1,000 Greened Acres (So Far): It Took a City

1,000 (Green) Thank Yous from Mayor Kenney + PWD

While the Philadelphia Water Department designed the Green City, Clean Waters program, its scope has grown far beyond PWD since being approved by state and federal environmental agencies in 2011.

As we've seen over the last six years, to really transform Philadelphia's landscape on a scale that's big enough to have a real impact on our rivers, it takes more than just Water Department crews and contractors building rain gardens.

In fact, it takes a whole city working together, not to mention supportive partners on the state and federal level.

That’s why PWD, Mayor Kenney and our partners across City government put the spotlight on community groups, nonprofits, businesses, organizations and residents when we celebrated the 1,000th Greened Acre created under Green City, Clean Waters.

The diverse group of people and organizations at the City Hall 1,000 (Green) Thank Yous celebration was a real tribute to the dedicated coalition that’s working to protect Philadelphia’s water.

Much more than a number, the 1,000 Greened Acres you helped us build represent a true transformation of our urban landscape, one that’s having a positive impact on our waterways.

Today, green tools can keep nearly 28 million gallons of polluted runoff out of our rivers during just one inch of rain—an amount that can add up to a billion gallons of stormwater and sewer overflows not going into our waterways annually.

Without residents attending community meetings about projects or civic groups caring for local green tools through the Soak It Up adoption program, we would not be where we are today.

The same goes for businesses, large and small, using our grant programs to invest in green stormwater improvements on their properties…

…And for the schools across the city making rain gardens, permeable pavement and other green tools a central part of revitalizing schoolyards…

…And for the developers embracing the shared imperative of protecting our waterways by incorporating smart stormwater design into new projects

…And for our partners in departments throughout the City of Philadelphia, like Parks and Recreation and Streets, who work alongside us to bring landscaped green features to recreation centers, sidewalks, transit stations and more…

It would take up your whole day to actually list all 1,000 of the “thank yous” we owe, but you get the idea—it takes a whole city working together to achieve the big vision that is Green City, Clean Waters.

We still have nearly two decades to go before we reach our final goal—9,564 Greened Acres by 2036—and PWD looks forward to growing and strengthening the partnerships it will take to achieve rivers and creeks that are cleaner than they’ve been in generations.

Extra: How do Green Tools Work?

Winter is coming: Watch this cold-weather tips vid and avoid frozen pipes

The arrival of chilly nights means it's time to make sure your pipes are protected from cold winter temps that can cause frozen or burst pipes in your home or on your property.

While most plumbing is deep enough underground or insulated well enough within your home to avoid freezing, water meters and water service lines can freeze when the temperature drops below 32 degrees in some cases. This can cause water to stop flowing or pipes to burst. Take steps before winter to protect your pipes: check out our Cold Weather Tips quick-facts here, and get more info in this video:


Keeping out the Cold from Philadelphia Water Department on Vimeo.

 

If your pipes freeze
If you don’t have water during extreme cold, check your pipes before calling our hotline. Many customers mistakenly assume a water main is broken when their home’s pipes freeze and spend valuable time on the phone.

Unfortunately, we cannot thaw your frozen pipes. You may have to wait for the line to thaw or call a plumber. However, if you take the proper precautions and winterize your house, you will likely be able to keep your pipes inside from freezing. Our Cold Weather Tips quick-facts also provide info for dealing with frozen plumbing.

If you're sure your pipes aren't frozen and there's no water on your block/in your home, call our hotline at (215) 685-6300.

FALL TIP: Don't let the cold sneak up on you!

The first night of very cold temperatures can catch people off guard, and that can leave garden hoses or outside faucets that have been left on vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Often more than a headache and trip to the hardware store for new hose, these mishaps can cause real damage if the water continues to flow after the hose, hose bib or faucet breaks under pressure.

Avoid the risk: Just find the valve or handle that connects your inside plumbing to the outside faucet. It should be close to the spot on your wall where the outside water is accessible.

Freezing temps are here. It's time to shut off the water to your outside faucet and hose, which will burst in extreme cold.     

We owe Philly's Clean Water Champions 1,000 (Green) Thank Yous

RSVP now for an Oct. 12 celebration marking 1000 Greened Acres. Come to City Hall from 6 to 830 p.m.

