During the World of Concrete I heard a question at an educational session about the durability of pervious concrete in freeze-thaw environments. The response, by someone who purportedly knew something about pervious, was not in my opinion nearly strong enough. Let’s state it clearly: good pervious concrete can easily withstand any freeze-thaw environment.

Now there are other issues, from damage caused by deicing salts to clogging from asphalt fines or soil to poor subbase design, that can affect durability. And, of course, an improper mix design or poor construction techniques can leave a surface that ravels. In a recent article in The Concrete Producer (click here), Dave Frentress, chair of the NRMCA pervious concrete committee, says that pervious “is not regular concrete, but rather a cement-based (storm)water treatment system that just happens to be delivered in a ready-mix truck.”

Ten years ago—maybe even only five years ago—pervious concrete was not that well understood and there were some very unfortunate failures. Today, new designs, admixtures, mix designs, and construction methods (here's another excellent article on the subject) have greatly increased our understanding of pervious and virtually eliminated failures.

It’s time for all of us in the concrete industry to become ambassadors for pervious concrete!