The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) will now allow development projects that properly use permeable pavements to receive stormwater credits. Over the last two years, WDNR and the Standards Oversight Council have worked with a diverse team of experts to develop a conservation practice standard for permeable pavement systems that provides guidance on design, installation and maintenance to achieve desired water quality benefits. Developers that use permeable pavements instead of traditional asphalt or concrete are able to earn stormwater credit toward meeting water quality performance standards.

“Permeable pavement is an important addition to our toolbox of acceptable stormwater management practices. Allowing the use of an emerging technology like permeable pavement will benefit Wisconsin water resources and provide another option for the regulated community.” Pete Wood, Water Resources Engineer, WDNR; Permeable Pavement Standard Development team leader.

Permeable pavement is an alternative to concrete and asphalt that allows stormwater to move through the pavement surface and into a storage reservoir before soaking into the ground or being released. When it’s compared to asphalt or concrete, properly used permeable pavements can significantly reduce the volume of stormwater discharged from developed areas.

Construction permits issued by the WDNR require developers to use stormwater management practices to mitigate any negative impacts that a project will have on streams and wetlands. This technical standard for permeable pavements will be another tool that developers can use for offsetting environmental impacts of new developments or redevelopments. Research has shown that permeable pavement is able to reduce the quantity of pollutants, such as sediments and Phosphorus, from stormwater that passes through the pavement system. It also recharges more water into the ground, aquifers and streams.

“Prior to the standard it was unclear to designers what, if any, credit could be given to permeable pavements. The new technical standard clears the path for the use of permeable pavement systems to meet state and local water quality and infiltration standards.” Bob Givens, PE, Program Manager at Ommni Associates, Permeable Pavement Standard Development team member.

Proper maintenance of the permeable pavement is critical to continue receiving the intended benefits from its installation. Without ongoing, proper maintenance, sediments can clog the pores that allow infiltration and compromise the pavement’s effectiveness. The United States Geological Systems is partnering with WDNR and others to initiate an ongoing research project in Madison that will further explore the clogging capacity of these pavements and their potential for removing pollutants from stormwater.

The final technical standard was released in late February after a diverse team of experts spent one and a half years reviewing research and developing draft language. The team included several agency specialists from the WDNR and the Department of Transportation, private consultants, municipal reviewers, a contractor, and industry leaders. WDNR is partnering with University of Wisconsin-Extension to offer multiple webinar presentations to provide training on this new technical standard. The first training held on April 17th through the Water Star Wisconsin spring webinar series will provide an overview of permeable pavement systems and this practice standard. Find out more information at Additional webinar and in-field trainings are being scheduled for this summer and fall.

The newly published permeable pavement technical standard can be found here:

For more information contact Pete Wood, Stormwater Engineer, WDNR at or (262) 884-2360.