About Pervious Pavement: Commonly used for walkways, driveways, parking lots, and patios
Rebate Amount: $1.50 per ft²
Cost: $3–$40+ per ft²
Size Requirement: Minimum of 100 ft²
Installation Requirement: Must be installed by a licensed contractor
Pervious pavement at Southgate Neighborhood
We know you're eager to get started, but make sure to review these steps prior to applying. Applicants must submit their application form(PDF, 4MB) and required documentation to the Watershed Protection Group before installing pervious pavement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the maximum rebate I can receive?
Applicants can receive a pervious pavement rebate at a rate of $1.50/square foot. For example, a 200-square foot pervious pavement project will receive a $300 rebate. The City of Palo Alto partners with Valley Water to offer cost sharing for Stormwater Rebates. Each property has City Stormwater Rebate lifetime maximum and Valley Water Rebate lifetime maximum. The City Stormwater Rebate lifetime maximum is the total amount of funding that one property can receive across that property’s lifetime specific to Stormwater Rebates offered by the City. The rebates included in the Stormwater Rebate lifetime maximum are:
- Rain Barrel Rebate
- Cistern Rebate
- Pervious Pavement Rebate
- Rain Garden Rebate
The Valley Water Rebate lifetime maximum is the total amount of funding that one property can receive across the property lifetime and includes all rebate types offered by the City of Palo Alto and Valley Water (Landscape Conversion, Irrigation Equipment, and Stormwater Rebates). For more information on rebate lifetime maximums please visit Valley Water's Program Overview webpage.
||Pervious Pavement Rebate
||City Stormwater Rebate Lifetime Maximum
(includes multi-family properties)
Why should I install pervious pavement?
Pervious Pavement allows rainfall to infiltrate into the soil below and reduces runoff and related street ponding. Pervious pavement can be designed to match the aesthetic value of a home.
Where can I find a licensed contractor to install pervious pavement?
Your licensed contractor can help you determine the best type of pervious pavement for you and your home or business. Check out the two resources below for a list of contractors. The City is not responsible for any damage or construction mistakes caused by a contractor, landscape professional or any other individual.
SFPUC Trained Green Infrastructure Contractors
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission publishes a list of contractors who have completed the SFPUC Green Infrastructure Training to perform work licensed in the State of California. This certifies that these contractors have completed training in construction of green infrastructure.
Rescape Qualified Professionals Directory
Rescape regularly updates a directory of local contractors that have completed their qualifying trainings. These trainings use a sustainable, holistic approach to the design and management of a landscape. They work with nature to conserve water and soil, reduce waste, and prevent pollution. You can find a Rescape Qualified Professional near you in this directory.
What are the requirements for a pervious pavement rebate?
Per the City of Palo Alto, these are the requirements to receive a rebate:
- Pervious pavement must be considered one of the following:
- Porous Asphalt
- Pervious Concrete
- Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers (PICP)
- Grid Pavement
- Pervious pavement must be installed by an experienced, licensed contractor.
- Pervious pavement must be at least 100 square feet in size.
- Pervious pavement must not impede window egress or safe passage for travel.
- If your pervious pavement project meets any of the criteria listed under “Do I need a City permit for installation of pervious pavement?” below, you need to obtain appropriate permits from the City of Palo Alto Development Center. Please contact the Development Center at (650) 329-2496 and select Option 3 for the Building Plan Check Team when prompted.
- Pervious pavement must not be installed before a "Notice to Proceed" has been issued by the City. Rebates will not be processed until all supporting documents, including permits, have been received.
- Pervious pavement must not be previously rebated under any other program, including, but not limited to, those outside of the City of Palo Alto.
What are the components of a pervious pavement installation?
Pervious Pavement is often used in parking areas, walkways, and residential roads with limited vehicle traffic.
- Pervious Pavement is the only visible component of the structure once it has been installed. This is the top layer of the installation.
- The bedding provides temporary storage for the stormwater to infiltrate the surface. Bedding materials may consist of stone or compacted soil.
- The base provides structure to the pavement.
- The subbase is the stone layer that retains the water before it percolates into the soil subgrade. The subbase can also be soil.
- The soil subgrade is the final layer which water infiltrates. This layer is typically made up of the natural material of the area, compacted.
- The drain is optional but can provide water diversion after infiltration.
Each of these layers may vary in material, depth, and compaction depending on the project and type of pervious pavement. Please consult with your contractor to determine the proper material, compaction, and depth for your installation.
What are the different types of pervious pavement?
There are several types of pervious pavement. If your preferred material is not listed, contact Public Works– Watershed Protection Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 329-2122 to see if your product is eligible for a rebate.
Pervious paving materials include:
- Porous Asphalt
Porous (or open-graded) asphalt does not contain fine aggregate particles. This creates spaces between the large participles comprising the pavement and allows water to drain through the pavement. Porous asphalt can increase road safety by reducing hydroplaning and tends to be lower cost than individual pavers like grid pavement or Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers (discussed below).
Unlike conventional concrete, pervious concrete contains little to no sand. This allows water to flow through the pavement. Pervious concrete is lower cost than individual pavers like Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers or grid pavement (discussed below). Pervious concrete can be seen in the parking stalls at the Mitchell Park Library as pictured below.
Pervious Concrete at Mitchell Park
Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers (PICP)
Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers (PICP) are solid pavers separated by spaces. Not all interlocking concrete pavers are permeable. There must be openings between the pavers. These openings must be filled with small aggregate (not sand) for the pavement to be permeable. PICP is more popular in walkways, crosswalks, and other similar features. It may be easier to repair PICP than porous asphalt or pervious concrete. This is because pavers can be replaced individually.
Grid pavement is a concrete or plastic grid structure filled with decorative gravel or planted grass. It is underlain by a sandy gravel mixture that promotes infiltration of stormwater. It is often used for low traffic parking lots and playing fields. Grid pavement is more effective when installed in areas with light traffic.
The two most common forms of Grid pavement are grass flexible porous pavement and gravel flexible porous pavement.
Do I need a City permit for installation of pervious pavement?
Any pervious pavement installation with the following features will need a building permit or consultation with the City of Palo Alto Development Center before installation:
- Pervious pavement projects sized greater than or equivalent to 2,500 square feet
- Commercial pervious pavement projects
To inquire about permitting, contact the Development Center at (650) 329-2496 and select Option 3 for Building Plan Check Team when prompted. Permit approval should be submitted at the time of your Rebate Program application.
How should I maintain my pervious pavement?
Pervious pavement needs little maintenance once installed. The Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA)(PDF, 706KB) suggests that owners follow these simple steps to maintain their pervious pavement:
- Avoid blowing leaves, grass trimmings and other debris across permeable pavement. Leaf blowers force dirt and debris into pavement void spaces
- Remove weeds from pavement and replace missing sand or gravel between pavers as needed
- Inspect subdrain outlets (if applicable) yearly to verify they are not blocked
- Inspect pavement after rains for ponding or other visible problems. If there are problems with standing water, vacuum sweeping with specialized equipment may be required. Concrete grid pavers do not require sweeping
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