The Benefits of Pervious Concrete
Pervious concrete has been available for almost 50 years, but is now finally becoming the concrete type of choice for a wide range of purposes across the US. The majority of concrete is impermeable to water, which means that urban areas are prone to flooding after heavy rainfall, and groundwater supplies often run short in times of high temperatures, since it has not been replenished properly throughout the year.
However, pervious concrete provides a solid, paved surface that also allows water to pass through it. It can do this because when it is being made, the fine particles have been removed, creating tiny spaces known as voids within the entire structure. This allows water to filter through the concrete and back into the ground, replenishing important supplies of groundwater. It also has the advantage of reducing the risk of flash flooding after storms and heavy rainfall, along with helping to prevent the build-up of standing water, which can be hazardous.
What effect does pervious concrete have on the environment?
Pervious concrete also acts as a filtration system, with pollutants such as oil from vehicles being removed from the water before it reaches the ground. This reduces the risk of pollutants seeping into the soil, and harming the environment or getting into supplies of drinking water, which could lead to serious health issues for large numbers of people. Use of pervious concrete leads to higher sustainability, which is becoming an increasingly important consideration during construction works.
Which areas would benefit from pervious concrete?
The use of pervious concrete would be of particular benefit in areas of relatively low traffic, as it does not have quite as much strength as regular, impermeable concrete, due to the presence of the voids that enable water to pass through. Sidewalks and other pedestrian areas would be especially suited to it; allowing improved drainage in an area, while not affecting the structural integrity of the main road surface. It may also be ideal for use in parking lots, which are often very large areas that have only slow-moving vehicles, therefore, the surface does not wear out as quickly. Standing water will also not be able to collect in lower-lying areas of the parking lot, so potential customers will not need to walk through puddles of water in order to visit the business when it is raining.
Large retail and business developments could benefit from the use of pervious concrete during their construction, as it eliminates the need for storm drainage pipes, which are expensive and time-consuming to install. Not only that, pervious concrete is also long-lasting, with an expected lifespan of over 30 years.
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