Boeing to develop stronger permeable pavement efforts in Washington State

Boeing, Washington State University and the Washington Stormwater Center announced that they will collaborate to research and develop stronger permeable pavement through the use of recycled carbon fiber composite material.

SEATTLE, WA, Nov. 6, 2015 -- Today, Boeing, Washington State University and the Washington Stormwater Center announced that they will collaborate to research and develop stronger permeable pavement through the use of recycled carbon fiber composite material.

Improving permeable pavement -- a porous concrete or asphalt product that allows stormwater to seep into the ground instead of running off to waterways -- has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a positive step to mitigating stormwater issues in Washington State. According to the Agency, the pavement improves water quality by reducing flow, filtering pollutants and returning water back to the water table.

Boeing is supporting the Washington Stormwater Center through a $212,000 research grant and a donation of carbon fiber composite material. The grant will support research programs at the Washington State University (WSU) Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, Wash., and on the WSU Pullman campus.

The project will take a two-pronged approach to improving permeable pavement. First, scientists will recycle carbon fiber composites to strengthen and reinforce porous pavement material, which is used in parking lots and side roads, but is currently too soft to be used on heavily-traveled roadways. Then the team will examine the strengthened material for toxicity to validate that the composite material does not add pollutants into the soil or impact water quality.

The use of permeable pavement is a best management practice recommended by the EPA. Washington State requires that low-impact development (techniques used to manage stormwater runoff from landscaping after a storm) must be used wherever feasible in western Washington -- and permeable pavement is one avenue to achieving that goal. It's also key to "green stormwater infrastructure," also promoted by the Agency.

See also:

"Permeable pavement gaining popularity as smart stormwater management approach"

"Green solutions needed in North America for excess stormwater management"

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