Economic Benefits of Philadelphia Water’s Green Approach = Icing on the Cake

This rain garden is making our rivers cleaner while adding value to a South Philly business and block. Credit: Philadelphia Diner.
This rain garden is making our rivers cleaner while adding value to a South Philly business and block. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

Here at Philadelphia Water, every piece of our expansive, 3,000 mile stormwater system works towards toward one goal: effectively managing the water in our city that comes from storms, whether they’re summertime cloudbursts or January blizzards.

Managing stormwater is a critical and necessary task for any city. In Philadelphia, we address stormwater both to protect our neighborhoods from flooding and to protect our drinking water sources, the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, from pollution.

We don’t get to choose whether or not we deal with stormwater. But, with our innovative 25-year, $2.5 billion Green City, Clean Waters program, we’re finding new ways of managing that water that can have additional benefits for neighborhoods—and maybe even Philadelphia’s economy too.

Calling landscapers and home contractors! Join our Rain Check Team

A rain garden installed by Rain Check contractors. We're looking for qualified contractors to install these stormwater tools. Credit: Philadelphia Water
A rain garden installed by Rain Check contractors. We're looking for qualified contractors to install these stormwater tools. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Philadelphia Water, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Sustainable Business Network are looking for qualified contractors to work with the Rain Check program. Through Rain Check, Philadelphia Water provides free rain barrels  and helps residents pay for landscaping tools that manage stormwater and can beautify their properties.

We need qualified contractors to install stormwater tools such as rain gardens, permeable pavers, downspout planters and rain barrels.
Installation contractors may be landscapers, hardscapers, general home contractors, and professionals from related fields.

Benefits include: free or reduced-cost training, affiliation with our innovative Green City, Clean Waters program, paid consultations, and new customer leads without the cost of advertising. Rain Check work is not intended to be full time, and pairs well with an existing workload.

Depending on participant demand, active contractors can expect to earn $10,000-$35,000 per year. Work will begin in July for qualified contractors.
To be considered for Rain Check, any interested contractors should join us for an upcoming information session to learn more about the program and meet current contractors.

Date: February 12, 2016

Time:

  • Info Session: 8 – 8:45 a.m.
  • Contractor Meeting: 9-11 a.m.

Meeting Location:
PHS Board Room
100 N 20th Street- 5th Floor

RSVP by February 10th at www.phillywatersheds.org/raincheck

More Detailed Information on the Positions:

Rain Garden and Permeable Paver Position Description

Rain Barrel and Downspout Planter Position Description

The Great Melt Is Here ... Are Your Storm Drains Clear?

Now that snow is melting, it's very important to make sure storm drains are clear. We have crews on the job, but we could use a hand too. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Now that snow is melting, it's very important to make sure storm drains are clear. We have crews on the job, but we could use a hand too. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Winter Storm Jonas surely lived up to—and even exceeded—all the Snowpocalypse/Snowzilla hype.

That meant plenty of sledding and snowman building on Saturday and Sunday when it was cold. But with nearly two feet of snow now starting to melt, our winter wonderland is dissolving into a soupy mess that we want to make sure enters the inlets so it does not create roadway flooding or icing conditions as the frigid temperatures return each night.

Worried About Salt? Smart Winter Deicing Tips to Protect Rivers, Creeks and Pets

The beautiful Tacony Creek in winter. Smart use of deicing products can help minimize impacts on our watersheds. Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.
The beautiful Tacony Creek in winter. Smart use of deicing products can help minimize impacts on our watersheds. Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.

If you're the kind of person who thinks about the health of our urban watersheds, you've probably wondered if using too much salt on driveways and sidewalks can hurt Philly's rivers and creeks.

As snow piles up in the winter, we often turn to salt or other solutions to melt snow and ice as an important public safety measure that saves lives on our roadways every year.

Still, it's important to know that all deicers can be harmful to our drinking water supply and the environment when overused, so the best strategy is to read the labels and use as directed only when needed. High concentrations of salt can damage and kill vegetation and harm freshwater ecosystems and fish. Excess salt can also seep into the ground and destroy soil structure, which can lead to erosion and further pollute waterways.

