Laboratory analysis on the surface runoff pollution reduction performance of permeable pavements

Jia Liu, Hexiang Yan, Ziyuan Liao, Kui Zhang, Arthur R. Schmidt, Tao Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Permeable pavements are used to address the water quality impacts of urbanization. However, few quantitative relations are available on their pollutant removal performance with respect to varying conditions, especially for different components of a permeable pavement. Individually, the water quality performance of the surface pavement layer and gravel layer of a permeable pavement under various conditions was determined in laboratory-scale pavement cells. Our aim was to reveal the manner in which different factors influence the ability of these two layers to remove total suspended solids (TSS), nutrients, including nitrate (NOx-N), ammonia (NH4-N) and phosphorous (TP), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and heavy metals (copper (Cu), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and zinc (Zn)), and to provide quantitative understanding of these influences. The removal efficiencies of most stormwater runoff pollutants showed a significant variation with changing rainfall intensity. NH4-N, NOx-N, TP, and TSS removal exhibited statistically negative linear relationship with rainfall intensity. TSS removal was negatively correlated with TSS concentration for the gravel layer, whereas no obvious trend was observed for the surface pavement layer. The statistical results obtained demonstrate that TSS, NH4-N, NOx-N, TP, and COD were removed mainly by the surface pavement layer. A smaller gravel gradation was more effective for removing most pollutants, except for NOx-N and COD. Positive linear relationships were observed between the gravel layer thickness and pollutant (TSS, TP, NH4-N, Cu, and Cd) removal. More importantly, a simple mathematical model was developed to predict the overall performance of the permeable pavement system. By comparing with the overall measured performance, a good performance was achieved, illustrating its promising application in the design of permeable pavements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Nov 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Gravel layer
  • Mathematical model
  • Permeable pavement design
  • Stormwater runoff pollutants
  • Surface pavement layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Laboratory analysis on the surface runoff pollution reduction performance of permeable pavements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this