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Porous pavement is an engineered hardscape that allows water to flow through instead of running off. It is a great way for a household, a business or even a whole neighborhood to better manage storm water runoff and improve water quality.

There are several different types of porous pavement. In surfside beach, the Youpon Drive parking lot uses interlocking pavers. Even water that runs off the roadway soaks right into the parking lot, plus the lot has an aesthetic appeal to it, and people that don’t realize that it is a stormwater system.

Pervious concrete works in much the same way, but looks a little different. The concrete looks like Rice Krispy treats where the larger stones put together leave voids and holes. It is those holes that allow the runoff to seep through and get stored in the road before slowly seeping into the ground water, or soil beneath where it can eventually make it into the ocean. In a new neighborhood in Murrells Inlet, the streets eliminate the need for a storm water retention pond. The developer didn’t have to lose land to a storm water pond, which was a benefit. The stormwater storage is the road instead of a pond.

In addition to controlling and storing storm water, these types of pavement improve water quality. Engine oil and other pollutants that are picked up by storm water are filtered out by porous pavement, and the water entering streams and the ocean is much cleaner… and not as hot. Asphalt roads increase the temperature of runoff. In the summertime especially when the run off hit the asphalt it gets hot, and it gets into the pond and that hot water is not good for wildlife.

While porous pavements are better for the environment, they cannot completely replace traditional concrete and asphalt. They are best suited for low volume roadways, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. These types of porous pavements are initially more expensive than traditional concrete and asphalt, but in the long run can be a better deal. A road with porous pavement does not need a drainage system, maintenance costs are lower, plus if properly maintained, they can last longer.

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