Innovations for Managing Stormwater Runoff
By Reed Hellman, Staff Writer
December 5, 2011
Posted in: Green Solutions
Record rainfall during this past spring and summer has served to point out the urgent need for managing stormwater runoff to improve water quality. The two interrelated issues are part of Smart, Green & Growing, an initiative introduced by Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2008 to foster a smarter, greener, more sustainable future for Maryland.
“We’ve got to have clean water,” stated Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers at the recent Clean Water Innovations Trade Show. “It really is the foundation of our economic health.
“The Chesapeake Bay is the geographic and economic center of our state. Our public health and economic health depend on clean water — it’s absolutely critical to our future,” he said.
Summers went on to say that most of the state’s urban areas were not designed with stormwater control plans and that restoring the Chesapeake Bay also protects groundwater and drinking water.
Businesses, together with local governments, developers and other stakeholders, are working to find cost-effective and efficient ways to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and improve water quality. That push to enhance regional water quality has led to the development of a range of techniques, products and technologies.
Traditional impermeable pavements can create destructive, often toxic runoff. PaveDrain, a permeable articulating mat of concrete blocks marketed by Ernest Maier Inc., a Bladensburg masonry block manufacturer, creates an aesthetic and durable pavement integrated with a stone reservoir underneath that temporarily stores surface stormwater runoff and allows it to percolate into the subsoil. Gaps between the blocks channel the runoff and the block’s arched shape creates a reservoir for increased storage during heavy runoff events.
The system promotes a more natural, vertical infiltration path, recharges local groundwater, reduces first flush pollutants and filters out suspended sediments, according to the company.
Flexible Mats Provide Life-Cycle Savings
PaveDrain’s durability and savings in life-cycle stormwater management expenses can make it a very cost-effective alternative to traditional pavements. The flexible mats can be pre-assembled in a variety of configurations or customized for specific applications. Installation requires only conventional construction equipment.