Permeable pavements have been shown to be effective stormwater treatment devices that can greatly reduce surface runoff and significantly improve the quality of stormwater runoff in urban areas. However, the potential problems with sediment clogging and consequent maintenance requirements have been identified as the main barriers to more widespread adoption of permeable pavements in urban developments. This Australian study investigates the effectiveness of using grass swales as pre-treatment devices for permeable pavements in order to reduce clogging and extend the life span of these systems. The results of simulated runoff experiments demonstrated that between 50 and 75% of the total suspended sediment (TSS) was removed within the first 10 m of the swale length. This suggests swales of this length could potentially increase the effective life of permeable pavement systems by reducing clogging, and therefore maintenance. Nutrient removal was also tested in the study and the results indicated the tested swales were of limited effectiveness in the removal of these pollutants. However, in real runoff situations, reduction of TSS will have a direct influence on removing nutrients because a significant proportion of nutrients (and other pollutants) are attached to the sediments.

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