Beaufort’s ProSlab awarded SC environmental certification

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Every time it rains, pollutants such as oil, gas and lubricants from cars and trucks wash off local parking lots and into the Lowcountry’s sandy soil, potentially damaging the pristine waters that grow our shrimp, fish and crabs.

ProSlab, located in Beaufort, has a solution that saves money and can save water quality: Concrete that lets water flow through, called pervious concrete.

Recently, employees at Beaufort’s ProSlab concrete firm were awarded South Carolina’s first and only “Certified Installers of Pervious Concrete” products, that allow rain and stormwater to filter through, an environmentally-preferred method of paving.

Trey Ambrose and Josh Cruze of ProSlab, Inc. demonstrate how water filters through at the parking lot of the new St. Helena Library.

“Being South Carolina’s only certified installers for pervious concrete is a huge deal, especially as more and more communities set stricter requirements on stormwater runoff and retention ponds. Using pervious concrete significantly reduces the size, expense, and maintenance of unsightly retention ponds, and, it’s great for the environment,” said ProSlab President Trey Ambrose.

Earning the “Installer Certification” at ProSlab in September were Josh Cruze, Ty Osborne, Eric Skipper, Dallas Cruze, Lee Smith and Trey Ambrose.

The newly built Beaufort County library on St. Helena Island uses pervious concrete installed by ProSlab, reducing the need for large retention ponds to hold the stormwater drainage. The pervious concrete looks a bit like Rice Krispy Treats — a fluffier, airier type of concrete that allows water to filter through it to a layer of stone and fabric that help remove pollution.

“As designers, we are pleased to see a wider acceptance of pervious concrete pavement solutions by our clients,” said Cherie Liollio of Charleston, an architect with LEEDs certification for environmentally-friendly practices.

“Although the ecological benefits of pervious pavements (in reducing stormwater run-off) offers an obvious primary consideration for its use, we find that the aesthetic benefits of the material are equally as compelling,” Liollio said.

Recent projects by her team include Beaufort City Hall and Municipal Complex and the Edisto Beach State Park Interpretive Center.

ProSlab is completing work pouring concrete foundations for the Initial F-35B Joint Strike Fighter hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. ProSlab recently completed the pervious concrete installation for the parking lot at St. Helena Island’s new county library.

The Beaufort-based company currently employs 35 people and has been in business since 1995.

“In our coastal area, where land costs are high and where we have high standards for protecting our waterways, pervious concrete is an outstanding product for builders and developers,” Ambrose said. “Our product allows rainwater to filter through more naturally, rather than running off directly into a retention pond or waterways. That saves money and keeps the Lowcountry clean.”

Other local projects by ProSlab that utilized pervious concrete include Beaufort Elementary School, Leroy Brown Center on St. Helena Island, Port Royal Apartments and Modern Classic Motors in Bluffton.

In North Carolina, all commercial parking lots must include a minimum 30 percent pervious surface, which can include pervious concrete, grass, gravel or bricks. In that state, all pervious work must be done by certified technicians or higher to ensure proper application.

“Certification is important because it demonstrates to the contractor, to the owner and to the Engineer/Architect that the project is installed as per Specifications,” Ambrose said. “With our certified installers, we have a level of expertise unmatched in South Carolina.”

Pervious concrete pavement is a unique and effective means to address important environmental issues and support green, sustainable growth. By capturing stormwater and allowing it to seep into the ground, porous concrete is instrumental in recharging groundwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stormwater regulations.

Using pervious concrete paving is considered a “Best Management Practice” by the EPA  and other agencies for the management of stormwater runoff on a regional and local basis. This pavement technology creates more efficient land use by eliminating the need for retention ponds, swales, and other stormwater management devices. In doing so, pervious concrete has the ability to lower overall project costs, industry officials say.