A Pervious Approach to Progress
By Debra McNamara, Xeripave
Students at California’s Fair Oaks Middle School assisted with the installation of pervious pavers while learning about the environmental benefits of preventing stormwater runoff. The pavers were installed along garden beds and in a seating area at the school for the ADA compliant skid and slip resistant texture.
Hardscapers that used to add impervious infrastructure and conventional surfacing to paving projects are transitioning to greener methods that absorb and filter stormwater runoff
This practical ‘greening’ initiative has stretched across the nation, starting in classrooms and reaching into urban and rural America.
Sixth grade students demonstrated to their Fair Oaks classmates how pervious pavers absorb and process stormwater, keeping pollutants, sediment and urban clutter out of waterways.
Back to the Classroom
California's Fair Oaks Middle School invited Xeripave representative TC Twitchell to speak to an Independent Living Skills Class on methods to reduce pollution derived from stormwater runoff.
Incorporating high-infiltration pavers in raised planting beds for trees can encourage aeration and deep root watering. This installation used 12” x 12” Montana pavers (Xeripave), a polymer-coated natural stone designed for high permeability.
''It is really about providing the children with a safe, stable courtyard to enjoy learning about the environment,'' Twitchell said. ''This allows them to share in this great experience.''
The students planned and assisted in the installation of garden beds and demonstration projects, including the addition of ADA slip and skid resistant pervious pavers in a seating area around a school bench. Sixth grade students helped to educate fellow classmates on preventing stormwater runoff by exhibiting pervious pavers in their classroom and school courtyard.
Sublette County, Wyo., added pervious pavers to pathways, trench drains and beneath signage outside county buildings. Directing runoff to strategically placed pervious paver strips can be a cost-effective, low impact stormwater management tool for areas surfaced with impervious materials like standard concrete or asphalt.
''We have a sustainable courtyard, and wanted to be able to show examples of environmentally friendly solutions,' said Naomi Harper, Science Curriculum and Technology Educator at Fair Oaks. ''The pervious pavers are a standout feature.'' The courtyard includes raised planting beds, rain harvesting barrels, benches and a water quality demonstration area.
Schools aren’t the only ones educating the public on environmental concerns; municipalities nationwide are protecting local resources by installing low impact ecological solutions.
Maintenance Supervisor Wendie Butler of Sublette County, Wyo., decided the stormwater management and runoff filtration benefits of pervious pavers would be a good fit for the county's needs, and selected Xeripave® SP Pavers for a variety of projects.
The SP Paver has an infiltration rate exceeding one gallon per second per square foot; enough to successfully manage runoff while only covering 12 to 18 percent of a project's total surface area. When impervious surfaces like standard concrete or asphalt cover most of a project area, stormwater can be directed from the impervious surfaces to the pervious pavers, filtering the water into the soil below and providing a cost effective stormwater management solution.
Sublette County's first pervious addition was two eight-foot strips of pavers for drainage under a gas meter, where the hardscaped area was originally composed of asphalt
and cement. Butler was impressed by the pavers' ease of installation and maintenance, and moved on to a larger, higher-profile project.
The county was having difficulty maintaining an area hardscaped with river rock at the circuit court building. A rock sealant was added, but brought high maintenance fees due to cleaning difficulties. Looking for an alternative approach, Butler replaced the river rock with SP Pavers. Maintenance costs dropped, and the pavers provided the natural look county officials were searching for.