StormPave™: Beautiful, durable and sustainable, all while following the rules for runoff

Water permeable Full Range Rumbled StormPave pavers are often used to fulfill regulatory requirements of storm drainage in commercial applications. Increasingly, as regulations are being tightened, they are being used in residential areas. Here, they provide an aesthetically pleasing driveway and parking pad, while addressing persistent drainage issues and fulfilling local regulations for residential runoff.
Pine Hall Brick Company’s English Edge pavers have long been known for their beauty, durability, and sustainability, while their identical cousins, the StormPave™ line of water permeable pavers, have gained wide acceptance on the commercial side for their ability to direct stormwater runoff.

StormPave has been used on college campuses, like Flagler CollegeFurman University, and Wake Forest University. It’s found in places like riverfront parks in Cleveland, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, a visitor’s center in Annapolis, Maryland, and even a city street in Ohio.

In many of these installations, designers specified StormPave because the permeable pavers were in compliance with stormwater regulations. In some uses, especially in older cities in which stormwater and septic sewer is mixed, permeable pavers help reduce the volume going to sewage treatment plants;  in others, use of permeable pavers help cut down on pollutants going into waterways.

The rules require a professionally prepared site plan and stormwater management plan; treatment and control of one inch of rainfall runoff; and no increase in peak flow after a 1-year, 24-hour storm.

It’s time to bring water permeable home

Nowadays, residential developments, especially those that are infill development, are increasingly requiring stormwater treatment.

In Orange County, North Carolina, home of the towns of Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, construction that adds impervious surface or “built upon area” – whether new construction or in some cases, an addition to an existing development –  require stormwater management.

Because the regulations require treatment on pieces of property as small as 12,000 square feet, that means many residential properties must arrange for stormwater to be treated on-site.

In this project, which is within a historic district in Hillsborough. The homeowners, who had recently retired to the area from Chicago, were familiar with water permeable Pine Hall Brick products and wanted them for their new home.

It turns out that the pavers were a good fit for Hillsborough.

Several years ago, changes were made in the local stormwater ordinance to meet state-mandated rules for new development, because of pollution in Falls Lake and Jordan Lake that added high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.

The rules require a professionally prepared site plan and stormwater management plan; treatment and control of one inch of rainfall runoff; and no increase in peak flow after a 1-year, 24-hour storm.

A residential installation

Quality Landscapes NC, installed the job. Owner JB Brown said that using StormPave worked well on this particular job because there were already drainage problems that needed to be addressed. In some spots, open concrete pavers that had been seeded with grass were in place but failed badly. In others, stormwater went down an extreme slope on the driveway.

“StormPave made it easier to get the water away and off the property,” said Brown. “It was much more efficient using StormPave instead of allowing the water to go the length of the driveway and run off the bottom. This way, it drains out and into the backside of the property. We created a spillway level spreader with natural stone to slow it down and let it dissipate out.”

StormPave™ pavers have spacer nibs along the sides. That creates a gap, through which rainwater disperses into the ground below. A best practices installation requires a bed of aggregate underneath. The rainwater is naturally filtered through the aggregate. Below ground, it is collected for dispersal, sometimes for irrigation, or is allowed to gradually seep into the groundwater.
Brown said that the stormwater requirements in the area have prompted many design changes for landscape designers. Some are specifying expensive ponds to handle the runoff, or making hard-surface driveways smaller by putting in two strips for car tires or a narrower driveway barely the width of a car.

Brown pointed out that he specializes in drainage and runoff, so figuring out how best to treat it is in his wheelhouse. Where drainage is complicated further by a slope, specifying StormPave makes sense.

The homeowners have been visited by other property owners, who wanted to see the StormPave for themselves. Two projects are reportedly in progress in Chapel Hill and two more in Hillsborough by property owners who are specifying StormPave for how it looks, how it works and what it means  to the environment.

“We have seen them in Chicago and we heard about water runoff,” said one of the property owners, who asked to remain anonymous.  “On our property, we have runoff problems, which is another reason for choosing it. There were multiple reasons to do this. It’s sustainable and it’s ecologically sound. We’re going to spend a lot of money and go to a lot of trouble so you might as well do the right thing. I think you are going to see more and more residential use.”