Porous, Pervious, and Permeable Pavers

A garden patio or driveway often has a solid, impervious surface with tightly set pavers or an asphalt covering. When it rains, the water that flows off these surfaces can pick up pollutants such as lawn fertilizer and vehicle fluids along the way. This polluted water makes its way down storm drains and into our streams and rivers. It can then kill beneficial organisms and spur the growth of algae. By capturing rainwater, porous, pervious, and permeable pavers can help keep our rivers clean and healthy by directing the water into the soil.

Porous pavers generally are a grid system filled with dirt, sand, or gravel with grass growing in between. The cellular grid also reduces soil compaction, improving absorption.

Pervious pavers allow storm water to percolate through the surface rather than running off into surrounding areas or storm drains. As water runs through, the pavers filter urban pollutants. Like grass, pervious pavers let the ground below breathe. These pavers also allow tree roots and their supporting microbes to interact.

Permeable pavers are installed with layers of varying-sized stone or aggregate underneath that filter and direct storm water to underground aquifers. The pavers are separated by joints filled with crushed stone so that water can pass around the paver and into the soil below.

Belgard permeable pavers mimic the way natural land absorbs water. With permeable concrete pavers, any rain that falls on a patio, walkway or driveway seeps back into the ground, reducing the burden on storm drains. A permeable paver system can even be designed to harvest and recycle rainwater.

Aqua Roc™ pavers are environmentally and economically sound for their reduction in water run-off and long-lasting durability. These pavers are made of a porous concrete and formed into bricks separated by joints. The spaces between the pavers allow rainwater to enter the earth and benefit the soil. Another type is Turfstone, a permeable concrete grid that allows grass to grow up in between. It can be used on driveways and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to heat-producing concrete or asphalt surfaces.

The Gulf of Mexico has a dead zone created by runoffs from farms and cities along the Mississippi River. A large area becomes uninhabitable and many fish and marine life die. In 2019, it was approximately 6,952 square miles in size.


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