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Draft

3.2

POROUS PAVING SYSTEMS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Porous paving systems allow infiltration of storm water while providing a stable load-bearing
surface for walking and driving. These systems contain void spaces to provide infiltration of
runoff into their underlying engineered porous materials and then into native soils.
Generally, underlying engineered materials consist of clean sands or gravels separated from
native soils by a synthetic filter fabric. Underlying engineered materials detain and filter
pollutants prior to infiltration into underlying soils or discharge to a conventional storm drain
system through an underdrain system. Porous paving systems can preserve natural
drainage patterns, enhance groundwater recharge and soil moisture, and can help establish
and maintain roadside vegetation. Although a good substitute for conventional concrete and
asphalt, porous paving systems are typically not suitable for heavily trafficked applications.
There are several different types of porous paving systems, which are referred to here as
‘Porous Concrete and Asphalt’, and ‘Permeable Pavers’.

Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program
Draft Low Impact Development Handbook, August 2005

Section 3.2 - Porous Paving Systems

Page 3 - 18

Porous concrete slab with water being poured over it (below). and patios.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 . sidewalks. also been used in heavy applications such as airport runways and highways because its porosity creates a favorable driving surface in rainy weather (BASMAA.2. smooth paving surface like their impervious counterparts. Porous concrete and asphalt are ideal for light to medium duty applications such as residential access roads. Figure 3-14.19 . parking lot stalls in parking lots. bike paths. and therefore contain void spaces that allow water to pass through to a permeable subbase layer. residential driveways. maintenance walkways/trails.0 POROUS CONCRETE AND ASPHALT GENERAL DESCRIPTION Porous concrete and asphalt both make a continuous. however. Porous asphalt has. overflow parking areas. Underlying clean gravels being installed (left) and water rapidly infiltrating into porous concrete (right). August 2005 Section 3. they have reduced or no fine material (sand and finer). However. utility access.Draft 3.2 . residential street parking lanes. Demonstration project at Lake Tahoe. Porous asphalt and standard asphalt in a parking lot (left). Porous materials such as clean gravels placed below the porous concrete or asphalt detain and filter pollutants prior to infiltration into the underlying soils or discharge to an underdrain and the conventional storm drain system. Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook. Photo courtesy of Cahill Associates Photo taken from NEMO UConn Figure 3-15. stopping lanes on divided highways. 1999).

driveways and sidewalks. boards should be used to separate individual pours and to produce uniform seams between adjacent pours. August 2005 Section 3. DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS • Avoid installing in high traffic areas. infiltration rates of 0. • Overall project cost savings can be realized where porous asphalt or concrete is installed in well draining soils (e.2 .20 . • Filter fabric should be placed on the bottom and sides of the subbase reservoir. do not allow construction or heavy vehicles to traverse excavated recharge beds or areas of completed porous pavement.5 in/hr or greater). • Erosion and sediment introduction from surrounding areas must be strictly controlled during and after construction to prevent clogging of void spaces in base material and permeable surface. • Use a single size grading to provide open voids in the gravel subbase. • Slopes should be flat or very gentle (less than 5 percent). parking lots. • Not recommended for slopes over 5 percent.Draft Porous concrete and asphalt can also reduce icing hazards during winter freeze and thaw cycles as runoff will tend to infiltrate rather than freeze onto the surface of roadways. • Install porous asphalt and concrete towards the end of construction activities to minimize sediment problems. • Not applicable where the seasonal high groundwater table is less than 3 feet below the bottom of the gravel subbase. • During emplacement of porous concrete. and conventional storm drain pipes and catch basins can be reduced. • During construction.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 . Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook.g. • The surface of each pour should be finished as soon as possible as porous concrete can set up very rapidly in our local arid environment. LIMITATIONS • Typically not to be applied on streets where speeds exceed 30 mph or streets that experience high-traffic loads. • Refer to Truckee Meadows Structural Controls Design Manual fact sheet TC-62 for more detailed information.

