Porous surfaces have been growing at a double-digit rate in the last several years as a Best Management Practice (BMP) to deal with stormwater runoff. These surfaces have proven their efficacy in diminishing both the volume of water and the contaminants that contribute to the pollution of our water bodies.
In this blog post, we will delve into the often-overlooked aspects concerning the contribution of Elgin’s street sweepers in the maintenance and restoration of porous pavement.
Effective Maintenance and Restoration
Although the two methods for street cleanliness may appear comparable, they exhibit nuanced distinctions that hold significant influence on city, urban, and suburban streets. Street Maintenance upholds the overall cleanliness, functionality, and aesthetic appeal, while Restoration involves a deep cleaning process aimed at restoring proper percolation on plugged surfaces.
Both approaches complement one another, resulting in streets that are visually attractive and offer a combination of an aesthetic sparkle with health and environmental safety.
What is Porous Pavement?
Porous pavement, or permeable pavement, is a type of pavement material designed to allow water to pass through it and infiltrate into the ground below. Unlike traditional impermeable pavements that create runoff and contribute to stormwater and flooding, porous pavement helps manage stormwater by allowing it to be absorbed into the ground, recharging groundwater, and reducing the strain on stormwater infrastructure.
Porous surfaces can be divided into two broad categories:
The first category refers to surfaces where water seeps directly through the material pore structure. This type of surface can be made of concrete, asphalt, crumbled tire rubber, and other materials.
Maintenance & Restoration
If the porous surfaces are demonstrating adequate infiltration, then only annual routine maintenance is required. Cleaning of porous surfaces can be accomplished with a Regenerative Air Sweeper or a high-power vacuum sweeper.
If maintenance is neglected, proper restoration is necessary and requires the use of a high-power vacuum sweeper.
Surfaces where the water seeps through pervious gaps between non-pervious blocks fall into the second category. These surfaces have “Interlocking Blocks”, which are generally made of concrete and comprise the gaps between the blocks that are filled with a granular material that serves to maintain the relative position of the blocks and allow water to seep through.
Maintenance & Restoration
When monitoring block areas, make sure to…
- Observe the area for standing area after a major rainstorm or event.
- Conduct a surface infiltration test during a double-ring infiltrometer.
Maintenance cleaning of block areas can be accomplished with a regenerative air sweeper or a high-power vacuum sweeper. Both types of sweepers should be operated at low power levels to remove the loose surface material without disturbing the granular filter.
If the designed infiltration is no longer occurring, surface restoration will be required. During restoration, the top layer of granular material containing the silt will have to be removed with a high-power vacuum sweeper.
Several studies have shown that either surface type will plug, to varying degrees, with silt, fine clay, cement derivatives, and decomposed plant material. Also, that on non-traffic areas the plugging is limited to the top half inch or less of the surface. To learn more about Elgin’s line of remarkable street sweepers and the wondrous effects they have on porous pavement, give us a call or schedule a demo today!