City of Santa Monica Streets Division crews have begun installing new concrete gutters on one alley that are designed to reduce storm water runoff and prevent pollutants from reaching the ocean.

The city started installing 15 of the pervious concrete gutters in the 1500 block of 17th Court Jan. 10 as part of the city’s annual Alley Renewal Program. The pervious concrete, funded in part by Measure V, allows rain water to percolate into the ground.

“Our goal is to minimize the amount of storm water runoff that makes its way into our storm drains and eventually into the Santa Monica Bay,” said Rick Valte, Watershed Program manager. “Installing pervious concrete gutters minimizes the amount of runoff discharged from our alleys and will help us reach our clean-water goals.”

Pervious concrete has been successfully utilized by communities around the country, most often in the wet climates of the Southeast including Florida and Georgia, city officials said. Despite the many benefits of the material, it has only recently been implemented in the western states.

Over the past few months, the city has experimented with pervious concrete at various locations to understand firsthand the benefits and potential downsides of using the material, officials said.

“We pride ourselves on our willingness to embrace sustainable technologies,” notes Sylvester Mabry, street maintenance superintendent. “We were one of the first municipalities to use rubber sidewalks, and we are excited to collaborate with our city engineers in rolling out pervious concrete in Santa Monica.”

During construction, street maintenance crews will work closely with the general public to minimize disruption. Mabry emphasized customer service stating, “Our crews are very sensitive to residents’ and business owners’ need to access their alleys.”

Depending on the continued availability of funding, the city is considering expanding the use of pervious concrete in the Alley Renewal Program and in other areas of the city’s drainage basins.