It is summertime in Florida and with it comes the daily challenge of driving through sudden afternoon thunderstorms. However, there is another challenge the increased summer rainfall brings with it. The significant source of pollution to Florida’s drinking water comes from the discharge of stormwater runoff.
Stormwater runoff is a natural occurrence when the ground cannot absorb all the rainfall. As the runoff flows over impervious surfaces, such as roads, it can accumulate multiple pollutants and enter groundwater aquifers and surface water reservoirs — the source of Florida’s drinking water.
This issue is magnified during the summer. This is as Florida residents and vacationers need to stay hydrated in the extreme heat and humidity. Additionally, pollutants flow into lakes and streams. This poses a threat to Florida’s threatened and endangered wildlife such as manatees and sea turtles.
The impact of motor vehicles
The impact of motor vehicles makes roadways one of the largest contributors of pollutants to the drinking water supply. Exhaust, tire wear, accidents, lubricating oils can cause heavy metals, salts, oils and other chemicals to wind up on road surfaces as pollutants. These pollutants then hitch a ride on stormwater runoff during the first few minutes or hours of a storm. Some also call this the first flush period. During this time, the concentration of pollutants in the runoff is at its highest levels. The type of paving material also impacts the level of pollutants that run off into the drinking supply.
“It is vital to the sustainability and safety of society that these water sources be protected from pollutants,” said Matt Sitter, president of the Florida Concrete & Products Association. “Concrete paving can play a vital role in mitigating the impact road pollutants have on our drinking water and ecosystem.”
Concrete’s pervious attribute allows rainwater to filter through to the underlying soil. This replenishes the water tables and aquifers needed for drinking water, supports tree growth, and protects fisheries. The EPA recognizes pervious concrete as a way to manage contamination. This is because it provides a medium for bacteria to break down pollutants that would otherwise seep into the groundwater.
To learn more about the environmental benefit of paving Florida’s roads and parking lots with concrete, residents can visit www.pavewise.com.
About the Florida Concrete & Products Association (FC&PA)
The Florida Concrete & Products Association (FC&PA) is a multi-faceted trade association founded in 1955 and headquartered in Orlando, Fla. to promote the use of concrete. FC&PA represents more than 90 companies statewide that produce ready-mixed concrete, concrete pipe, cement, aggregate, concrete block, concrete masonry, and admixtures for concrete. As one of the largest state concrete associations in the United States, FC&PA also develops and implements numerous marketing, technical and educational programs that focus on new innovative products, as well as proper installation and construction procedures for all types of concrete products. For more information visit fcpa.org.
The Florida Concrete & Products Association created Pavewise to educate the public on the environmental and financial benefits of choosing concrete to pave highways, streets, and parking lots. For more information visit www.pavewise.com.