Richmond Permeable Alleys for Site and Water Quality Improvement


  • Travis Crissman, Chris Tabor - Hazen and Sawyer

The City of Richmond, VA, is underway with a variety of water quality improvement efforts to comply with MS4 permit requirements and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. One such initiative is incorporating green infrastructure / low impact development designs into infrastructure improvement projects. Specifically, Hazen and Sawyer has worked with the City in multiple locations to incorporate permeable pavement into sidewalk and alley paving efforts.

Within two residential neighborhoods in North Richmond, permeable pavement was designed to replace existing gravel alleys. These permeable alleys utilized precast permeable concrete and permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP). Design considerations included the incorporation of standard concrete driving paths for vehicular traffic, subsurface check dams to maximize infiltration, and geotextile wrapped filter strips to reduce surface maintenance. Additionally, pollutant load analyses established the contribution of these efforts to pollutant load reduction requirements. Design and assessment efforts have provided insight into the use and benefit of this strategy for similar sites distributed throughout the City. Similarly, Hazen has designed a permeable sidewalk installation with the City of Richmond that has provided insight into the incorporation of permeable pavement into new and replacement sidewalks.

In total, permeable alleys and sidewalks within Richmond are expected to promote infiltration, groundwater recharge, treatment of stormwater pollutants, and reduce runoff volumes and peak flowrates during rain events. As MS4 efforts progress, permeable pavement designs such as those discussed herein can be valuable tools to achieve pollutant load reduction through their ability to integrate with other infrastructure improvement projects while also minimizing the amount of dedicated area needed for stormwater management.

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