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The New Look of Storm Water Management

By Peter Blundell, president of Xeripave, LLC

Oregon City, Ore. officials recently implemented a comprehensive storm water management plan. John Burrell, project manager/erosion control officer for the city, decided to use pervious pavers as part of the plan as seen at the city’s remodeled Amtrak Train Station.
Photos: Xeripave, LLC
Rain bird

Xeriscape has been defined as: “a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques.” Xeripave® pervious paver is a water-conserving device that is used to allow rain water (storm water) to infiltrate through the surface into the soil below.

The pavers fall into the same classification as porous concrete or pervious asphalt. However upon first seeing a paver, most people think of it as a Rice Krispy Treat except you wouldn’t want to bite into one.


According to company officials, the cost savings of using pervious pavers as a tree surround could be 50 percent or greater over a metal grate. The pavers are already a pre-approved product for tree surrounds in Portland, Ore., including these grates installed near Adventist Hospital.

They are made with natural aggregates bonded together with a clear high-strength polymer. The end result is a paver that looks like it was made with polished stone that is highly pervious. The paver matrix is so pervious that it has a flow through rate of over one gallon/second/square foot or over 3,600 gallons per hour per square foot.

The Vancouver, Wash.-based company developed these pervious pavers. The managing partners realized a need for a highly pervious paver after reviewing the attributes of porous concrete/pervious asphalt along with other products that had certain functional and aesthetic limitations.


One of the unanticipated applications for the pavers is in dog parks. The City of Rancho Cucamonga used the pavers in the watering area of a dog park they constructed over a year ago.

One of the very first applications for the pavers was a courtyard at the Adventist Hospital in Portland, Ore. The owner and architect wanted to utilize company colors in the design of the courtyard. Red and light gray pavers were utilized in a design that was both aesthetic and functional. The pavers performed so well that one of the contractors commented how dry the courtyard was during a major rain event when the surrounding streets and grounds were flooded.

Another application well suited for the pavers is tree surrounds. Traditionally, tree surrounds would be a metal grate fitted in a sidewalk opening. The new focus is to use the pavers to form the tree surround as well as being part of the surrounding sidewalk. This approach allows the tree roots access to more air, water and nutrients, reducing the surface travel of roots and potential buckling of the surrounding area.


Thompson Construction Company installed 16x16-inch Northwest pavers intermixed with standard concrete paver bricks at the entrance of Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government at the new North Houma Library in Gray, La. Pervious pavers proved to be a good drainage option in rainy Louisiana

These pavers can be used for a variety of applications. As Rick Ianello, a managing partner with the company, points out, “we have not even begun to realize all the applications for these pavers. When you first show it to people, their minds start to work and before you know it, a new application has been created!”

One of the unanticipated applications for the pavers is in dog parks. The city of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. used the pavers in the watering area of a dog park they constructed more than a year ago. Tim Faulkner, public works director for the city, liked the fact that the pavers would keep the area from getting muddy and were easy to clean and maintain. They are already constructing a second dog park utilizing the pavers. Interestingly, the pavers have also been used with great success for indoor kennels.


The applications of pervious pavers include strip drains as shown here at Thatcher School in Ojai, Calif. The sidewalk was poured with a French drain along the edge, and 12x12-inch Montana pavers were installed as the cover to the drain.

The pavers can be used in partial to full surface coverage. Company technical salesperson Ron Putz said that in many cases 12 to 18 percent of the paved surface needs to be pervious when using these pavers because of its high hydraulic conductivity. With a proper subsurface utilizing the right type of aggregates and compaction, a reservoir can be built to collect the surface water runoff through the pavers. Then depending on the native soil, the water could be perked back into the ground or piped off into another area. The benefits of the 12 to 18 percent coverage are that there is less pervious area to maintain, pavers that are easy to clean and lower costs, both initially and long-term.

When asked about vehicle traffic on the pavers, Putz pointed out that light vehicle traffic is acceptable, but the subsurface preparation is key for good support of the pavers. Putz also mentioned that in-house tire abrasion tests were performed that showed these pavers, utilizing a rounded rock, resisted abrasional forces and stood up without issue in the tests. Pavers can also be made up to 4-inches thick for heavier traffic areas.

Another benefit of using the pavers in this application is that the gross contaminants (garbage, leaves etc) are prevented from getting down into the recessed area of the drain and eventually plugging it up. The contaminants are kept on the surface and the pavers are easy to clean (vacuum or pressure wash).


Wet aggregate tends to look better then dry aggregate, therefore using a clear polymer gives the rock a wet look while binding it together. These pavers are 2-inches thick, 12x12-inches or 16x16-inches in size and come in five standard colors.


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November 18, 2019, 11:15 am PDT

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