Permeable Pavement Takes on Frankenstorm
PICP Parking Lot Demonstrates an Attractive Solution for Stormwater Runoff
As the Monster Storm called Hurricane Sandy slams the Eastern U.S., permeable interlocking concrete pavement—called PICP—is working overtime to reduce runoff and flooding. Millions of square feet of PICP consisting of durable concrete paving units with permeable joints is receiving rainfall rather than sending runoff to overflowing storm sewers and streams. Located in hundreds of parking lots and some low-speed roads, PICP stores runoff under the concrete pavers and allows infiltration into the soil beneath. This reduces local flooding and property damage.
From North Carolina to New England, many cities have passed ordinances over the past decade requiring reduced stormwater runoff. To meet many of these ordinances, developers switched to permeable pavement often because it was less expensive than directing runoff from roofs and impermeable pavements directly into big detention ponds. The ordinances resulted in hundreds of PICP parking lots with some sidewalks and roads built using PICP.
An example is Richmond, Virginia that has begun converting alleys to PICP in the downtown and in selected neighborhoods that store and infiltrate runoff rather than allow it into the city’s combined sanitary and storm sewer system. Another example is Montgomery County, Maryland, that helps offset homeowner expense to install PICP in driveways throughout selected neighborhoods with storm sewers working at capacity. The County figured that it was less expensive to provide some financial incentive to homeowners to make their driveways permeable than to upsize the neighborhood’s storm pipes, a costly project that only sends more water to flood some other downstream neighborhood.
Homeowners should propose to their local municipalities to pass ordinances that include PICP to reduce stormwater runoff in parking lots and low speed roadways. ICPI has developed a short video that explain the benefits of PICP:
To learn more about PICP, visit our web site.