What is Stormwater and Why Does it Matter?

Pouring off our umbrellas or splashing under our feet, rain is a part of life, and it affects us all in one way or another. However, the effect of stormwater doesn’t stop when the sun comes out. As extreme weather events become more common, flooding and stormwater pollution are pressing issues for communities–luckily, porous paving offers a way for roads and pavement to double as stormwater drainage systems.

Stormwater Runoff is More Than Just Rainfall

If you’ve ever been caught in the rain, you’ve probably seen rivulets of water washing down the street. This is stormwater runoff, the excess water produced by heavy rainfall or melted snow that isn’t absorbed by the ground. It ultimately has to go somewhere, and it usually flows into local drainage systems. The problem is what happens on the way. 

In the wild, the ground acts as a filtration system and slowly integrates stormwater back into the ecosystem, removing many pollutants as it does. In urbanized areas, however, stormwater can pick up many unwanted passengers on its journey to creeks, rivers and streams: oil, trash, debris, and pesticides are only some of the potential toxins that can ultimately end up in the water supply and affect wildlife and communities.

Both pollution from residential and industrial areas can affect the quality of the water flowing into drainage systems, as everything from factory runoff to lawn fertilizer can be carried away by stormwater. Some small-scale solutions involve temporarily detaining the water to slow it down; rain gardens, for example, act as mini-filtration devices on properties and in some public spaces, collecting rain from rooftops and parking lots and allowing the soil to filter it before it continues its cycle or becomes groundwater.

It’s All Connected

But how can this principle apply on a larger scale to help prevent stormwater pollution? We can’t simply stop paving the paths that connect our lives–the question is how we pave them. 

Whereas traditional paving like asphalt allows stormwater to flow unchecked, porous paving offers a built-in solution to the issue of stormwater runoff, allowing us to have both paved surfaces and stormwater drainage systems that allow stormwater to seep back into the ground where it belongs. Porous paving is long-term infrastructure that helps preserve the environment’s natural cycles while allowing communities to continue growing and thriving. 

The impact of stormwater goes far beyond some rain on a parking lot; it’s a serious issue that affects us all, now and down the road. Luckily, at Ecoraster, we’re also thinking with the future in mind. The tiles in Ecoraster’s grid system are made of 100% recycled material and come with a 20-year warranty, so communities can have peace of mind knowing that they’ve taken a step towards building a more sustainable future.

Have questions? Check out some case studies to see how Ecoraster can be part of a stormwater management system, or contact us for more details!

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