The contractor is anxious to install another porous concrete parking lot in the Truckee Meadows and apply the lessons learned from the Lake Mansion site. • Porous concrete may experience raveling if not properly installed. erosion-prone areas. • Permeable pavements and materials should be cleaned with a vacuum-type street cleaner a minimum of twice a year (before and after the winter). August 2005 Section 3. After the first year. A porous concrete parking lot was installed at the site of the relocated Lake Mansion on Arlington and Court Streets in Reno. During emplacement of porous concrete. The contractor did not separate each pour by boards and the finished parking lot experienced raveling problems. inspect at least once a year. downslope of steep. boards should be used to separate individual pours and to produce uniform seams between adjacent pours. parking lots. The seal coat effectively produced an impervious layer over the porous concrete such that the parking lot is no longer porous. • Porous asphalt and concrete should be avoided in drainage areas with activities generate highly contaminated runoff. or when not maintained. During installation of the porous concrete. delays occurred between pours and the concrete set up quickly in the hot and dry summer conditions. MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS • The overall maintenance goal is to avoid clogging of the void spaces. Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 . areas of bare soil without landscaping. • Porous asphalt and concrete may become clogged if not protected from nearby construction activities. EXAMPLES 1. an important lesson was learned and must be considered when installing porous concrete in the Truckee Meadows.2 . • Inspect porous asphalt and concrete several times during the first few storms to insure proper infiltration and drainage. and sidewalks in winter can clog void spaces and render permeability ineffective if not removed annually. • Maintenance personnel must be instructed not to seal or pave with non-porous materials. The surface of each pour should also be finished as soon as possible as porous concrete sets up rapidly due to the lack of air moisture in the local arid environment.21 .Draft • Sand and salt applied to porous roadways. Subsequently the surface of the porous concrete was covered with a seal coat layer to stabilize the surface. • Applications with underdrain systems are typically more expensive than conventional asphalt and concrete. • Hand held pressure washers can be effective for cleaning the void spaces of small areas. However.

basmaa. Stormwater. Hun-Dorris. March/April. New Hampshire. and may have reduced infiltration where it was applied most heavily.. Infiltration rates at three randomly selected locations in the porous asphalt pavement parking lot were conducted monthly from November 2004 through April 2005.P. Each location showed fairly consistent rates over time with the exception of one location within the parking lot having a lower infiltration rate than the other two locations. http://www. 1999). Start at the Source: Design Guidance Manual for Stormwater Quality Protection. There was an area where uneven application of the sand-salt mixture did occur. The abrasion due to plowing has not compromised the integrity of the pavement and heavy sand and salt application has had no significant effect on surface infiltration rates. Truckee Meadows Structural Controls Design Manual prepared for the Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program.22 . August 2005 Section 3. and Ballestero. 1999.html Kennedy/Jenks Consultants. The oldest porous asphalt pavement surface in the United States can be found at the University of Delaware Visitors’ Center.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 .wa. 2004. (Briggs et al. the porous asphalt survived the first winter intact and in good condition.pdf ToolBase Services. R. In respect to pavement stress. 2005. J. http://www. http://www. It was built in 1973 and is still permeable and structurally sound (BASMAA.org/tertiaryT. Hydraulic and Hydrologic Performance of Porous Asphalt Pavement. In Durham. Low Impact Development: Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound.com/gov/pub_works/stormwater/management/controls/ Puget Sound Action Team. www.forester. the pavement is qualitatively monitored for signs of distress due to snowplows.asp?TrackID=&DocumentID=2160&CategoryID=38 Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook. Roseem. volume 6(2).. Tara. Advances in Porous Pavement. http://www.org Briggs..gov/Publications/LID_tech_manual05/LID_manual2005.M. J.toolbase. WA. stressing a key variable to be considered when placing the asphalt surface being that compaction directly affects the rate of infiltration of the system. 2005. 2005.F. Prepared by Tom Richman & Associates. 2005) 3. Olympia. T. Built and maintained by the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center for research and demonstration purposes.Draft 2. REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). StormCon 2005.cityofreno.P. This could be due to over-compaction after placement of the porous asphalt.net/sw_0503_toc. Permeable Pavement.2 .psat. a porous asphalt pavement parking lot was constructed in October 2004 to test cold climate applications of porous asphalt for storm water treatment. Houle.

