Uncontrolled rain runoff can cause serious problems for your community's environment. Impervious surfaces such as roofs, streets and driveways don't allow soil to absorb rainwater. Instead, the water gets channeled through often-aging sewers and culverts, then dumps into local waterways that evolved to accommodate much lower amounts of water during rain. As a result, erosion from excess runoff damages local streams and rivers, and low-lying communities become more prone to flooding [source: Hillsdale County Community Center].
As a homeowner, you can make a big difference in your community's runoff problem. Pervious pavement allows rainwater to soak through to the underlying soil. The soil then releases the water into local streams at a measured rate, filtering it and preventing the floods that develop when too much water hits the stream at once [source: Lake Superior Streams].
Some pervious pavement materials can be poured like concrete, while others are modular bricks or tiles that you can arrange into attractive patterns. The type of material you choose depends on the amount and type of use the surface will see, as well as your taste and budget. A tiled patio may be a weekend project within your reach, while replacing your asphalt driveway with a pervious one may be best left to a professional contractor. Either way, you'll finish the project with the satisfaction of knowing you've put the soil under your property to a very important public use.