1st Annual Mill Creek Tour

 

Mill Creek can be found on 19th century maps of Philadelphia, draining more than 4,000 acres of West Philadelphia with its main stem and tributaries. Look at a map today and you may find names associated with the waterway, but you won’t find any signs of the stream itself. So what happened to Mill Creek? To find out, join Adam Levine and Drew Brown of the Philadelphia Water Department on a bus tour that will explore the history of the old creek. Tracing its now hidden path, you will hear stories about the creek itself as well as the industry and farmland once found along its banks. The tour will include a discussion about the consequences of burying a creek in a pipe and building a city above it.

 

Each participant will receive an illustrated booklet highlighting the creek's past and present, as well as a map showing where the stream once ran. All money collected from the tour will go directly to the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, which works to improve the environment of the Overbrook neighborhood through a variety of programs. Participants are welcome to learn more about the OEEC and visit its facilities at the end of the tour.

 

Mill Creek Bus Tour with Adam Levine and Drew Brown of PWD
Saturday, December 6, 2014 8:45

am to 1:00 pm COST: $10 per person


Space is limited. Please call (215) 879-7770 to check availability and reserve your spot. This tour will be offered again in the near future. 


The bus will leave from and return to Overbrook Environmental Education Center, 6134 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19151. Tour will be held rain or shine, but IN CASE OF ICE OR SNOW, it may be postponed. For information, call OEEC the morning of the tour at (215) 879-7770.

Congratulations to Stanley's True Value Hardware

Stanley’s True Value Hardware: Environmental Dedication, Excellent Design

It’s official. PWD named the first Stormwater Pioneer—Stanley’s Hardware in Roxborough. Congratulations to third-generation business owners Mark and Joe Jaconski and their stormwater management design team from Ruggiero Plante Land Design.  At today’s dedication, we recognize the owners and designers of Stanley’s Hardware as role models for business owners and private developers who want to reduce stormwater runoff from their properties. “If everyone does their part, it’s much easier for the City and the Water Department to deal with stormwater,” says Mark.
 
The Jackonski’s built a new, larger store on the site of their existing business in Roxborough.  As part of the project, they were required to meet PWD’s Stormwater Regulations. In addition to doing a fantastic job meeting the regulations, they also overcame several challenges: keeping the store open while building a new one, working around bedrock at various locations on the property, and protecting neighboring properties.

The stormwater solution developed by Ruggiero Plante Land Design includes two underground infiltration basins that collect runoff from the store’s roof and parking area.  To avoid subsurface bedrock, one of the basins is split into two storage beds hydraulically connected with HDPE pipes.  Above ground, the parking lot drains directly into a rain garden through openings in the curb.  The rain garden collects and filters the runoff through plants and engineered soils.

An elaborate, seven-phase construction plan allowed the existing store to remain open until the new one was ready.  Now business is booming.

“We’re hoping to keep trash, debris and other pollution out of the water so that everyone can enjoy a clean river.  If we can play a small part in making the environment better for the next generation, that’s a major plus for us,” says Joe.

Learn more about Stormwater Pioneers.

Ralph Brooks Groundbreaking Ceremony Postponed

Due to the inclement weather, the Ralph Brooks Groundbreaking Ceremony scheduled for this afternoon (11/17/14) will be postponed. Check back for updates--we will confirm a new date and time for this celebration soon.

Introducing Stormwater Pioneers!

More and more Philadelphia businesses are using green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff on their properties. Whether required by PWD regulations or encouraged through incentives, private property owners recognize the important role they play in reducing pollution in our streams when it rains. They are also setting a higher bar with excellent, cost-effective designs.

That’s why PWD recently launched Stormwater Pioneers, a program to highlight the work of innovative business owners and design teams. Stormwater Pioneers acknowledges the very best in stormwater management on private property. The program showcases innovation, excellence, the ability to overcome technical challenges and a true dedication by the property owners, developers, engineers and designers to reduce stormwater runoff.

The first Stormwater Pioneer is Stanley’s True Value Hardware, which has operated as a family-run business in Roxborough for 66 years. After decades of working in a cramped store, brothers Mark and Joseph Jaconski decided to build a new store on their current property. The construction of an expanded facility required the brothers to meet PWD’s Stormwater Regulations. They also decided to protect the environment for the next generation. Their solution was a comprehensive design that utilizes a beautiful rain garden and three underground infiltration basins, which capture runoff and infiltrate it into the ground. 

The property at 5555 Ridge Avenue will be dedicated on Thursday, November 20th at 2 pm. Join Councilman Curtis Jones, Water Department Deputy Commissioner Chris Crockett, the Roxborough Development Corporation and the Central Roxborough Civic Association as they honor the Jaconski brothers and Ruggerio Plante Land Design for their part in protecting the health of Philadelphia’s rivers through excellent site design.

