There's very little that's environmentally-friendly about the asphalt used in roads and sidewalks across the country, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating how to put it to use as a rain filtration system.
The EPA's Green Infrastructure Research Program kicked off a study last week researching how pavement materials can improve water filtration. Using a 43,000 sq. ft. section of parking lot at the agency's Edison, New Jersey location, the EPA is testing three different types of permeable pavement to see how they manage under real-world conditions, along with several rain gardens to see how vegetation can aid water filtration.
To collect water samples, the EPA has lined certain sections of the porous pavement test beds with geotextile fabric that are designed to drain accumulated runoff into a collection tank.
The problem with storm water isn't that it's inherently dirty; rather, runoff can mix with spilled automotive chemicals and debris as it moves across normally impermeable parking lots and rooftops. With porous pavement, the water can stay separate from those elements and steer clear of pollutants such as motor oil and road sediment that could make their way into the underground water supply.
Interested in more? Follow the EPA's Region 2 on Twitter.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com