Normally, installing concrete is an everyday job that doesn’t receive a lot of attention. But the concrete work that the Lake George Association is planning in the Village of Lake George this spring is unique because instead of stopping water, the concrete will drink it in.
And that’s just the way we want it.
Thanks to an $18,446 grant awarded to the Lake George Association by the Lake Champlain Basin Program, at least 650 square feet of precast pervious concrete will be installed in the Village in 2019.
The effect of the pervious concrete slabs (see example at right) will be similar to how stormwater is managed by the porous pavement on Beach Road: the stormwater will flow into the ground – under the concrete – to be filtered by the rocks, sand and soil, rather than flowing into the Lake and carrying nutrients and pollutants into Lake George’s Class AA-Special drinking water.
The project to pave Beach Road with porous pavement was greenlighted after a $10,000 study, paid for by the Lake George Association, was completed in 2011 that showed the pavement’s effectiveness. Porous pavement is solid yet has holes in it that allows untreated stormwater to infiltrate the ground, rather than directing the stormwater into storm drains and then directly into the Lake.
“It’s a little counterintuitive – that the newly installed concrete slabs paid for with this grant will easily infiltrate water,” said Walt Lender, LGA Executive Director, “and it is the reason why this project is so important as a demonstration.”
“It is a unique project,” said Lake George Association Project Manager Randy Rath. “We are working with the Village to find a suitable place where the replacement precast concrete slabs will give us the most return on our investment, and can easily become an example of how using this material can protect the Lake’s water quality.”
According to the Lake George Association’s Watershed Data Atlas, 95% of the Village’s land cover is classified as “developed,” meaning only 5% of the land cover is natural landscape or undisturbed by people. “It is the perfect canvas to test the abilities of the pervious concrete,” Lender said. “And the Village is the perfect partner, as a municipality so focused on stopping untreated stormwater and protecting the Lake’s water quality.”
“We are looking forward to working on this demonstration project using the precast pervious concrete along with the Lake George Association, and thank the Lake Champlain Basin Program for the grant,” said David Harrington, Superintendent of the Village Department of Public Works.
The Village will maintain the pervious concrete with its new regenerative vacuum truck, designed specifically to take care of porous roadways and parking lots.
Why are the pieces precast, rather than being poured in place? Because the precast slabs are created in a controlled environment, allowing easily reproducible strength and porosity, and come ready to install as sidewalks, as strips at the end of driveways, or many other areas.
The consistent porosity is important to ensure even infiltration of the stormwater.
“We don’t want to overwhelm the soil in one area,” said Rath. “The total volume is key, as well, which is why we requested enough in the grant to replace 650 square feet. The more untreated stormwater we can prevent from reaching the Lake, the better off the general water quality will be – each gallon prevented from reaching the Lake prevents sediment, nutrients and pollution from getting into our drinking water.”
Untreated stormwater is by far the greatest human contributor to water quality decline in Lake George. Stormwater scours the surfaces over which it runs, picking up sediment, nutrients and debris. All of those substances are carried downhill in the flowing stormwater and deposited into the Lake. The Lake George Association’s goal with Water Quality Protection projects like this one is to stop as much untreated stormwater from flowing into the Lake as possible.
“This is a significant step forward in managing this problem,” said Rath. “The LGA is looking forward to seeing the effectiveness of this here.”
The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose members support water quality protection, scientific monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.
All the money raised by the Lake George Association stays in the Lake George watershed, and is used to support and fund projects and programs that protect Lake George water quality now and in the future.