Businesses with large surface parking areas are increasingly needing to focus on stormwater runoff management, particularly as rules are toughening regarding how such water is being collected, writes the BizTimes of Milwaukee. New porous pavement and pervious concrete options are beginning to solve the problem for some companies.
Retail centers, for example, are moving to porous asphalt for parking lots, a technology that allows water to flow through the asphalt into a collection area below, which eventually replenishes the groundwater, according to Wolf Paving Co. Porous asphalt costs more up front, but can lead to long-term savings – developers are charged by some local governments when stormwater runoff significantly increases the amount of water in storm sewer systems. Dollars are also saved because retention ponds don’t need to be built.
Another option is a pervious precast concrete, which also allows rainwater to flow through it to the groundwater below, according to Spancrete, a company that developed a pervious product called RePlenish.
Commercial property owners that are seeing increased stormwater fees are also using various rainwater harvesting systems for water conservation purposes. Harvesting can also reduce stormwater runoff and fees, and helps solve potable, non-potable, and energy challenges.
Rainwater harvesting is an opportunity to collect water from roofs and reuse it, keeping it onsite, which eliminates a huge portion of stormwater runoff, according to David Crawford, president of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA). Crawford says the EPA is pushing for more rainwater catchment. Proponents of rainwater harvesting point out that 70% to 80% of water use is non-potable, so it makes no sense to spend money on energy to clean up water and to pump water out and back from centralized municipalities.
Ignoring the problem of stormwater runoff can lead to significant trouble with the EPA, as a Tacoma, WA, company, Manke Lumber, has learned. The company faces allegations of sending polluted wastewater into local waterways at a number of its facilities. At its Shelton location, inadequate stormwater treatment systems led to copper discharge being dumped into Oakland Bay, with Manke being ordered to pay nearly $65,000 for waterway restoration, writes Tacoma’s News Tribune.