Porous paving is a technology from the 1800s that’s finally beginning to see some major use in Australia. This paving is essentially concrete, but without the fine sand and particulate matter that normally fills in the gaps to make it completely solid. The result is a smooth, paved surface that looks like gravel, and which allows water to completely drain through it to the soil below. Even better, the porous paving captures pollutants like oil and chemical runoff, making sure those things don’t make it into the soil.
The question we should be asking ourselves, though, is why this isn’t the standard paving we use everywhere?
Porous Paving Solves Serious Problems (Without A Cost Hike)
If you look at our roads and driveways, you’ll likely notice we always have gutters and drains for storm runoff. These are a necessity with traditional paving because it doesn’t allow rain to penetrate. As such, the water washes away to the side, and there has to be something to direct that flow so it doesn’t cause any damage. If we used porous paving, we wouldn’t need those extra drainage solutions, because the water would just drain through the pavement.
There’s also the problem of the contaminants that get washed off our roads and driveways.Our roads don’t have a system that catches that oil, and other materials, and stops them from getting into our water. But if we simply installed more porous paving, that’s exactly what would happen.
Porous paving is, in many ways, like a lot of green technology. We know it works, we know it’s competitive in cost, and in many instances it’s actually cheaper. But the up-front cost, or “fixing what isn’t broke,” stops many people from switching. If you admit that what you have is, in fact, broken, though, and that you need a solution that will do more than give you a flat surface to drive on, then porous paving becomes the obvious solution.