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Brief Published: 9 Sep 2021

Pavement Material Reduces Urban Flooding & Water Pollution


As extreme weather events become increasingly frequent and destructive, the need for more resilient and preventative technologies in our cities has never been more pressing. US start-up Aquipor is confronting urban flooding and water pollution problems with a newly developed permeable hardscape material.

The material – which is suitable for paving, kerbs and guttering – is designed to help manage stormwater (the water generated by precipitation, including rainfall or melting snow/ice) and the consequent runoff pollution. When stormwater falls in urban areas, it picks up and carries different pollutants – including sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, oil, pesticides and metals – into clean waterways.

Unlike existing permeable construction materials, Aquipor’s surface technology features submicron-sized pores. This makes it capable of filtering out pollutants and particle matter without clogging, thus allowing only clean water to permeate and drain into the water table below – effectively mimicking soil. It can also cope with high volumes of rainfall – up to 25 inches every hour.

Tapping into the growing concern about carbon emissions, the material has a significantly lower CO2 footprint than traditional concrete, while still matching its strength and durability. It’s manufactured using reclaimed construction aggregates and doesn’t use pollutive petroleum- or Portland-based cements. See Next-Gen Materials and Low-Carbon Concrete Solution for more other lower-impact examples.  

The start-up is now working on a neighbourhood-scale pilot test on private land, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to further expand its production capabilities. 

The preservation of fresh water, alongside protective and preventative infrastructure, is crucial to the survival of cities. See Water Warriors for more water conservation strategies, and Adapting to a Changing Climate for further innovations protecting natural ecosystems.