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Percoa Concrete Slabs Decontaminate Ground Water

Dec, 12 2012

Percoa is the only pre-cast pervious concrete available, Pomerleau said, and it can be installed throughout the year. The slabs are made in a controlled environment, which make them less likely to have problems in the future, he added. Extra strength and durability are gained by the way the slabs fit on each other in the installation process.

The company also has completed projects in Plymouth, Minnetonka Beach, and Albertville. At the end of June, the company constructed a parking lot for Birch Island Woods in Eden Prairie.
Pomerleau said Percoa products come in various concrete colors and stamp patterns. In the future, they also will be available in different sizes.
By Andrea Parrott

Percoa Article January 2011

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  • Local contractor offers green solution to reduce storm water runoff

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011 3:04 pm

John Molene

There’s an old Joni Mitchell song that starts off, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

The folks behind Percoa are hoping to turn that song’s message on its ear.

They’ve invented a new product, Percoa, which you could not use to build a parking lot, you could make it an environmentally friendly parking lot.

Developed by concrete expert Brett Pomerleau of Andover, Percoa is a specialized pervious concrete product which contains reduced sand allowing water to drain through it.

Properly installed pervious concrete, along with an underlying filtration system, will reduce storm water volume, rate and pollutants, said Katie Bernhagen, a co-founder of Percoa, Inc.

Eden Prairie resident Bernhagen, along with Pomerleau  formed Percoa in 2010. The company manufactures, distributes and installs the pervious concrete products.

In the spring, the company is installing trial Percoa slabs for the city of Prior Lake, where both Pomerleau and Bernhagen grew up. The company is also in the beginning stages of talking with city of Eden Prairie officials about possible local uses.

“We’re partnering with the U of M in testing our new filtration system,” Pomerleau said. “So now the city, the city of Eden Prairie just called us today. They want to see our plan in action.

“Because what happens is as a city grows the storm sewer pipes are still the same here, but as it goes out … you’re adding more impervious surfaces,” Pomerleau added. “So you’re taking all this water from way up here trying to compact it into these existing storm sewer systems and it’s just not handling it. And then it overflows into rivers and whatever, along with sewage when the treatment facility can’t keep up. If it even ends up at the treatment facility.

“So, then, as we’re doing all this research we’re just finding every single state has these same storm water issues,” Pomerleau said. “And the Met Council is hot on all these cities to clean up their act as far as controlling it. So the first flush is the first half to three quarters of an inch of rain. That’s when your parking lots, your roads and everything gets cleaned. That’s where all your pollutants are. If I can show a city or a big retail outlet that the water will hit our product, go into our filtration system and take care of that first flush, we’re winners for everybody on this planet. Because were eliminating toxins from going into our waterways. ”

Percoa came about through a concern and interest in improving lakes, streams and rivers, the company founders said. “Contaminated storm water runoff flows directly into our waterways. We wanted to do something to improve our water quality.”

The founders of Percoa strive to be leaders in clean water management.

“Our passion is to create real world solutions for our environment and help make our world a much better place with precast pervious concrete systems,” reads the company’s mission statement.

Research has shown that pervious concrete products such as Percoa are able to capture and filter between 96 and 99 percent of oil and heavy contaminants contained in storm water runoff, which is directed over its surface, according to the company.

Pervious concrete has been widely accepted as an effective material to capture, filter and disperse storm water runoff and is among the Best Management Practices recommended by the EPA and other agencies, Bernhagen said.

“Clean water was kind of the basis for this,” said Bernhagen. “And cleaning up our system because there’s water in so many places where there’s too much water and because of the hard surface you’re not getting water in places that you need it. We both grew up in Prior Lake, so having grown up on a lake and knowing, wanting, to keep them clean and having Red Rock Lake behind us, it was really important to us that we did something to try and help.”

“This is the first line of defense,” added Pomerleau. “So when I came up with precasting of pervious concrete, I envisioned in my head a filtration system below it.”

Percoa is the top layer of a multi-stage system. It sits on top of an aggregate material which in turn sits on top of a filter fabric and sand or subgrade.

Pomerleau said the filtration beds will help take out phosphorus and toxins.

Think of it as a water filtration system, but for concrete. The containments go into the filtration system and stay there, rather than leak out into the groundwater.

Applications include parking lots, streets and residential uses.

Pomerleau knows his concrete.

“I’m a concrete contractor by trade,” he said. “I’ve been in it since I graduated high school.”

From 1986 to 1993 Pomerleau was in the construction contracting business, then from 1993 to 2010 he was the founder and owner of Concrete Masonry Unlimited Inc., a masonry construction business.

He holds a Minnesota Residential Building General Contractor’s License and is a certified contractor and installer with The American Concrete Institute and the National Ready Mix Concrete Association.

He’s now hoping to put that experience in a different direction with the rolling out of Percoa.

“I was bored with concrete. I figured, you’ve poured one slab you’ve poured a million of them,” Pomerleau said.

“So I went to a seminar held by Sunstone Concrete and I saw them pour some pervious concrete,” he added. “And then my brain started clicking. Because I came up with a theory on – when I used to do commercial buildings, probably the last one I did in the city of Minneapolis, I ended up having to do a lot of new sidewalks for the city and for this building … And then I came up with this idea. Why not make this into a precast sidewalk system? And then one thing led to another, so I came up with this, precasted it, put it in for a patent and viola, we hold the patent on it.”

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