Permeable pavement (PP) systems provide opportunities to mitigate the impacts of urbanization on receiving water systems by providing at source treatment and management of stormwater. However, they do not receive mainstream use throughout much of Canada and the USA because of a lack of local guidance documents, demonstration projects and performance data. Studies have repeatedly shown that PPs attenuate stormwater flows by reducing volume and frequency of stormwater flows, reducing and delaying peak flow rates, and increasing flow durations. PP systems have been shown to improve stormwater quality by reducing stormwater temperature, pollutant concentrations and pollutant loadings of suspended solids, heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and some nutrients. This review is intended as a comprehensive summary of the current state of knowledge of the environmental performance of PP systems. Published research is synthesized to examine the hydrologic performance, impacts to water quality, longevity and functionality and maintenance needs of PP systems. Where appropriate, the limitations of current knowledge are discussed and emerging and future research needs are presented. The intent of this review is to provide stakeholders in stormwater management with the critical information that is needed to foster acceptance of PPs as a viable alternative to traditional systems.

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