FREDERICK, MD — The new stormwater management manual from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has changed the way that construction projects are designed. “This is a fundamental change in how we look at stormwater management in the state of Maryland,” stated Stu Schwartz, Ph.D., senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and one of many stormwater professionals who contributed to MDE’s revision of the stormwater manual.

The Environmental Site Design regulations in the MDE manual are new to local designers. “As I talk to project planners, nobody wants to be the first,” related Steven Tripp of Chaney Enterprises, a supplier of pervious concrete. “When you tell people that water will flow through concrete [on purpose] and last for decades, people rightfully say, ‘Show me!’”

That is just what the Maryland Ready Mix Concrete Association, Inc. (MRMCA) did on its website. MRMCA posted a database of local pervious concrete projects. The database includes completed projects with photos, maps, and details of who supplied the materials and who built the pavement. Visitors to click on the “Pervious Projects” link and see how the projects are spread out around Maryland and the District of Columbia.

“Our intention is that project planners will be able to use this as a resource and once they see that other prominent business are successfully using it. They will be more comfortable specifying the product,” explained Tom Evans, promotion director at the MRMCA.

By capturing stormwater and allowing it to seep into the ground, pervious concrete is instrumental in recharging groundwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and MDE stormwater regulations. This pavement technology creates more efficient land use by eliminating the need for expensive retention ponds and other stormwater management devices. In doing so, pervious concrete provides a concept to lower project costs.