Permeable paving: Maintenance

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The following maintenance procedures and preventative measures should be incorporated into a maintenance plan:

  • Surface Sweeping: Sweeping should occur once or twice a year with a commercial vacuum sweeping unit to mitigate sedimentSoil, sand and minerals washed from land into water, usually after rain. They pile up in reservoirs, rivers and harbors, destroying fish-nesting areas and holes of water animals and cloud the water so that needed sunlight might not reach aquatic plans. Careless farming, mining and building activities will expose sediment materials, allowing them to be washed off the land after rainfalls. accumulation and ensure continued porosity. Permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. should not be washed with high pressure water systems or compressed air units, because they will push particles deeper into the pavement.[1]
  • Inlet Structures: Drainage pipes and structures within or draining to the subsurface bedding beneath porous pavement should be cleaned out on regular intervals .[1]
  • Heavy Vehicles: Trucks and other heavy vehicles can ground dirt into the porous surface and lead to clogging. These vehicles should be prevented from tracking or spilling dirt onto the pavement. Signage and training of facilities personnel is suggested. .[1]
  • Construction and Hazardous Materials: Due to the potential for groundwater contamination, all construction or hazardous material carriers should be prohibited from entering a permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. site.[1]
  • Drainage Areas: ImperviousA hard surface area (e.g., road, parking area or rooftop) that prevents or retards the infiltration of water into the soil. areas contributing to the permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. should be regularly swept and kept clear of litter and debris.Flows from any landscaped areas should be diverted away from the pavement or at least be well stabilized with vegetation.
  • Grid Pavers: Paver or grid systems that have been planted with grass should be mowed regularly and the clippings should be removed. Water and fertilize as needed. .[1]
  • Seal Coating: Seal coats should never be applied to permeable pavements. Current and future owners and operations staff must be aware of permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. areas and the importance of not applying any sealants. Porous asphaltA mixture of mineral aggregates bound with bituminous materials, used in the construction and maintenance of paved surfaces. and pervious concrete look very similar to their imperviousA hard surface area (e.g., road, parking area or rooftop) that prevents or retards the infiltration of water into the soil. versions and could be inadvertently sealed over.
  • Potholes: For porous asphaltA mixture of mineral aggregates bound with bituminous materials, used in the construction and maintenance of paved surfaces. or pervious concrete, isolated potholes can be patched with standard patching mixes. Patching can continue until the structural integrity of the pavement has been compromised or stormwater can no longer drain to the aggregateA broad category of particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates, and available in various particulate size gradations. base. Then the surface will need to be torn up and replaced.
  • Uneven Pavers: An uneven paver surface can be repaired by pulling up the pavers, redistributing the bedding layer, and then placing the pavers back. New filler stone will need to be swept into the replaced pavers. Typically the pavers are packed very tightly, and breaking one or more pavers will be necessary to pull up a group of pavers. Keeping a set of replacement pavers after construction will be useful for making future repairs.
  • Weeds: Over time, weed growth may become a problem, particularly on surfaces with infrequent traffic. Weeds can be an aesthetic issue and may also reduce the infiltration through the pavement. Keeping the pavement surface free of organic material through regular sweeping and vacuuming can impede weeds from taking root. Pulling weeds when they are small will limit damage to the pavement and loss of filler material between pavers. Ontario has banned the use of cosmetic herbicides.


  • Winter Maintenance: SandMineral particles which are smaller than 2 mm, and which are free of appreciable quantities of clay and silt. Coarse sand usually designates sand grains with particle size between 0.2 and 0.02 mm. should not be spread on permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. as it can quickly lead to clogging. Deicers should only be used in moderation and only when needed because dissolved constituents are not removed by the pavement system. Pilot studies at the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center have found that permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. requires 75% less salt than conventional pavement over the course of a typical winter season.[2]
  • Snow Plowing: Permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. is plowed for snow removal like any other pavement. When groundwater contamination from chlorides is a concern, plowed snow piles and snow melt should not be directed to permeable paver and porous pavement systems[3]


Annual inspections of permeable pavementAn alternative practice to traditional impervious pavement, prevents the generation of runoff by allowing precipitation falling on the surface to infiltrate through the surface course into an underlying stone reservoir and, where suitable conditions exist, into the native soil. should be conducted in the spring to ensure continued infiltration performance. These inspections should check for spilling or deterioration and test to whether water is draining between storms.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Philadelphia Water Department (PWD). 2007. Philadelphia Stormwater Management Guidance Manual. Philadelphia
  2. University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center (UNHSC). 2007. 2007 Annual Report. Durham, NH.
  3. Smith, D. 2006. Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavements; Selection, Design, Construction, Maintenance. 3rd Edition. Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.Burlington, ON.