Concrete block pavers (photo taken from NEMO UConn) Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook. Open-celled unit pavers are pre-assembled. are designed to set on sand and form an interlocking pavement surface. Open-celled unit pavers can also be made out of concrete. Figure 3-16. and walkways. driveways and sidewalks. and brick pavers (figure 3-18).23 . Plastic grid pavers (photo from ToolBase Services) Figure 3-17. Permeable pavers are modular systems with pervious openings that allow water to seep through. These systems work well in overflow parking areas.2 . Runoff permeated through is either detained in an underlying gravel bed. residential access roads. or both. August 2005 Figure 3-18. The grid systems have a solid support structure surrounding an open cell where the grass or gravel is placed.1 PERMEABLE PAVERS GENERAL DESCRIPTION Permeable pavers are an alternative to conventional pavement and can create an opportunity for infiltration of storm water runoff and groundwater recharge. utility access. Some systems have hollow rings or honeycombs with a base. flexible plastic grid networks that utilize soil and turf grass or gravel backfill to fill the blocks and create a flat surface. Concrete block pavers (figure 3-17).Porous Paving Systems Page 3 . driveways.2. others have open cells without bases. allowing for use on uneven surfaces. Modular block pavers are designed to bear heavy loads and are well suited for industrial and commercial parking lots. Types of permeable pavers include opencelled unit pavers or modular blocks made of concrete or brick with pervious openings. permeable pavers are also an alternative to conventional asphalt and concrete. For areas that are not heavily trafficked. Figure 3-16 demonstrates a type of open-celled unit paver known as a turf block paver. Brick pavers (photo taken from NEMO Nevada) Section 3.Draft 3. The plastic grids are flexible. infiltrated into the underlying soil.

24 . • During construction. August 2005 Section 3. • Permeable pavers should be the last element installed during construction or redevelopment. • Contractors should be trained and have experience with installation of the product. such as near restaurant waste disposal areas. runoff can enter the system after pre-treatment through other controls (buffer strips.2 . impermeable soil layers. do not allow construction or heavy vehicles to traverse excavated recharge beds or areas of completed porous pavement. and structural integrity of permeable paving systems. if infiltration rates and storage volumes allow. or shallow depth to bedrock may not be suitable as infiltration areas with an open graded base. • Areas with high water tables. drainage swales. gas stations and truck stops. • Runoff should not be directed from surrounding areas to the pavement surface. LIMITATIONS • Due to the irregular surface area that can occur with permeable pavers. storage. • Not recommended in areas with high grease or oil loads. • Utilization of correct design specifications is essential for adequate infiltration.) to remove sediments to prevent clogging of the system. etc. • Filter fabric should be placed on the bottom and sides of the subbase layer. porous asphalt or concrete should be considered for disabled parking spaces and walkways. • Refer to Truckee Meadows Structural Controls Design Manual fact sheet TC-62 for more detailed information. snow removal equipment may damage blocks. Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook. • Use single size grading in subbase materials to provide open voids. The plow blade should be set slightly above the surface. • May result in uneven driving surfaces and may be problematic for high heeled shoes. • If not installed correctly. • Subbase layers should be capable of bearing an appropriate load without deforming. However.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 .Draft DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS • Erosion and sediment introduction from surrounding areas must be strictly controlled during and after construction to prevent clogging of void spaces in base material and permeable surface.

