U.S. Water News Online
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- An environmentally-friendly parking lot
on Rock Island Arsenal that will soak up rain rather than letting it
run off into the Mississippi River is up and running.
The porous 48-spot parking lot along the river can absorb several
inches of rainfall.
``The water will never hit the river,'' said Leon Hodges, chief
park ranger for the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. ``I can't see there being any run-off.''
The lot is divided into three sections. Here's how it works: the
first part is a parking lot with a slope of 1 percent to 2 percent
and the second is made of concrete pavers placed on a crushed rock
base. The interlocking pavers allow water to flow into the ground.
The third section, a bioswale -- or area of native plants, absorbs
water the pavers can't handle.
The project came about because the corps needed a parking lot due
to a space crunch after the Sept. 11 attacks, Hodges said. River
Action, a local nonprofit focused on the river, needed a place to
demonstrate the parking lot.
Kathy Wine, of River Action, hopes the porous lot will set an
example of how to help curb runoff to, and one day decrease flooding
along, the Mississippi.
``If we can show that, then we are doing something great for the
Mississippi River,'' Wine said.
The parking lot cost is about 15 to 20 percent more than a
conventional lot, Hodges said. The concrete pavers used last longer
than traditional parking lots, said Marcus De La Fleur, of
Conservation Design Forum, an Elmhurst, Ill.-based group that worked
on the project.
Such lots are much more prevalent in Europe due to strict laws
regulating runoff, De La Fleur said. He believes the porous parking
lots will become more popular in the United States.
``I don't think we have a choice,'' he said. ``It's just a matter
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