8-28-2014 — The City of Monona unveiled the brand new parking lot at the LeRoy & Colleen Darby Family Aquatic Center to a group of partners and citizens. The new parking lot features a new surface made up of permeable pavers designed to eliminate most of the runoff from the formerly gravel parking lot.
In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the revisions make the parking lot more practical. The original lot only had the capacity for 13-15 cars while the new one can hold up to 45 cars. Amazingly, the increased parking capacity did not mean a larger lot but was achieved by making the existing space more efficient. Different colored pavers were used to line parking spots, non-parking areas, and handicap symbols which reduces the amount of maintenance required by the city since the lot will not have to be painted. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the permeable pavers, a city fire truck was present and released 2,000 gallons of water onto the lot.
Despite the large amount of water being dumped at once, an area only about the size of a small office was dampened. The permeable pavers are designed to allow water to pass between each paver to a bed of small rock several feet below. This allows more water to percolate into the soil below as it would if the parking lot were not there while the rest of the runoff slowly moves down the slope. The original gravel lot forced 100% of precipitation, along with any pollutants, off the lot immediately and down to the un-named tributary flowing below the lot. The permeable rock filter allows some of those pollutants to filter out before the runoff hits the stream. The un-named creek flows into Silver Creek and eventually into the Turkey River. Projects like these highlight how a community can get involved with protecting the future of water quality and landscape resilience in an economic and practical way.
Learn more about the Iowa SRF program here.