11 For 2011: PWD vs. Hurricane Irene

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PWD's Watersheds blog closes out the year with a list of 11 green missions accomplished in 2011, from innovative stormwater management projects and stream restorations to groundbreaking policy agreements and energy-generating solar arrays.

The swollen Schuylkill River at the Fairmount Dam

Hurricane Irene blew through Philadelphia on August 28, causing flooding in low-lying areas. The Philadelphia Water Department worked to minimize the damage as much as possible, and here are some statistics on our performance:

  • PWD wastewater treatment plants received almost 1 billion gallons of stormwater, more than twice their normal volume, and maintained performance.
  • PWD cleared 400 inlets in proactive preparation for Irene, and that number—along with the help of citizens—is, according to Mayor Nutter, "a great part of why we didn't have as much flooding as we could have possibly had." 
  • More than 55 PWD employees worked over the weekend to answer calls and pump out flooded basements. 
  • The Schuylkill and Delaware rivers crested at 13.5 ft. and 9.77 ft., respectively, in Philadelphia.