Representing the asphalt pavement industry in California since 1953
The California Asphalt Pavement Association



Porous asphalt pavements successfully used to mitigate stormwater runoff


In the 1980s, porous asphalt pavement parking lots were used to reduce stormwater runoff from new developments.  These early projects are still in service today.  With today's concern for water quality, streambed erosion from development runoff, and a need to recharge vital underground aquifers, many of today's agencies are significantly revising stormwater runoff requirements on developments.


Porous, or pervious, asphalt pavements have been used to address these concerns for over 25 years.  The concept is simple: Construct stormwater detention basins under the street and parking structures.  These basins are designed to collect stormwater from structures, pavements and other areas of a development and hold the water until it can percolate into the soil.  Porous asphalt pavement is then placed over the top of these basins.  These pavements are designed to let the water flow through them and into the detention basin. 


Porous asphalt pavement is commonly known as open graded asphalt concrete (OGAC), open graded friction course (OGFC), and permeable asphalt.  OGAC/OGFC has been used by state DOTs and local agencies since the 1930's.  Most highways constructed in Northern California use OGAC as a final wearing course.  The permeable mix allows water to flow through the pavement and drain out the sides.  This significantly reduces splash/spray from vehicle traffic and reduces glare from daylight or headlights.  Another benefit of OGAC when used on highways is a reduction in vehicle noise.


 In California, designers should consider utilizing Caltrans specifications for OGFC (Standard Specifications Section 39) and utilize a PG binder that is stiffer than the binder typically specified in the area.  Typically these would be PG 70-10, PG 70-22 PM, or PG 76-22 PM.






2014 CalAPA conference presentation

"Porous Asphalt Pavements"

Rita B. Leahy, PhD, P.E., Technical Consultant

California Asphalt Pavement Association

Click HERE to download the presentation.

2013 NAPA conference presentation

"Key Elements in Designing, Constructing and Marketing Asphalt Pavements With Stone Reservoirs"

Tom Clayton, SET

Director of Training

Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association

Click HERE to download the presentation.



CalAPA Porous Pavement Presentation

"Porous Asphalt Pavements With Stone Recharge Beds"

Revised in 2008

Presented in Ventura, Newport Beach, Oakland and Santa Cruz, CA

Click HERE to download.


Porous Pavement Presentation

Presented at CalAPA "Paving Green" Conference

Oct. 28, 2010 -- Sacramento, Calif.

By Roger Smith, asphalt pavement consultant and former executive director of CalAPA.

Click HERE to download.





Asphalt Pavment Alliance publication

"Cleaner Water wtih Asphalt Pavements"

Published in 2011

Click HERE  to download.





"Asphalt: The Right Choice for Porous Pavements"

HMAT Sept/Oct. 2003

Click HERE to download.


"Thinkging Green wtih Porous Asphalt"

HMAT May/June 2003

Click HERE to download.


"Porous Asphalt Pavement With Recharge Beds: 20 Years and Still Working"

Stormwater may/June 2003

Click HERE to download.


"Permeable Pavement: What's It Doing on My Street?"

Information and comparison of porous pavements

Univeristy of Rhode Island

November 2005

Click HERE to download.


"Porous Asphalt Pavement Project at Disneyland Resort Passes First Rain Test."

CalAPA "Asphalt Insider" Newsletter

April 27, 2009

Click HERE to view the issue.


"Asphalt -- Paving the Way to LEED Certification"

A White Paper published in 2010 by Stites & Harbison, PLLC

Click HERE to download.






Brief video clip shot in 2009 of a porous asphalt pavement application at Disneyland Resort parking lot during a rainstorm.

Click HERE to view.



Brief video clip shot in 2010 oin Kentucky of a porous asphalt pavement demonstration of water-draining properties using a water truck.

Click HERE to view







Asphalt Alliance "Asphalt Roads" website, stormwater and porous asphalt pavement page.

Click HERE to visit.


National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA)

Porous Pavement Page, which includes construction guidelines

Click HERE to visit.







Caltrans design guidance:


Click HERE to visit the Caltrans Pervious Pavement web page, which contains direct links to a design guidance publication, specifications and a reservoir design tool. For additional information, contact Mike Marti, P.E., a senior engineer in the Division of Design, Office of Stormwater Management, at (916) 651-9031.