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Advancing Stormwater Management: Exploring Permavoid Technology


Advancing Stormwater Management: Exploring Permavoid Technology

Dive deep into the world of stormwater management with Permavoid technology, a cutting-edge solution that revolutionizes how we handle stormwater, from biofiltration soils to capillary action delivery. Learn how Permavoid is transforming the landscape of sustainable water management.

Understanding Stormwater Management

The Importance of Effective Stormwater Management

Effective stormwater management is vital for safeguarding communities and the environment from the harmful effects of rainwater runoff. During its journey, rainwater picks up oils, chemicals, and trash from flowing over roads and rooftops. This polluted water can go on to contaminate delicate aquatic ecosystems like rivers, lakes, and oceans. Implementing stormwater management practices helps prevent flooding, maintains street safety during heavy rains, and ensures water treatment before it reaches natural water bodies, promoting healthier ecosystems and environmental protection.

Stormwater Management Challenges

Current challenges in traditional stormwater management systems stem from the increasing pressures of urbanization, climate change, and non-sustainable practices. Inadequate capacity to handle intensified runoff, water quality concerns due to limited pollutant removal, and reliance on costly and less eco-friendly infrastructure pose significant obstacles. Addressing these issues necessitates a shift towards more sustainable practices, greater integration of green infrastructure, and enhanced community engagement to develop resilient stormwater management solutions.

Implementing a cost-effective stormwater design is paramount. One crucial aspect of this process involves developing a Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) that addresses water quality concerns and adheres to the stormwater permitting and application process. Understanding these key elements ensures a comprehensive approach to managing stormwater, promoting environmental sustainability, and safeguarding our water resources.

Introducing Permavoid Technology

Overview of Permavoid Technology

Permavoid Technology is a cutting-edge stormwater management solution designed to address the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change. This innovative system is centered around Permavoid Geocellular Units, which are sturdy, modular structures capable of storing and managing large volumes of stormwater runoff in a sustainable and efficient manner. 

By offering infiltration and attenuation capabilities, Permavoid effectively reduces the risk of urban flooding and enhances water quality by filtering and purifying the collected water. Notably, its high-load-bearing capability allows it to support heavy vehicular traffic and development, making it ideal for both greenfield and retrofit projects. With a focus on eco-friendly materials and compliance with stringent environmental regulations, Permavoid represents a significant step forward in stormwater management, offering both economic benefits and contributing to broader sustainability goals.

Advantages of Using Permavoid

Permavoid Geocellular Units

Permavoid Geocellular Units are typically made from high-quality and durable plastic, often using recycled materials. The units fit together like puzzle pieces to create an underground storage system designed to hold and manage rainwater that falls on roads, sidewalks, and other surfaces during storms. During a storm or heavy rainfall, the water is collected within these units where it is filtered to remove dirt and other pollutants.

Because they are strong and can handle a lot of weight, the units are able to be placed under parking lots, playgrounds, or even under new buildings to store the rainwater and keep everything safe and dry.

Infiltration and Attenuation Capabilities

Infiltration and Attenuation are vital features when it comes to stormwater management systems. Referring to the process of rainwater soaking down into the ground through permeable materials or soil, infiltration acts as a natural underground storage system, replenishing groundwater and reducing the volume of surface runoff. Attenuation is the process of slowing down the flow of stormwater. It provides a controlled release of water into the drainage system, preventing sudden surges and overloading of drainage infrastructure, mitigating the risk of flash floods. These combined capabilities work together to manage stormwater, ensuring that excess water is stored underground and gradually released, reducing the burden on conventional drainage systems, and preventing water from overflowing the streets and causing problems.

Aside from offering flood control, the infiltration and attenuation processes also create an opportunity for natural filtration, removing pollutants and contaminants from the water as it percolates through the soil, resulting in cleaner water that is safe for plants, animals, and our communities.

High-Load Bearing Capability

High load-bearing capabilities refer to the ability of certain systems to handle heavy weight without getting damaged. With the weight of big vehicles like buses, trucks, and cars driving on roads or parking lots, it’s important that any stormwater system being used in those areas is able to support and handle that weight without breaking or collapsing. This level of strength and durability makes them the perfect choice for use under parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, and other places where there’s a lot of traffic or weight.

