-water reduction measures, thus contributing towards sustainability, both environmentally and economically.
*Environmental Building News. (1994). Stormwater management – environmentally sound approaches. 3(5). 1-18.