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New stormwater regulations include permeable pavers

March 30, 2013

For years, the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) has set firm guidelines on how storm runoff is to be handled.

Now, those guidelines have been converted into regulations and the regulations are beginning to take effect.

The word from the civil engineering and landscape architecture community is that there are a number of new and innovative ideas about the best, and most environmentally sound, ways to handle stormwater discharge.

Greening Virginia's Capitol project, Richmond.

Greening Virginia’s Capitol project, Richmond.

The March issue of NJASLA Today, a newsletter from the New Jersey chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, reports the recent release of a massive database of 479 case studies that describe the successful application of “green infrastructure” techniques that collect and process rainwater naturally before it picks up pollutants and deposits them in the nearest stream.

The database shows practices that effectively prevent pollution and bring nature back into the urban environment in projects from 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Two of the case studies center on installations that used StormPave pavers from Pine Hall Brick.

Gotts Court, the parking lot for the Annapolis & The Chesapeake Bay Visitor’s Center, in Annapolis Maryland, and the Greening Virginia’s Capitol project in Richmond, Va.

The ASLA points out that the federal EPA estimates that more than 10 trillion gallons of untreated urban and suburban stormwater runoff makes its way into surface waters each year, making it one of the most pressing environmental challenges that cities and suburbs face.

One solution, as both the case studies and actual experience has shown, is a permeable paving system, which many federal, state and local regulators have described as a “best management practice” to both control stormwater and aid in pollutant removal.

In actual installations, StormPave pavers have been specified in projects not only for those reasons, but because the system is relatively compact (and therefore frees up land to be used for other purposes) and both durable and economical.

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