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Porous pavement could mitigate flooding and reduce water pollution

Devastating flooding has stretched from Germany to China to Nigeria this summer, and unfortunately, urban design exacerbates this flooding in highly populated areas as concrete and asphalt fail to absorb water as unpaved environments do. Adding more green space to urban areas is one solution to this issue, but startup AquiPor thinks it has come up with another: porous pavement.

The company is now testing out different versions of their “permeable pavement.” Other companies have suggested similar designs but struggled with the issue of dirt and debris filling up the pores. AquiPor believes it has solved this challenge with the use of submicron-size pores, which allow water to flow through, but keeps all other debris on the surface.

On top of alleviating flooding risk, the material also keeps pollutants like dissolved metals on the surface, preventing these substances from making their way into the groundwater supply. In drought-prone cities like Los Angeles, the material could be used to capture rainfall more effectively, rather than just sending it to the ocean in storm drains.

The company is currently testing its prototype on private land but plans to take it public with initial implementation in ​​parking lots, plazas, and sidewalks. The company is confident that transitioning to their material would be more affordable for cities than updating stormwater systems. Hopefully, if all goes well, we will start seeing AquiPor’s innovative pavement in city streets in the near future.

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