Cool clear water: EOS testing new rain-friendly asphalt in Sackville

Town workers “depaving” parking spot beside Bill Johnstone Memorial Park

Town workers used a backhoe this week to rip up pavement and dig soil from a parking space on Ford Avenue beside Bill Johnstone Memorial Park. Then, they filled the hole with gravel to prepare for the installation of permeable asphalt that allows water to seep through it unlike the conventional kind that directs rain water into storm drains.

Parking spot and storm drain area filled with gravel

The “depaving” project was sponsored by EOS Eco-Energy, the non-profit group that promotes community-based ways of fighting climate change while adapting to it. The town contributed the preparation needed, while EOS and its other funding partners are paying Dexter Construction around $5,000 to install about 10 tonnes of the permeable asphalt.

EOS co-ordinator Kelli-Nicole Croucher explains project during “learning day” on Tuesday

On Tuesday, EOS Watershed Co-ordinator Kelli-Nicole Croucher conducted tours of the project for more than 50 government officials, planners and members of environmental groups who were visiting Sackville as part of a “learning day” on climate adaptation organized by the New Brunswick Environmental Network and paid for by the federal and provincial governments.

Workers installing permeable asphalt on Wednesday

As the new permeable asphalt went down on Wednesday, Croucher said she was excited to see Sackville’s first installation of it.

“It will allow the water cycle to continue as it should,” she said. “The water can infiltrate down into the ground so it’s recharging ground water and the one-metre fill that’s under this permeable asphalt also acts as a filter, so it’s actually removing contaminants and any pollutants,” she added.

“Once that water is entering the groundwater or going into the storm sewer system and then out to our water bodies, it’s actually improved,” Croucher said, adding that the filtered water helps maintain the health of the watershed.

She said EOS chose this particular spot for its permeable asphalt pilot project because water pools on the surface here during rain storms.

Croucher describes the test project to CBC reporter Tori Weldon

Croucher acknowledges that at the moment, permeable asphalt is more expensive than the conventional kind, but says the project is both a test to see how it works as well as a demonstration project for public viewing.

“We’re expecting a lot of rain tomorrow, so it will be great to see how it performs right off the bat,” she said, referring to the Thursday forecast predicting steady rain.

Permeable asphalt appears to pass its first rain test on Thursday (click to enlarge)

Croucher says EOS and the town will monitor the new asphalt for a year to see how well it works.

For more information, click here.

EOS staff at asphalt event. L-R: Amelia Moore, Amanda Marlin, Kelli-Nicole Croucher, Eric Arbeau

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3 Responses to Cool clear water: EOS testing new rain-friendly asphalt in Sackville

  1. Rima Azar says:

    Thank you Mr. Wark or this article.

    Bravo to EOS for sponsoring this project and for its staff and all the partners for making it happen.

    At least, this is a concrete project that is trying to do something to deal with the climate issue.

    For me, a project like this is more valuable than all the orchestrated global demonstrations “led” by the youth. For me, this is concrete and real environmentalism.

  2. Ed H. says:

    Interesting. Whether it’s my Brita water filter or the filter in my vacuum cleaner I’ve never met a man made filter that didn’t need to be replaced. Sand and gravel are non-renewable resources. Using a cubic metre of gravel for every square metre of parking lot sounds to me like an extravagance that should be avoided. I would like to see a comparison of cost/effectiveness of storm surge reservoirs vs. permeable asphalt. Is the juice worth the squeeze.

    • Rima Azar says:

      Despite its high costs, this project is likely cheaper than the costs of the students’ climate strikes, namely in terms of waste of public funds and time.

      Thus, I am happy that some other places I also care about did not fall into those climate youth strikes (yet?). I am thinking specifically of Lebanon where youth, older people, working unions, and government all seem to have a more critical sense toward trendy movements. Perhaps because they know how movements work… and the memory of war is still fresh in their minds or their parents’ minds? Even if many people, or municipalities even, sincerely care for the environment there too, everyone knows that the country has bigger fish to fry than the changing climate, including an economic crisis with a shrinking middle class, an insanely high number of refugees, and potentially explosive regional tensions anytime.

      To come up to this great EOS-sponsored project that took place in our town and that I salute, my own concern with it is that it provides our Town with yet another opportunity of virtue signaling to hide behind whilst keeping the same pattern of governance, that is opaque with much overspending.

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