Break Ground at Ralph Brooks Park with Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin

Please join Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin, Deputy Mayor Michael DeBerardinis, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and PWD Deputy Commissioner Chris Crockett for...

WHAT: Ralph Brooks Groundbreaking
WHEN: Monday, November 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM
WHERE: Ralph Brooks Park, 20th and Tasker Streets


Ralph Brooks Tot Lot, a small playground in Point Breeze with basketball courts and a play area for children, was named after a seven year old boy who was shot and paralyzed at the site in 1988. The shooting galvanized the community and the park has carried his name as a symbol against violence ever since. The park, now over 25 years old, has seen better days...and soon it will again.

After years of hard work, fundraising and collaboration, multiple partners have joined forces to revitalize Ralph Brooks Park. Monday will be the groundbreaking for the first phase of the project, which will include new basketball courts, new play equipment, sidewalk improvements, tree plantings, and a rain garden which will manage stormwater runoff from the site.

To learn more about the project and how Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin is involved, check out this video, Connor Barwin As Green As It Gets.

PWD is proud to be involved with a host of partners working on this project including:

To download a .pdf flyer for this groundbreaking event, click here.

Endangered Shortnose Sturgeon Returns to the Schuylkill


Shortnose sturgeon
Shortnosed sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum. Author: Karen Couch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Last summer, just below the Fairmount Dam on the Schuylkill River, an angler managed to catch a shortnose sturgeon, a species of fish that has been on the endangered species list since 1967! While sometimes found in the Delaware River, the shortnose sturgeon has never been found in the Schuylkill—at least not on record. PWD regularly samples fish in the Schuylkill and in their 14 years of sampling below the dam, they have not seen this species.

Spotting this shortnosed sturgeon not only indicates that the species could be coming back, it also indicates that the water quality of the Schuylkill is improving. Researchers have long used levels of dissolved oxygen to gauge water quality—oxygen deficient water is not good for aquatic life. The sturgeon is extremely sensitive to low levels of dissolved oxygen, so finding one in the Schuylkill indicates that the dissolved oxygen levels are on the rise.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a sturgeon, remember it is a protected species and that you should quickly return it to the water. To learn more about the shortnosed sturgeon and other species (not all good!) that inhabit the Schuylkill River, check out this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Green City, Clean Waters Wins Planning Excellence Award

APA Award

Congratulations to our Green City, Clean Waters program for being awarded the American Planning Association (APA) Pennsylvania Chapter's Planning Excellence Award in Implementation! The annual award is given to those whose work exemplifies the best and brightest in Pennsylvania Planning. Jessica Noon and Liz Svekla, planners in the Office of Watersheds at PWD, accepted the award at the PA APA annual conference on October 14, 2014. Pennsylvania Chapter President Brian O’Leary presented the award during a luncheon ceremony in front of 500+ planning peers.

During the conference PWD staff led a tour of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) projects at the Big Green Block. Ten conference participants from communities across Pennsylvania attended the tour to see rain gardens, green roofs, tree trenches and more. Participants learned about GSI design and maintenance; successful partnerships with agencies and stakeholders; stormwater regulations; and the importance of community involvement.

Jessica Noon, Amy Liu, Nicole Hostettler and Liz Svekla from PWD attended the conference sessions and returned to the Water Department with new ideas and inspiration from other parts of Pennsylvania.

Special thanks to APA PA conference committee chairs Susan Shermer, Denny Puko and Keith McNally for coordinating our tour and award!

Greening Lea Playground

Lea Elementary School Playground before the Greening Lea Project
Lea Elementary School Playground before the Greening Lea Project


Lea Elementary School Playground after phase l of the Greening Lea Project

Congratulations to Lea Elementary School which recently completed phase I of its playground transformation project! Previously an asphalt lot, the Greening Lea project will revitalize the school’s 41,000 square foot playground and convert it into a vibrant, fun educational space for the school and the larger community. The Philadelphia Water Department awarded the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS), which is spearheading the project, a $242,000 Stormwater Management Incentives Program grant for the project, which will include a porous play surface, a rain garden and other green tools to manage stormwater runoff. 

WPCNS has been working since 2012 to revamp the play areas and brought in parents, students, volunteer design professionals, the Community Design Collaborative, the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Water Department, who worked together to create a master plan for the schoolyard. On September 19 there was a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the expansion of the existing play set to include a play set from nearby Wilson Elementary School, which was closed in 2013. Beneath both play sets a colorful, squishy porous surface was installed that provides a soft landing for kids while also capturing stormwater that falls on the site.  

The new play area and porous surface are just the beginning of the transformation for Lea. Later phases of the project include installing rain gardens, new trees, a new basketball court, a stage area and more. You can read more about this project in the Philadelphia Tribune and on the WPCNS website.