Sunday, February 13, 2011

Asphalt Parking Lots

Green Watch: Mitigating Asphalt Parking Lots

February 13, 2011 - "Asphalt" is not necessarily a two word phrase placing blame.

This contaminated runoff is one of the most serious problems that plague Buffalo and Western New York. It not only jeopardizes our natural waterways and our health, it puts increased strain and cost on the entire system and on engineers that are tasked with managing water quality and quantity.

Asphalt paved parking lots also - by virtue of non-sustainable and destructive construction practices - create lost green spaces, erosion, and compaction throughout adjoining areas, which each promote runoff.

Parking lots are an economic necessary "evil." We must have them and they must be paved for economic reasons. Permeable paving is a doable option that certainly works - but it is seldom cost effective on mid- to large-scaled projects and it requires more maintenance. Permeable systems don't offer the green spaces.

Asphalt parking lots in Buffalo, at a size of approximately 30,000 square feet that may accommodate approximately 100 cars, will generate approximately 75,000 gallons of UNTREATED and CONTAMINATED storm water runoff from each parking lot. This 30,000 square foot figure is a small parking lot.

You can use this general rule of thumb: 10,000 square feet of surface area generates approximately 25,000 gallons of untreated runoff, annually, in Buffalo and WNY.

In asphalt parking lots, the following contaminants exist and are untreated as they flow in to our combined storm sewer systems: {continued}

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