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Published: 12/12/2008

Porous concrete might make Toledo 'greener'

BY ALEX M. PARKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
McNamara McNamara
JETTA FRASER / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Porous concrete which allows water to drain through - rather than letting it run off into sewers and streams - is one way Councilman Joe McNamara says he thinks Toledo could get greener.

Mr. McNamara said he's planning to submit a resolution to council next week that will ask the Toledo Plan Commission to incorporate "green infrastructure," such as pervious concrete and a greater use of rain gardens, into Toledo's planning and zoning code.

Mr. McNamara demonstrated one aspect of the proposed change at Government Center by sprinkling gallons of water over a patch of pervious pavement.

The water dripped through the pavement, provided by Kuhlman Corp. of Maumee, into a tank below - leaving the sides of the concrete dry.

The concrete costs about the same as the more commonly used concrete, according to Tim Casey, sales manager at Kulhman.

Officials also said it would not be affected by freeze-thaw cycles.

Mr. McNamara said pervious pavement reduces water runoff, lessening the chances of a flash flood.

He also said the pavement could cut down on pollutants in rivers and streams.

It can be used in parking lots and sidewalks, along with some small roads.

By reducing the amount of runoff which goes into the city's sewer system, the use of such concrete also could reduce the city's costs, he said.

"Storm-water maintenance is critical to the environment and to the taxpayers," Mr. McNamara said.

Pollutants carried into the ground are often eliminated.

However, once they get into a stream or river, they can be much more damaging, Mr. McNamara said.

Currently, the city's zoning codes do not recognize pervious concrete except for some small purposes, Mr. McNamara said.

The resolution also recommends that the city encourage rain gardens, or green areas used to soak in water around large, impermeable surfaces, such as parking lots.

If the resolution is adopted, it would go before the plan commission for its consideration. If it approves the measure, the commission would pass a recommendation to be approved by council, Mr. McNamara said.



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