You're invited to celebrate...

1,000 Greened Acres.

Can you soak that in? Philly has created one thousand Greened Acres.

Yes, it’s impressive … but you want to know the best part? YOU did it: One rain garden, one Rain Check workshop and one Soak It Up Adoption cleanup at a time, Philly’s community groups, residents, businesses, institutions and Green City, Clean Waters partners made it possible to mark this milestone achievement—1,000 Greened Acres.

On Oct. 12 at City Hall, Mayor Jim Kenney, City officials and the Philadelphia Water Department will recognize you and all the other green champions who laid the foundation for Green City, Clean Waters and worked with us to achieve cleaner waterways for all Philadelphians.
Let us know if you'll be there + invite friends:

RSVP now for an Oct. 12 celebration marking 1000 Greened Acres. Come to City Hall from 6 to 830 p.m.

Thanks to your support and hard work, the green tools spread throughout our neighborhoods are soaking up nearly 28 million gallons of stormwater every time Philly gets an inch of rain.

During a typcial year of weather, that adds up to more than 1.6 billion gallons of polluted water being kept out of our rivers and creeks.

It’s a big step, but we're just getting started. To reach our goal of building 9,500+ Greened Acres and reducing sewer overflows by 85 percent by 2036, we'll need strong community advocates and green champions like you more than ever.

That’s why we want you to join us in the City Hall Courtyard: Philly can do it—but not without YOU!

Get a Preview of Germantown’s Greener Future at October Happy Hollow Open House

More than 100 sites in Germantown will be getting green improvements much like this rain garden at the Washington Lane station in the next two years. Residents who want to get involved shout make their voices heard now. Photo: Philadelphia Water Department
More than 100 sites in Germantown will be getting green improvements, much like this rain garden at the Washington Lane station, in the next two years. Residents who want to get involved should make their voices heard now. Photo: Philadelphia Water Department

The Philadelphia Water Department is hosting an open house event for residents and community groups interested in learning about dozens of green stormwater projects planned for construction in the Germantown neighborhood in the coming years.

A part of the City’s 25-year Green City, Clean Waters program, the projects are currently in the planning and design stage and include green stormwater tools such as rain gardens and stormwater tree planters.
The event will take place at the Happy Hollow Recreation Center, located at 4800 Wayne Avenue, on Tuesday, October 3. Residents are invited to stop by between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and refreshments will be served.
Those who register here will get notifications about future events highlighting Germantown projects.

An open house preview of upcoming Germantown construction projects will take place at the Happy Hollow Recreation Center, located at 4800 Wayne Avenue, on Tuesday, October 3. Residents are invited to stop by between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

With construction of the earliest projects approximately two years away, the Department’s public engagement staff are hosting the open house-style event to gather input from residents and build awareness of the coming green improvements. As is the case at other Green City, Clean Waters investment sites around the city, future community meetings will be scheduled as projects move forward.

Want to learn about all the green stormwater projects planned for Germantown?

Come to 4800 Wayne Ave. October 3rd between 6 and 830 PM to learn about green PWD projects coming to Germantown.
Do you want to know about upcoming green improvements coming to Germantown to help the neighborhood soak up excess stormwater that comes with rainstorms?

Stop by this Philadelphia Water Department open house event between 6-8:30 p.m. to learn about a number of green projects planned for your neighborhood:

What:
Germantown Green Upgrades Open House

Where:
Happy Hollow Rec Center
4800 Wayne Ave., Phila. Pa. 19144

When:
Tuesday, Oct. 3
Doors open at 6 p.m.
Event ends at 8:30 p.m.

Invite friends on Facebook!

Green tools like rain gardens, tree trenches and bumpouts are being designed for local streets and other spaces and will capture stormwater runoff coming down the streets in Germantown while adding new green spaces. Construction for these projects will start in approximately two years, and we'll be holding community meetings to provide updates and get input from neighbors. 

Please RSVP to help us provide enough refreshments.

Additional PWD staff will be there to answer questions about customer assistance programs like our new income-based billing, water bills, and educational and environmental programs from PWD and the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed Partnership.

Questions? Contact Hailey Stern at Hailey.Stern@phila.gov 

Sneak Peek: Cobbs Creek Oral History Project + Virtual Walking Tour

Come to the Cobbs Creek Library on Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m. to learn about an oral history of the area.