Sustainable Materials and Environmental Benefits

The Permavoid system has several environmental benefits from its use of sustainable materials to pollution reduction, and mitigating the urban heat island effect. By allowing rainwater to percolate into the ground and replenish groundwater, the system promotes natural water storage. Additionally, the Permavoid units act as a filtration system, removing pollutants and contaminants from the stormwater as it passes through the permeable structure, and preventing harmful substances from entering natural water bodies. Cities often become significantly hotter due to heat absorption and lack of green spaces, which is known as the “urban heat island effect.” Installing green spaces with Permavoid units can help mitigate this by promoting vegetation growth and reducing surface temperatures, which has a positive impact on local microclimates and overall urban comfort.

Before this new technology became available, materials like concrete and asphalt were commonly used, but these options don’t allow water to soak into the ground and do not filter the water. As a result, these materials often cause flooding in addition to introducing pollution to the environment. The Permavoid system offers a more eco-friendly and efficient way to manage stormwater.

Challenges and Limitations

Implementing Permavoid Technology comes with a set of potential obstacles that need to be addressed for its successful adoption. The initial costs may pose challenges for some, and raising awareness about its benefits is crucial to gain stakeholders’ support. Retrofitting existing infrastructure to accommodate Permavoid may require careful planning and coordination. Ensuring compliance with regulations and maintaining the system’s efficiency through regular monitoring and upkeep are also essential factors. To overcome these challenges, effective communication, collaboration, and demonstration of successful implementations can foster greater acceptance and utilization of Permavoid, offering sustainable stormwater management solutions for various environments.

How Permavoid Works

“Permavoid has been a great addition to our stormwater management ‘toolbox.’ Its innovative design and seamless integration with existing infrastructure allowed us to efficiently manage stormwater runoff, even during heavy rain events,” said Hannah Lancaster-Yale, PE, project manager. “The system’s water flow management and regulation capabilities ensured that water quality was maintained, meeting all regulatory requirements with ease. Thanks to ABT, Inc. and Permavoid, we were able to achieve a successful and sustainable stormwater management solution, protecting the environment and enhancing the overall resilience of our development.”

The design and installation process of Permavoid Technology is a carefully planned and structured approach to ensure optimal performance. It involves creating a customized layout for the Permavoid Geocellular Units based on the specific site requirements and stormwater management goals. The integration with existing stormwater management systems is facilitated through seamless connections and compatibility, enabling a smooth transition to more efficient and sustainable practices. One of the key strengths of Permavoid is its excellent water flow management and regulation capabilities, allowing for effective infiltration, storage, and controlled release of stormwater runoff. These features collectively contribute to the system’s success in mitigating flooding, improving water quality, and promoting environmental conservation.

Case Studies and Real-world Implementations

For our recent Woodland Hills Porsche project, CDR faced intricate challenges due to the site’s unique topography and limited space. With its narrow layout, our team collaborated closely with the LA Department of Water and Power to realign water resources and make necessary adjustments, even relocating a utility pole to accommodate our project’s needs. Moreover, the presence of a basement along the property line meant that shoring was a crucial consideration, adding complexity to our project.

To address these challenges and optimize our limited space for effective water quality treatment, we turned to ABT, Inc. to utilize the Permavoid Technology. By incorporating Permavoid into our stormwater management system, we achieved an exceptional level of control over stormwater runoff. In this innovative approach, stormwater first passes through biofiltration soils, effectively cleansing it of impurities and contaminants. The captured excess stormwater is then held within the Permavoid system, preventing flooding and erosion while also providing a reservoir for future use. What sets Permavoid apart is its ability to deliver the held stormwater to the landscape above through capillary action. This seamless process not only met regulatory requirements but also greatly improved the environmental impact of the site.

In terms of outcomes and performance assessment, the project exceeded expectations in stormwater management and water quality control, significantly reducing the risk of flooding and pollution. We also gained valuable insights from this experience, highlighting the importance of close coordination with utility providers when working in tight urban settings and the strategic utilization of innovative stormwater management systems. The long-term benefits, including reduced maintenance and infrastructure repair costs, were evident, further enhancing Woodland Hills Porsche’s reputation as an environmentally responsible business.


In conclusion, Permavoid Technology offers numerous advantages in stormwater management. Its ability to efficiently handle runoff, improve water quality, and support heavy loads makes it a valuable solution for urban challenges. Emphasizing sustainability and eco-friendliness, Permavoid represents a significant step forward in stormwater technology. As we look to the future, the continued development and implementation of innovative solutions like Permavoid hold the promise of creating more resilient and environmentally responsible stormwater management systems to meet the demands of urbanization and address the impacts of climate change.

*Images courtesy of ABT, Inc. and Permavoid