Come See How Green City, Clean Waters Helped Transform a Vacant Lot into a Community Gem

This is close-up image showing an American shad on the mural at 55th and Hunter Streets. The mural features raised and textured elements that make it pop off the wall.
This detail shows shad depicted in the new West Phila. mural created by Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali. Credit: Philadelphia Water

What happens when the nation’s boldest green infrastructure program meets the nation’s boldest mural arts program in a vacant West Philly lot?

The public is invited see for themselves at the Heston Rain Garden Mural Dedication & Ribbon Cutting event, to be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 3:30 p.m. at 55th and Hunter streets in the Hestonville neighborhood.

Join Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Mural Arts Program, Councilman Curtis Jones, the Hestonville Civic Association and community members in celebrating the first Green City, Clean Waters vacant land transformation, a project that turned an empty lot into a green space that manages stormwater, protects local waterways, and features a vibrant water-themed mural from Philly artists Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali.

Two Philly Free Streets Activity Stops Inspire Wonder About Philly’s Waterways

The Philadelphia Water Dept. will have two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore obscure but fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.
The Philadelphia Water Dept. will host two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.

Have you heard about Philly Free Streets? On Saturday, Sept. 24, the City of Philadelphia will close down 10 miles of streets to cars from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. so that residents can enjoy those spaces for walking, biking, running and just plain fun.

The idea was inspired by the joy many experienced when the Papal visit from Pope Francis closed streets to car traffic, leaving them open for people.
Making this exercise-encouraging day even more fun, City departments will join a number of organizations in offering activity stops along the route where Philly Free Street-ers can learn more about their communities and engage in exciting activities.

Here’s what the Philadelphia Water Department will be offering along the Philly Free Streets route:

Cobbs Cleanup Gets an Assist from Sixers and Philly School Students

Over 100 volunteers from the Philadelphia 76ers, Tilden Middle School and Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery joined Philadelphia Water and Untied By Blue for a Sept. 16 cleanup targeting Cobbs Creek and the surrounding woods. The cleanup was the latest in a series of volunteer events that kicked off this spring and have seen hundreds and hundreds of residents taking on trash in and along local waterways.

Mount Moriah Clean Up Sept 2016 (2)

The day started off with our Waterways Restoration Team (WRT) removing a giant granite orb that had rolled from the cemetery into the Cobbs. This epic feat, achieved with the use of a small bulldozer, had Friends of Mount Moriah President Paulette Rhone very excited—she said the eyesore had been sitting in creek for as long as she could remember:

Photos and Prizes: 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest One of Best Yet

Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Thank you to all who came out to the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, Sept. 10!

Our partners at Parks and Recreation, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission made it possible to have one of the best days on the river yet, with 195 participants and 297 fish caught (and released).

Schuylkill River Restoration Fund: Eight New Investments in River’s Health Announced

David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.
David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.

The Philadelphia Water Department works hard to protect the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers here in Philly, but an essential fact about water is that it’s a shared resource. Our watersheds don’t just provide drinking water for the 1.5 million people in Philadelphia—many millions more depend on these same waters at their kitchen taps, for agriculture, tourism and recreation, and more.

And what happens in the watersheds above Philadelphia matters for the huge number of people living downstream.

For perspective, consider that less than two percent of the watershed providing our source water falls within Philadelphia. When you look at our rivers that way, it becomes clear why a strong partnership approach is such a critical part of the effort to ensure top-quality drinking water.

That’s why we work with organizations like the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, which advocates for the health of one of our main drinking water sources and manages important programs like the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF).

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, PWD joined fellow partners in announcing nearly $279,000 in SRRF grants that will help protect the Schuylkill through eight investments in places ranging from the rural headwaters to the North Light Community Center in urban Manayunk. (Full list of SRRF contributors here).

Joanne Dahme Wins City’s Dilworth Award for Customer Service

Joanne Dahme, General Manager of Public Affairs at the Philadelphia Water Department, with Commissioner Debra McCarty and Mayor Jim Kenney after receiving the Richardson Dilworth Award  for Excellence in Customer Service.
Joanne Dahme, General Manager of Public Affairs at the Philadelphia Water Department (at center), with Commissioner Debra McCarty and Mayor Jim Kenney after receiving the Richardson Dilworth Award  for Excellence in Customer Service.

Here at the Philadelphia Water Department, Joanne Dahme is more than General Manager of the Public Affairs Division.

She is a cheerleader, a champion and a motivational force that keeps the rest of the department on its toes, always striving to serve the people of Philadelphia not just with good service, but with energy and a positive attitude.

Joanne, who originally began her career as a Water Pollution Control Plant engineer 34 years ago, runs circles around all of us at PWD. And then, after work, she goes home, does some actual running, and dedicates her time to her family, her neighborhood, and her other passion—writing novels for young adults.

That kind of energy makes it hard not to get inspired when you work with Joanne.

On September 13, the City of Philadelphia recognized her unwavering dedication to her work and the citizens she serves in a big way: Joanne was given the Richardson Dilworth Award for Excellence in Customer Service, one of the most prestigious awards a City employee can receive.

Urban Greening, Water Quality and Beer: Philadelphia Water at PHS’s South Street Pop Up Garden

As a part of ongoing efforts to showcase the success of Green City, Clean Waters over the last five years, we are partnering with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to host three nights of special events at the PHS Pop Up Garden at 15th and South Streets.

Baxter's Best, a beer brewed by Saint Benjamin Brewing Co. to highlight local water quality and the importance of protecting our rivers, will be on tap.

The garden opens to the public each evening at 5 p.m. with a full menu of food and drinks.
The fun will take place Monday, Sept. 12 through Wednesday, Sept. 14. See our event listings on Facebook + invite your friends: Facebook.com/PhillyH2O

Here’s what you can expect each evening:

Like Philly’s New Water Stations? Help Us Do More

A jogger stops for a cool sip at the Art Museum drinking water station, one of four located along the Schuylkill. Philadelphia Water is looking for vendors with ideas that will bring more stations to neighborhoods across the City.
A woman stops to fill up at the Art Museum drinking water station, one of four located along the Schuylkill. Philadelphia Water is looking for vendors with ideas that will bring more stations to neighborhoods across the City.

This summer is coming to a close with some good news for the #DrinkTapPHL movement.

Plan Philly wrote a great story about our new drinking water stations along the Kelly Drive section of the Schuylkill River Trail, and we’ve been getting lots of great feedback from trail users and on social media. Now, we're looking for ways to bring similar stations to more neighborhoods across the city.