Draining Downpours

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The United States is experiencing significantly more “heavy precipitation events” than it did 50 years ago and it is expected to increase by 40 percent by the next century (1). The issue is cities are not adequately prepared to deal with excess water posing harm to nature and people. One excellent solution is Porous Asphalt.

Porous asphalt is a permeable base that cleans water. Normally city rain water pours into storm drains from the street, is treated, and then sent into oceans or rivers. In the case of excess downpours, however,  treating the water must be bypassed to prevent flooding. This contaminates our local water ways and is dangerous for ecosystems and swimmers (2). This asphalt permits water to fall to its bed of rocks below, preventing litter from remaining in the water and quickly cleans it at the same time.

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Porous asphalt directs water into soil. Excess concrete and asphalt in cities prevent water from soaking into dry soil. This causes massive flooding wrecking buildings and cars in traffic. This asphalt soaks up water dispersing it to the soil below or piping it to another soil destination (3). This is especially helpful for massive parking lots that collect lots of water.

Unfortunately, this technology can be expensive and time consuming to install. Previous asphalt must be removed and much of the land below it to install the underlying stone bed (4). Then the asphalt, which is newer and more expensive than traditional asphalt, must be paved down.

With excess rainfall coming porous asphalt offers an excellent solution. This technology prevents contamination and reduces flooding problems. It will be especially beneficial to install into cities like Detroit which just had a deluge in 2014 and is “due for major renovation” (5). Even though it may cost more now it will pay off in near future.

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2 comments

  1. Samuel Johnson

    Samuel Johnson. Week 11.

  2. holewinskiben

    Ben Holewinski Week 12 Comment 3
    Using this sort of transformation of materials is one that could very well pay off in the long run. Especially when seeing rising water levels and flooding across the country, this option could even prove to be cheaper than some measures that cities in Florida and other flooding regions are taking.
    This absorbent concrete does raise several questions, concerning absorption time, holding amount, and durability. However, if these conditions were put to the best use, this could be a game changer across the globe. Being able to recycle water back into the earth is something that we struggle to do, and this solution is an easy way to fix some of this problem.
    Porous concrete could benefit and pay off in a few areas, but it does become interesting if it becomes the better option everywhere. Another problem does raise if water levels from below rise and the water has nowhere to go. This doesn’t seem too much of a problem, it just raises the fact that placement and usage of the material would have to be strategized. This concrete is very intriguing and could provide a way of clearing water that has never been used before.

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