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SWM Pave is a process and a system. The system includes annual maintenance. Maintenance is a critical component of the storm water management BMP. I travel all across the country talking to different regulatory officials, civil engineers, and groups about the process of installing the SWM Pave system. The number one question that’s asked on a regular basis is: maintaining the SWM Pave system itself – What does it take? Today, we’re gonna walk you through the process of maintaining the SWM Pave storm water management system.
With SWM Pave, there’s two approaches to maintaining the system. The proactive approach is preventative. When we take that approach, we limit costs and reduce substantially the potential of any clogging on the SWM Pave system whatsoever. When we go to a restorative approach, the owner’s going to be be stuck with a larger expense to maintain that, and the potential of actually being fined or called out on not keeping good records of the system being maintained.
The maintenance of the permeable pavers starts with the initial inspection. You have to get out there and determine what you’re going to do because quite often there are varying degrees of what you might have to do.
What SWM Pave recommends from a preventative maintenance standpoint is that you visit the site after the winter season and do a visual inspection of the site. You’ll be able to see the sediment and leaf build up and grass clippings on the surface of the SWM Pave system. Most importantly tree canopy areas, low lying areas of the parking lot, and the connection points of the impervious surface area to the SWM Pave surface itself. What we also recommend they do is they implement what we call an ASTM 1781 surface infiltration test. Most storm water manuals across North America require infiltration rates of 100 inches an hour or greater. The SWM Pave system itself surface infiltration rate is 449 inches per hour. So once they do this infiltration test we’re going to be able to establish pretty quickly whether the system’s clogged to an extent lower than 100 inches per hour.
Now remember, when we have a parking lot that’s 50,000 square feet, you may only have clogging on 10% of it.
We’ve never had a permeable paver parking lot where we had to do a large scale removal. We’ve had small areas where there might have been a spill or landscape materials get out and onto the surface.
Once you’ve determined that the infiltration rate isn’t satisfactory according to your local jurisdiction’s stormwater manual, you’re gonna need to hire your facility’s maintenance manager or landscape contractor to come in and address those areas with the same tools he carries on the back of his trailers and his trucks already.
Permeable pavers have turned out to be the least maintenance heavy of anything. Even if you did have a heavy load of contaminates, it stays fairly localized and every case we’ve always been able to vac that out.
Restorative maintenance of the SWM Pave system typically derives from neglect. The system has not been maintained, it’s not been watched or inspected on an annualized basis. When we have restorative maintenance, we have larger areas of clogging. So now we go and we do that ASTM 1781 infiltration testing. That testing now reveals that we have little or no infiltration on a larger portion of the project. When we have that type of situation, we’re gonna need to start bringing the regenerative vacuum cleaners, or in a Cyclone CY5000 water vortex cleaning machine, which has a higher velocity and will be able to suck the sediments out of the joint and void of the joint void system. The system’s gonna need to be re-swept with number eight stone and re-compacted. Once that joint is filled back up to the top surface, you can perform an ASTM 1781 infiltration test and you will find that you’ve reinstated the infiltration back to 100% of its original infiltration rate from the day it was built.
Also included in the SWM Pave maintenance guideline is winter maintenance. One of our biggest questions I get asked is: Can the SWM Pave system be plowed? Well, absolutely. The Aqua-Bric Type-4 L paver is designed with a chamfer, so a steel-edged snowplow can slide across the surface of the paver very easily.
People think of pavers, they think of: snowplow. It’s better than asphalt, I’ll tell you that. The snowplow goes right over. There’s zero problems. Most of the time, by the time the snowplow gets there, it’s mostly melted anyway because it’s melting much, much faster than the surrounding pavements. So those practical aspects of it make it extremely functional, extremely owner friendly, and on top of it you have your storm water solution that is as bullet proof as any system that’s out there. For us it’s been a home run as a contractor and in several instances it’s been a home run for the developer from an economy standpoint. They actually save money, were able to get better use of their land, and the maintenance on it is really minor in the grand scheme of things. And with little bit of maintenance annually, there’s no reason that I’ve seen that it can’t last for decades.