The decision was also based on consideration of cost estimation. Funding for this project was obtained through grant funding from the EPA. Illinois is a 1700+ acre outdoor museum of woody plants adjacent to Meadow Lake and the East Branch of the DuPage River. • Pavers can be removed individually and replaced when utility work is needed. anticipated maintenance. granular base. MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS • Concrete pavers should not be washed to remove debris and sediment in the openings between pavers. grid segments should be replaced when three or more adjacent rings are broken or damaged. such as downslope of steep. • Top course aggregate can be removed or replaced in open-celled unit paving systems if they become clogged or contaminated. • Not recommended in areas where heavy sanding regularly occurs in the winter. A concrete paver system was utilized for the parking lot based on their durability and high strength to withstand heavy traffic loading. • Joints between block pavers may require occasional weed suppression.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 . The entire subbase for the parking lot was made up of a permeable uniformly graded.2 . • Must not be sealed with non-porous materials. grassy filter strips. biofiltration swales. EXAMPLES The Morton Arboretum in DuPage County. a concrete paver system was almost half the cost of an asphalt system at $45/sq yd when compared to $80/ sq yd when considering a total 50 year cost (totals in 2002 dollars). vegetated channels. • Modular blocks are not recommended for slopes exceeding 10 percent. it was determined that in a cold climate such as where it was being applied. erosion-prone areas. washed. With an expected lifespan of 50 years. created wetlands. and vortextype oil traps. and lifespan of the system. • In open-celled unit pavers. The parking lot utilized a concrete paving system. rather sweeping with suction should be utilized. August 2005 Section 3. which provides stormwater storage and opportunity for infiltration Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook. factoring in initial cost.25 . When a new visitor center was proposed for the facility a “green” parking lot was constructed to accommodate the anticipated increase in visitation.Draft • Not recommended in areas where high sediment loads are deposited on the surface. • Grassed open-celled unit pavers require the same maintenance as lawns. • Replace aggregate material in grid systems as needed.

uconn. The setting bed is composed of a 1½ inch lift of 3/8 inch crushed aggregate with no fines.net/sw_0305_porous. Tara. However.forester. Perforated storm sewers were utilized along the length of each biofiltration swale so that stormwater entering the storm sewer could have a chance to infiltrate back into the ground.net/sw_0503_toc. Low Impact Development: Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound.Porous Paving Systems Page 3 .C.org Gibbons. The base course is composed of 6 inches of a uniformly graded. volume 6(2). http://www..toolbase.htm Puget Sound Action Team. After a year of use the paving system is functioning properly with a 2-year study currently underway to determine the effects of this parking lot and the combination of the BMP’s utilized.basmaa. crushed stone with no fines.edu/publications/tech_papers/tech_paper_8. Jim.html Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). Start at the Source: Design Guidance Manual for Stormwater Quality Protection. Permeable Pavement.org/tertiaryT.psat. NEMO Nevada.wa. Prepared by Tom Richman & Associates. ranging from approximately 1½ to 3 inches in size. Olympia. The subgrade course is composed of an angular. http://www. Porous Asphalt Pavement with Recharge Beds. 1999. with no fines. Stormwater. 2005.pdf Hun-Dorris. www. Funding for this project was largely obtained through grant funding from the EPA. This material was also suitable to be used for the filler material in the holes created by the pavers. Stormwater. May/June 2003. http://www. Technical Paper number 8: Pavements and Surface Materials.edu/Western/SubWebs/NEMO/index. Advances in Porous Pavement. The Morton Arboretum’s “Green” Parking Lot. M. University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension. 2005.2 .asp?TrackID=&DocumentID=2160&CategoryID=38 Truckee Meadows Regional Storm Water Quality Management Program Draft Low Impact Development Handbook. and Sikich Andrew. http://www.unr.Draft into underlying soils. StormCon 2005. 1999.unce. August 2005 Section 3.pdf ToolBase Services. Patrick D. http://www. A control structure was installed at the downstream end of the system to restrict flows and allow more time for water to infiltrate into the ground. 2005) REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION Adams. 2005.nemo. which is removable in case the subbase becomes overly saturated.26 .html Kelsey. (Kelsey and Sikich. WA. 2005. March/April.gov/Publications/LID_tech_manual05/LID_manual2005. http://www.forester. crushed aggregate approximately ¾ inches in size. crushed granite was used for the filler instead because it most closely matched the paver color. 20 Years & Still Working.