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Alternative pavement

October 9, 2016

The hot topic lately is how to efficiently deal with stormwater runoff. There is a ton of hype for permeable, pervious, and porous alternatives to traditional pavement. At the StormWater Summit 2016 held at Lawrence Technological University October 7th there was a presentation about the harsh reality of maintenance costs regarding various storm water friendly pavements and associated solutions.

Creating areas with native plants to ease runoff issues sounds great and wonderful. After they are installed, they require maintenance. Someone has to pull the weeds which inevitably occur. Who pays to have it done, how many weeds are acceptable  ?  If rain gardens are used extensively in a large city like Warren (35 square miles) , the maintenance cost needs to be added to the city budget. Then there is the issue of mulch wood chips. Quite often the mulch pieces float away, into the grates of the stormdrains, causing another maintenance headache. I am NOT knocking the green initiatives, just presenting a side of the coin people might have easily overlooked.

Rain Garden Example.png

Creating a parking lot that lets the rain get into the ground instead of the stormdrain pipes has great appeal, but it too comes with maintenance issues, costs, budgetary concerns.

Porous Pavement Maintenance.png

There are various systems on the market to accommodate very heavy industrial equipment like semi-trucks, tanks, cranes, etc. along with anything in between, but they have pros/cons as well.  With some solid brainstorming BEFORE items are implemented, solutions to stormwater runoff can work nicely. It pays to do a deep dive first, gather info and learn from prior installation sites, then proceed with the projects.

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