New Concrete Is Environmentally Friendly

A new environmentally friendly concrete mix is being tried in South Mississippi.

The product sounds like a developer's dream. It's called "pervious concrete". The new mix helps preserve trees and reduces drainage concerns.

It looks like thick gravel, the color of concrete.

"Nothing more than rock bonded together with a mortar material that's actually letting the water to get down to the root system," explained Gulfport builder, John Ruble.

The permeable nature sets this mix apart. That also allows builders to pour much closer to large live oaks.

"The ordinance requires that you can't pour anything around the actual drip line of the tree. As you can see, here we're allowed to get right up to within about ten to 15 feet of the tree," said Ruble, as he pointed to the work crew pouring mix near a large live oak.

The environmentally friendly mix offers a bridge of sorts between construction and conservation.

Greg Pietrangelo is with Gulf Concrete Company, which markets the product.

"With the pervious concrete, the water will actually penetrate through it and into the ground and let the ground do its natural thing and permeate through the soils," he said.

With standard concrete, water simply runs off to the lowest point. With the new concrete, it soaks right through.

Along with helping water the trees, the new concrete also helps builders with storm water drainage. Pervious concrete in a parking lot can eliminate the need for a retention pond.

"Where he would normally put his retention pond, he's able to put more parking spaces. The other thing it helps is that he doesn't have standing water on his property. And we're all concerned about mosquitoes now," said Pietrangelo.

The benefits cost a bit more. Pervious concrete costs about ten dollars more a yard.