Starting in 2015, the Philadelphia Water Department's Public Engagement team began recording conversations with members of the Cobbs Creek community.

The goal?

To better understand how people feel about Cobbs Creek—one of Philadelphia's seven major watersheds—and what they want to see for the neighborhood, the park, and the stream.

You can get a sneak peek of the project by visiting this site, and all are welcome to join us at an open house event being held at the Cobbs Creek branch of the Free Library on Monday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to a presentation about the oral history project, residents will get to explore a new virtual walking tour that uses a web-based "story map" to explore 17 new green stormwater tools coming to the Cobbs Creek Parkway. These systems will add new landscaping and amenities to the area while keeping millions of gallons of runoff and sewer overflow pollution out of the creek each year.

Refreshments will served: please RSVP here!

This event is being hosted by the Cobbs Creek Neighbors, a community group working to improve the neighborhood and enhance local green spaces, including the Darby-Cobbs Watershed.

Watershed Stewards PHL, a group of local high school students working with PWD and the Land Health Institute this summer to protect the Cobbs, will also be on hand to talk about their work so far.

CHOP Gets Recognition for Leading with River-Protecting Green Design

When leadership at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia decided to create a brand-new, centralized facility for pediatric care, their primary concern was easing the stress young patients and their families often face while undergoing treatment.

Today, that vision is recognized at the 12-story Buerger Center, a colorful University City building that opened in 2015 with a playful, flowing façade that makes it feel like a distinct, long-cherished landmark.

Impressive features include a lush and winding 16,000 square foot roof garden and a ground-level plaza garden covering more than two acres. These spaces not only serve the mission of reducing stress for kids in treatment—they also reduce pollution in Philadelphia’s waterways.

By limiting the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into Philadelphia’s combined sewer system, where heavy storms can lead to overflows that harm local rivers like the Schuylkill, these green features are helping the City of Philadelphia in its drive to massively reduce this source of pollution in the coming years.

That attention to water quality protection and green design are what earned CHOP and the team behind the Buerger Center the 2017 Stormwater Pioneer award. Granted by the Philadelphia Water Department, the award recognizes forward-thinking stormwater management projects in the private sector.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell will gather on the blooming 6th-floor roof garden with CHOP officials and the development team this Wednesday, July 26.

While the Buerger Center’s gardens are highly visible, much of the actual stormwater management takes place behind the scenes at the facility, which was designed to be LEED-Silver certified.

These 25 Philly Homes Were Made More Beautiful by Rain Check: Pick Your Favorite!

Our Rain Check photo contest has been a big hit: over 100 residents submitted photos of their green stormwater tools!

To narrow it down, the Rain Check team picked the top 25—not an easy task, given the diverse mix of very cool projects represented in the entries. All who sent in a photo deserve a big thank you. You’re helping fellow Philadelphians realize just how beautiful managing stormwater at home can be.

Now: it’s time to vote for your favorite.

Voting ends Friday, July 28, 2017. After you pick from among the top 25, share this link with your family and friends so we can determine who has the best Rain Check project and show the rest of the city what these stormwater-fighting tools can do for a yard or patio.

We’ll announce the winners on Monday, July 31.

Here’s what the top three vote-getters will win:

1st place: PHS Family Membership which includes 4 tickets to The Philadelphia Flower Show (the 2018 theme: Wonders of Water) & many benefits. Current PHS members will receive a 1-year extension on their active membership

2nd place: $100 gift certificate to a local farm and garden center

3rd place: 2 tickets to the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show

Ready to check out the photos and pick your favorite?

Head over to the gallery and be sure to come back every day—you’ll only have one vote per day, so look through all the entries and make it count!

If you don’t have a Rain Check project of your own but are feeling inspired by the great photos we received, sign up for one of our free workshops today and get started now.

As you can see from this contest, the free rain barrels not only capture stormwater from your roof—they can make for impressive DIY showpieces in your yard/on your patio, and the discounted landscaping and permeable paver projects are serious upgrades.

We have lots of upcoming workshops, including two at the lush new PHS Pop Up beer garden in University City.

Stop by on July 24 or on Tuesday, August 15 and enjoy the greenery while grabbing dinner and getting started on your Rain Check project.