Pavers are beautiful additions to walkways, patios, driveways and parking lots. And when they are installed with a permeable fill, they are beautiful for the Lake, because the water that hits the pavers infiltrates into the ground and is slowly filtered, rather than running off, picking up contaminants from the surface, and bringing that pollution into the Lake. This all happens without us seeing it, so we aren’t aware its happening… but still it is really powerful and really great for the Lake.
The amount of salt entering the Lake has doubled in just 20 years, and stormwater is the number one source of pollutants entering the Lake. By decreasing the amount of impermeable surfaces, and increasing our use of permeable surfaces, like pavers, we can significantly reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, and consequently, the pollutants entering Lake George.
Pavers offer lots of advantages to property owners as well:
1. They are manufactured in a factory, so are not subject to time and temperature limitations during installation;
2. Freeze-thaw durability – they hold up well in winter. They can be snow plowed like asphalt. Less deicing material is needed because the snow melts and immediately drains into the surface openings, eliminating the formation of black ice. (Less use of salt… a real plus for the Lake!)
3. A wide range of colors is available (unlike conventional asphalt).
4. Light colors increase surface reflection, reducing the temperatures and heat typical to impervious pavement. Light colors also reduce the need for nighttime lighting, conserving electricity. (Keeping the water that flows into the Lake at a cooler temperature, rather than heated up by hot surfaces, is also a real plus for the Lake’s ecological health!)
5. Repair flexibility. Paver units and the aggregate underneath can be removed and re-installed if a surface is damaged or utilities need to be installed.
6. Longevity. The standard life cycle of a paver driveway is 50 years, and no sealant is ever required. Every 5 – 6 years an inch of sediment can build up in between the pavers which needs to be removed to retain the pavers’ permeability.
This summer the LGA added a permeable interlocking paver section to our driveway. Come check it out in person anytime! We’re located at 2392 State Rt. 9N in Lake George, just off Exit 21 (and in between the Mobil station and the ADK Mountain Club office.) The Sweeney Company donated labor and material, and Unilock donated interlocking pavers. The interlocking paver area in our driveway is 360 square feet in size, representing an approximately $5,800 value. Because our driveway does not get heavy usage, it is similar to a typical residential driveway, so our project needed just two base layers. Sweeney excavated 12 – 18″ and applied open graded base and bedding courses, then placed the pavers on top.
While you’re visiting, check out the other lake-friendly features at our facility – low-flush and composting toilets, a geothermal heating and cooling system, native plants in our garden, and another permeable surface in our parking lot – Flexipave permeable asphalt! (More to come on all these other great lake-friendly features in future blog posts!)
You can read more about permeable pavement on our website and also in two recent editions of the LGA newsletter: Jan/Feb 2011 and June/July 2011.