Q: We have a project which is over budget and has limited space. Is it possible to eliminate catch basins and retention ponds if we use a Permeable Articulating Concrete Block (P-ACB) paving surface?
-Stormwater Alternatives are a Must-have
Dear SAM: Depending on the soil type and specific site conditions, it is possible to eliminate traditional storm water infrastructure, such as catch basins and retention ponds, by using a high performance permeable articulating concrete block (P-ACB) paving surface. These systems allow for a more natural, vertical infiltration path, recharging local groundwater, and reduce pollutants by filtering out suspended sediments. The specialized shape allows for the paving units to have open joints which don’t need to be filled with sand. This allows for a much higher infiltration rate compared to traditional permeable pavers and pervious concrete pavements. The open joints also reduce the probability of being filled or obstructed over time. If the joints do become clogged, maintenance is performed by using a specialized vacuum. If a significant amount of sediment accumulates in the aggregate bedding, the units can be easily removed, allowing the subgrade to be cleaned and re-installed.
Another advantage of these systems is the larger unit size, which allows for heavier loads, making them perfect for parking lots and driveways. The infiltration rate is so high for these systems, that walkways, and/or a parking lot (or even just a percentage of the parking lot) with a P-ACB system can handle the runoff (in most cases) from the entire site, eliminating the need for catch basins and underground structures. This could save the owner of the property a considerable amount of money and space.
Heidi Jandris grew up immersed in all things concrete block. As a kid she helped her dad build block walls and as an adult worked by his side as a welder. She received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute and a Masters of Sustainable Building Systems degree from Northeastern University’s College of Engineering. She is part of the 3rd generation of her family’s business. She provides technical services to the design community while researching and implementing ways to improve the efficiency and lower the environmental impacts of their products.