Green Way Pavements Articles

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High Quality Application of Plastic Grid-Pavers

Installing permeable grid-pavers between a large jail facility and conservation pond was a bold decision. But that had to be done, according to the County Executives and Planners who agreed to preserve the sensitive environmental area.

The Broome County, NY, jail occupies a lovely and serine location at the foothills of Prospect Mountain, north of Binghamton, NY, which overlooks the State University of NY’s Broome College Campus. Located between theses two facilities is nested an un-manicured conservation pond.

Erosion and storm water control presents challenging conditions as frequent surges of rain water from the mountain could easily upset the facilities’ structures, parking areas, streams and exasperate the flood flow into the pond. One of the major obstacles using concrete and/or asphalt is adequate drainage. Building catchment basins where all surface water from rain, melting snow, or ice converges to a single point at a lower elevation requires careful grading. From that point, the need for culverts, catch basis, and directional piping gets costly and requires maintenance. Costs are greatly reduced when permeable pavements are installed.

The decision was made to “Go Green” and while doing so, compare permeable asphalt and plastic grid-pavers. The main factor here is that the rain permeates right through the pavement. Two basic types of permeable pavement were used on this project, and the reason was simple, “…let’s see which pavement works better and reduces long-term costs?”

Permeable asphalt was used on the upper parking lot and was installed first. Afterwards, permeable plastic grid-pavers were used on the lower level parking area, more closely situated to the pond. Though it is still too early to calculate long-term savings, we can provide facts and site engineering commentary received to date.

The asphalt area still required drains and conduits to channel any surface water. After 6 months, however, some of the permeable asphalt surfaces started to deteriorate. How well this holds up with cold weather expansion is yet to be determined.

Both parking areas got more than ample gravel sub-bases, actually any depth over 12 inches is very good. As an added environmental merit for the lower parking area, the design specked 40 inches of sub-base. This helps percolate and better purify the rainwater runoff. The design also incorporated two underground culverts to carry the excessive water into the new remodeled conservation pond. Unique to say, the culverts were positioned slightly higher from the bottom of the sub base as to not interfere with normal ground drainage, but just in case of a storm surge.

The paving construction crew and site engineers remarked how quick and simple it was to install the permeable plastic grid-pavers. Commenting that the permeable asphalt was messy and complicated. They truly favored the grid-pavers and to date, no wear or tear has been noticed.

The pond on the other hand, received a gracious and remarkable makeover. It was well manicured to reflect a natural ecosystem with wetlands, a water reservoir, and provided for a storm water overflow management system.

Green Way Pavements advocates erosion control engineers to be creative and use technologies that favor environmental sustainability.