4.6.7 Maintenance

Maintenance is an essential element for the successful, long-term application of permeable pavement. Objectives of a comprehensive maintenance program for permeable pavement should include:
  • Clear, enforceable guidelines for maintenance on private and public right-of-way.
  • Education materials describing the materials, function, and proper maintenance of permeable pavements on private property.
  • Mechanisms to supply new homeowners with educational materials.
  • Effective sediment and erosion control.
  • Location of facilities, timing of, and equipment for, maintenance activities.
  • Methods for testing pavement infiltration rates over time.
  • Periodic evaluation of maintenance programs and adaptive management to improve effectiveness of maintenance procedures.

The following provides maintenance recommendations applicable to all permeable paving surfaces and specific permeable pavement systems. See Appendix G: Maintenance for additional maintenance guidelines.

Maintenance recommendations for all facilities
  • Erosion and introduction of sediment from surrounding land uses should be strictly controlled after construction by amending exposed soil with compost and mulch, planting exposed areas as soon as possible, and armoring outfall areas.
  • Surrounding landscaped areas should be inspected regularly and possible sediment sources controlled immediately.
  • Clean permeable pavement surfaces to maintain infiltration capacity at least once or twice annually following recommendations below.
  • Utility cuts should be backfilled with the same aggregate base used under the permeable paving to allow continued conveyance of stormwater through the base, and to prevent migration of fines from the standard base aggregate to the more open graded permeable base material (Diniz, 1980).
  • Ice buildup on permeable pavement is reduced and the surface becomes free and clear more rapidly compared to conventional pavement.
  • Deicing and sand application is not recommended. The permeable pavement installation should be assessed during winter months and the winter traction program developed from those observations. Vacuum and sweeping frequency will likely be required more often if sand is applied.

Maintenance recommendations for specific permeable paving surfaces
Porous asphalt and pervious concrete
  • Clean surfaces using suction, sweeping with suction or high-pressure wash, and suction (sweeping alone is minimally effective). Hand held pressure washers are effective for cleaning void spaces and appropriate for smaller areas such as sidewalks.
  • Small utility cuts can be repaired with conventional asphalt or concrete if small batches of permeable material are not available or are too expensive.

Permeable pavers
  • ICPI recommends cleaning if the measured infiltration rate per ASTM C1701/C1701M-09 falls below 10 inches per hour (Smith, 2011).
  • Use sweeping with suction when surface and debris are dry 1 to 2 times annually (see next bullet for exception). Apply vacuum to a paver test section and adjust settings to remove all visible sediment without excess uptake of aggregate from paver openings or joints. If necessary, replace No. 8, 89 or 9 stone to specified depth within the paver openings. Washing or power washing should not be used to remove debris and sediment in the openings between the pavers (Smith, 2000).
  • For badly clogged installations, wet the surface and vacuumed aggregate to a depth that removes all visible fine sediment and replace with clean aggregate.
  • If necessary, use No. 8, 89 or 9 stone for winter traction rather than sand (sand will accelerate clogging).
  • Pavers can be removed individually and replaced when utility work is complete.
  • Replace broken pavers as necessary to prevent structural instability in the surface.
  • The structure of the top edge of the paver blocks reduces chipping from snowplows. For additional protection, skids on the corner of plow blades are recommended.
  • For a model maintenance agreement see Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavements (Smith, 2011).

Plastic or concrete grid systems

  • Remove and replace top course aggregate if clogged with sediment or contaminated (vacuum trucks for stormwater collection basins can be used to remove aggregate).
  • Remove and replace grid segments where 3 or more adjacent rings are broken or damaged.
  • Replenish aggregate material in grid as needed.
  • Snowplows should use skids to elevate blades slightly above the gravel surface to prevent loss of top course aggregate and damage to plastic grid.
  • For grass installations, use normal turf maintenance procedures except do not aerate. Use very slow release fertilizers if needed.


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