Monday, March 16, 2009

Permeable Asphalt

If you look at any urban area, you will find that a large portion of it is covered with asphalt. All that asphalt basically acts as a seal, preventing rain water from getting filtered into groundwater. As it stands now, rain water gets turned into storm water, which ends up in our streams unfiltered. It gets zipped away into the ocean. What if I told you there was a solution to paving that was better for the environment and safer for all road users? There is and it called: Permeable Asphalt. I like what Wikipedia has to say on the topic:
Permeable paving surfaces keep the pollutants in place in the soil or other material underlying the roadway, and allow water seepage to groundwater recharge while preventing the stream erosion problems. They capture the heavy metals that fall on them, preventing them from washing downstream and accumulating inadvertently in the environment. In the void spaces, naturally occurring micro-organisms digest car oils, leaving little but carbon dioxide and water; the oil ceases to exist as a pollutant. Rainwater infiltration its built-in stormwater management, is usually less than that of an impervious pavement with a separate stormwater management facility somewhere downstream.
Also with permeable paving, the water literally gets sucked out of the road, providing a dry road when it rains. This technology is really a win/win for everyone, but from what I can tell it costs a bit more to maintain. Oh, and the news gets even better. I’ve learned that the Township of Langley is testing out permeable asphalt. Let’s hope that the tests are a success!

Example of water flow through permeable asphalt.

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