Use these winter deicing tips to help protect our watersheds:

#PHLSnow Tips: Don’t Let Snow Slow Response to Water and Fire Emergencies!

If you have a pipe burst, we need to access the curb box seen above to shut off water in an emergency. Make sure it's free of snow and ice to reduce the chance of major property damage. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
If you have a pipe burst, we need to access the curb box seen above to shut off water in an emergency. Make sure it's free of snow and ice to reduce the chance of major property damage. Credit: PWD

Our first real snowstorm of the winter looks like it could be a big one, with Thursday forecasts calling for between a foot and 18 inches within the city over the weekend.

While we’re usually busy dealing with that wetter form of snow (rain!), the white stuff comes with a special set of challenges and risks—both for Philadelphia Water’s infrastructure and our crews out on the streets.

Ahead of the storm, we’re asking citizens around Philadelphia give us a hand once the snow falls. Your assistance helps to make sure our crews can efficiently tackle any potential problems as they come up.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • When shoveling, do not pile snow on top of storm drain inlets. Blocked storm drains can create flooding.
  • Make sure all fire hydrants are clear of snow, visible, and easily accessible.
  • Make sure your valve cover (see image at top) and other utility access points are clear of snow and ice and are easily visible to ensure the fastest shutoff in an emergency.

MLK Day of Service Will Help Philly Rivers. Here's How:

Dozens of bags of “floatable” trash pulled from the Delaware River during a 2015 volunteer cleanup. MLK Day of Service volunteers who participate in neighborhood trash removal will also be helping our rivers because cleaner streets = cleaner creeks and rivers. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Dozens of bags of “floatable” trash pulled from the Delaware River during a 2015 volunteer cleanup. MLK Day of Service volunteers who participate in neighborhood trash removal will also be helping our rivers because cleaner streets = cleaner creeks and rivers. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

As far as resumes go, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s is pretty hard to top.

A 200,000-person march on Washington that was crucial in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act? Check.

A year-long bus boycott that eventually led to a Supreme Court ruling declaring segregated buses unconstitutional? Check.

The list of Dr. King’s accomplishments is long, but one thing you don’t hear too much about is King the environmentalist. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t connections between his activism and the green movement that helped to bring us transformational legislation like the Clean Water Act.

Despite the fact his 1968 assassination predated the first Earth Day by two years, many credit MLK’s work as laying the foundation for the environmental justice movement—a movement guided by the belief that all people, no matter their race or income level, have an equal right to things like safe, clean drinking water and health-promoting green space.

No matter how you think of Dr. King’s legacy, the fact is, much of the work that will be done in his honor during the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service—an event being touted as the biggest MLK Day volunteer effort in the nation—will help our rivers.

How?

Join Us: Green Infrastructure Planning Meeting for Point Breeze Vacant Lots

We want to hear from Point Breeze residents as we explore plans that could turn two vacant lots into green space that will make Philly's rivers cleaner. Click to see our flyer.
We want to hear from Point Breeze residents as we explore plans to turn two vacant lots into green space that will make Philly's rivers cleaner.

You’re invited! Join Philadelphia Water and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office to discuss plans for rain gardens on two publicly owned vacant lots in Point Breeze. Rain gardens are specially designed gardens that soak up stormwater when it rains.

Two-Year Rate Change Requested to Replace Water Mains, Sewers, Aging Infrastructure and More

Philadelphia Water crews replace a main in the Graduate Hospital area. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Philadelphia Water crews replace a main in the Graduate Hospital area. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

Today, we notified City Council and the City’s independent Water Rate Board that Philadelphia Water needs to request a rate increase that would go into effect on July 1, 2016.

The increase we proposed amounts to 11.7 percent over a two-year period, and would raise the typical residential bill $8 per month by 2018. The chart below breaks down the changes a typical residential customer would see:

 

We know that no one likes to hear about rates going up. We don’t ask for a rate change unless we need it, and we want to make sure our customers have the all the facts.