19 Jan StormPave permeable pavers installed to handle post-Katrina stormwater
In Pascagoula, Mississippi, planners are looking toward the future while remembering the past.
A new installation of StormPave ® pavers went in around the ticket booths and in an area between a fieldhouse, a running track and a parking lot at Pascagoula High School. The pavers from Pine Hall Brick Company were used next to a pervious pavement parking lot – and were intended to help resolve a problem with standing water after heavy rains.
The construction, which is part of a $3.5 million upgrade to Pascagoula High School for a new football fieldhouse, ticket booth and parking lot work, was undertaken with the still-fresh memory of one of the worst storms in American history.
Ten years ago this coming August, Hurricane Katrina came ashore, bringing with it a storm surge of between 16 feet and 18 feet in that part of Mississippi that sits adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. Overall, Hurricane Katrina caused a reported 1,833 deaths, $108 billion in property damage and damage to a land area roughly the size of Great Britain.
Within Pascagoula itself, a reported 95 percent of houses – along with stores, churches, schools, roadways and everything else – was damaged by the rising floodwaters.
Jason Buckley RLA, a landscape architect with JBHM Architecture in Jackson, Mississippi, said the immediate need was to make certain standing water would not migrate onto the running track. Beyond that, Buckley said, officials are now more concerned about any solid surface on the ground.
“This is in an area where we could not have any more solid surface,” said Buckley. “Post-Katrina, they are sensitive about impervious surfaces and that is what led us to use this product.”
He noted that the goal throughout the region is to decrease any further use of solid surfaces such as conventional asphalt and concrete – and increase the use of permeable surfaces, such as segmental permeable paving and the like, should a storm the size of Katrina come ashore again.
“This really changed the game,” said Buckley. “We’re looking for a zero increase in runoff here and to increase impervious surface to contain the drainage.”