What the Permeable Pavements Provision to the THUD Appropriations Bill Means to Sustainable Development

Over the summer, the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to include a "permeable pavement provision in the Committee Report" that would accompany the Senate's version of the "THUD" Appropriations Bill.

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI), drafted and offered the language to the Senate for inclusion in the Bill. Many feel that this was a bold move by ICPI who had recently experienced a big win with inclusion of permeable pavement language in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, MAP-21, which was signed into law in January 2012.

EP Henry is ready to take the charge with the potential of this legislation, working with local transportation departments towards adoption of more sustainable development and green infrastructure applications.

"This is a big step in getting permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP) used by our area departments of transportation. (When we do demonstrations of our permeable pavers for similar groups) there is always a gasp from the crowd when gallons of water from buckets or from fire trucks pour water across the surface of permeable pavement and the water disappears, "says Joe Fields, Director of EP Henry's Contractor Services.

"Getting the Federal and State governments involved  (by including permeable pavement language in MAP 21 legislation) and having them see for their own eyes how permeable pavement systems behave helps them to understand the many benefits permeable products offer.  They are not just for decoration, they are functional and should be an integral factor in developing the country's -transportation infrastructure", Fields continues.

There has been extensive testing done on Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement (PICP)_in the last few years. Its superiority over impervious surfaces, and even other pervious products like porous asphalt and permeable concrete, is clear. See this video of Congressman LoBiondo , a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, attending a permeable pavement demonstration conducted by EP Henry last Fall.  (do we need 2 hyperlinks to same video, ok with me just checking)

"Getting government agencies to test permeable products is a giant step forward.  Having a demonstration in front of these officials and letting them see for themselves how permeable pavers function in high-water conditions is crucial to our mission to increase the usage of our permeable pavers, "concludes Fields.

While the inclusion of ICPI's proposed language into the "THUD" Appropriations bill for 2014 is a great step forward to sustainable development using PICP, it will only be effective when put into practice by our cities, towns and boroughs.

For the benefit of our communities, action needs to be taken by local transportation departments to implement permeable pavement in place of impervious surfaces where fiscally possible. The long-term costs of maintenance and replacement of impervious roads, sidewalks, parking lots and driveways easily justifies an investment in permeable pavers.

In light of the fact that permeable pavers are not only attractive plus a stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) for mitigating stormwater runoff, but they also are shown to filter out pollutants in the water before they percolate into the subsoil,  the argument for "business as usual" when it comes to infrastructure becomes moot.

What is your local department of transportation considering for your community's 2014 infrastructure strategy?