LENEXA, KS (KCTV) -- It's not the fire trucks on display Monday afternoon at Fire Station Number 5 in Lenexa, it’s the pavement.
“We're standing on our permeable parking lot,” Ted Semadeni, with the city of Lenexa, said.
Permeable parking lot means it absorbs water. On regular concrete, it just washes away, but this pavement is specially designed.
“It's like a rice crispy treat,” Semadeni said.
Permeable pavement can take gallons and gallons of water, which reduces runoff and the risk for flash flooding.
“This all filters its way down here,” Dwayne Lewis, with Lewis Block and Supply Company, said.
Lewis installed a similar parking lot for a Kansas City employee lot.
“Every drop of water that hits concrete runs off into the sewer system,” Lewis said.
These use concrete tiles which can absorb even more water. He's also bidding on a project to install them on a few city streets.
“I'd venture to guess that 90% of the people who drive here have no idea of the purpose it serves,” Lewis said.
Brenda Macke designed a lot in Kansas City, Kansas using similar tiles.
“Part of it is just educating people about where stormwater goes,” Brenda Macke, with Burns and McDonnell, said.
They cost three to four times more than typical pavement but save money on drainage and maintenance.
“It's dual purpose. It's not your parking spot, we're also managing storm water, so you get more out of your infrastructure,” Macke said.
Instead of filling a pothole, you just replace a brick.
“We do plow it, but don't put salt or sand on it,” Semadeni said.
Much of the time it doesn't even freeze.
“The evaporating water melts the snow,” Semadeni said.
Permeable parking lots also work well with rain gardens to filter water slowly into areas like Mill Creek, just down the hill from the Lenexa station.
“If every house in Lenexa had permeable pavers, that would be so much less water that goes into our system,” Semadeni said.
Even a small parking lot can make a difference in Lenexa.