The Impact of De-icing on Porous Pavement

Porous bituminous pavement is a type of paved surface that has a higher percentage of voids than typical pavement. These voids allow water to pass through the surface easily, reaching the groundwater table beneath. Porous pavement is becoming increasingly useful to land developers, as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) classifies it as a form of “Green Infrastructure,” which is now required for all major developments.

Developers who are interested in installing porous pavement should be aware of its unique maintenance requirements. In the state of New Jersey, we are susceptible to snowstorms each winter. Typical bituminous pavement is often salted prior to snowfall events to prevent ice from forming on the surface. However, as water is able to seep through porous surfaces, porous pavement is less susceptible to icing. As a matter of fact, it is critical that owners do not apply salt over porous bituminous pavement, as the salt could break apart the pavement’s binding, having detrimental effects on its ability to infiltrate water. De-icing chemicals such as magnesium chloride and potassium acetate also have similar harmful effects on porous pavement’s performance.

During a snowfall event, the NJDEP recommends that porous pavement is treated with traditional snow removal methods, such as shovels and snowblowers. Plows and loader buckets which are set too low can permanently damage porous surfaces, especially if they are not equipped with a rubber blade. Owners of porous pavement should always make sure that the pavement surface is kept clean so that it can drain freely. Sediment, refuse, and other kinds of buildup should be vacuumed periodically, as these types of debris can clog the porous surface and slow the infiltration of water. Under no circumstances shall any sealants or coatings be applied to pervious paving systems, except for those approved by the manufacturer to refresh traffic striping.

Many members of our team here at WJH Engineering such as Nick Mazza, Cecilia Marchi, and Dominick Passante are experienced with designing infiltration systems that utilize porous pavement to collect stormwater runoff. If you are looking for an engineering firm that offers a wide range of engineering expertise, contact WJH Engineering today!