Porous asphalt, sometimes called permeable asphalt, is a type of pavement that lets water run through it and soak into the ground below. It reduces storm runoff and helps keep roadways and parking lots free of puddles. The system has two parts: the surface material and the stone recharge bed underneath it.
Asphalt is made from a combination of asphalt cement and stone aggregate. Normally the aggregate consists of small rocks and fine grains of sand. The asphalt cement flows around the fines to create a waterproof surface. Porous asphalt is made the same way, but with a lower concentration of fines. This creates air bubbles that give the pavement a permeable structure. Water runs through this structure and is held in a specially made stone bed as it soaks into the ground. The soil filters the water naturally before it finds its way into streams, rivers or the water table.
Permeable asphalt needs no special ingredients or tools. The recharge bed is usually between 18 to 36 inches in depth. The porous surface is slightly rougher than regular asphalt, but still attractive in appearance. It is also smooth enough to meet ADA standards.
Porous asphalt offers a better way to control drainage. It reduces runoff and helps keep oil and other pollutants out of storm drains. It is a good, environmentally sound choice for roadways, parking lots and pedestrian paths.
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