William Dick School Opens Community Playground

Just in time for summer break, the City of Philadelphia with the Trust for Public Land unveiled a new playground at William Dick Elementary on Tuesday. Residents of North Philadelphia now have the opportunity to spend their days outside at the new schoolyard located on Diamond Street near 24th.

Students opened the ribbon cutting celebration with a local rendition of Pharrell William’s “Happy” and ended it with an impressive gymnastics routine. In between, Mayor Nutter kicked off a round of acknowledgements and congratulations to all the groups responsible for remaking the asphalt parking lot into a much needed green space.

William Dick Elementary is the first Green 2015 project to finish construction. Green 2015 is a plan developed by PennPraxis and put into action by Mayor Nutter with Parks and Recreation, the Water Department, the School District and the Trust for Public Land with funding support from the William Penn Foundation. The goal of the plan is to create 500 new acres of public green space by 2015.

Students from the elementary school played an important role in redesigning the William Dick playground, choosing the play equipment, plants for the rain garden, locations for new trees and important amenities like benches. PWD constructed a rain garden to manage the stormwater runoff from the play area. During the school year, the green space will be utilized for teaching children about the importance of green infrastructure and how the rain garden helps maintain water quality. In addition to a rain garden, the playground includes benches for relaxation, spinning cups, and additional space for playing sports. The new and improved playground will be open to the public every day -- helping achieve Mayor Nutter’s vision of exposing at least 75 percent of the city’s population to green space within a 10-minute walk.

The Wharton Street Lofts Incorporates a Green Roof

There is more than meets the eye in South Philadelphia. Wharton Street Lofts, formerly known as the Annunciation School, is offering the tenants of its 45 apartments an extra amenity - a green roof deck. Open to all residents, these green roof tops were made possible via a partnership created through PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters. Developer, Leo Addimando. was awarded a grant through PWD’s Stormwater Management Incentive Program (SMIP). Administered jointly with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), this innovative program provides grants to non-residential PWD customers to support investments in green stormwater infrastructure. In addition to the building’s green roof, the developer has incorporated a rain garden in the parking lot, as well as two subsurface infiltration beds, and street trees.

To learn more about the SMIP program and how your business can more effectively manage stormwater, please, Click Here.  

Drexel University Awarded Contract to Evaluate Heat Recovery from Wastewater

Over 80% of the energy used to heat the water in our homes & businesses goes down the drain! Starting this month, Drexel University will begin researching how we can recover some of that heat from our wastewater. Funded by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the research will be led by principal investigator, Dr. Charles Haas of Drexel University and Paul Kohl, Energy Program Manager at PWD and a Drexel PhD candidate.  Underground, the temperature of our wastewater remains stable year round as it is insulated from the air temperature above it. This means we can use energy from our sewage to warm buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer. Drexel’s “Sewage Geothermal” research will build on existing work at the Water Department to recover  energy from our waste water. In fact, PWD installed sewage geothermal technology at our Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant in February 2012. The installation uses thermal energy to heat the plant’s compressor building and pipe gallery space, saving PWD $18,000 annually.

Green City, Clean Waters Information Sessions

Want to learn more about the green projects coming to Philadelphia?

Come out to our Green City, Clean Waters Information Session next Wednesday, June 11th. This is a great opportunity to learn all about Green City, Clean Waters, including information on how you can provide input on potential green storm water infrastructure projects in your neighborhood by filling out our Community Input Form. Please go to: http://www.phillywatersheds.org/infosession, to learn more about this amazing opportunity! It is important to RSVP (via form) by June 10th, so that we may be better prepared to talk about your individual neighborhood projects.

Where: Municipal Services Building / City Hall; 16th Floor, Room Y
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm

*Proper photo I.D. is required to enter the MSB.
For any questions, please contact Jeanne Waldowski at 215-685-4945

Two Rivers One Water

It’s summer time! What could be better than spending your summer outside in warm weather, then cooling off with a refreshing glass of cold water? Philadelphia’s water has not always been as clean as it is today. In fact, Philadelphia currently enjoys watersheds that are cleaner than they have been in over a century. To ensure our water remains healthy, PWD works behind the scenes to produce about 250 million gallons of high quality drinking water every day.

PWD is excited to start our Two Rivers One Water campaign to keep people in the know about their connection to our water. Take a look at this poster to see how you can lend a hand this summer to make sure our water stays pure. A few ways to help include bagging your dog’s waste, limiting chemical usage, and keeping your storm drains clear.

Fish Food for Thought

PWD's Lance Butler and Joe Perillo were working last week and found this very large striped bass. Pretty amazing to see aquatic life like this from a river that was once too polluted to support it. Lance had this to say:

"Being a PWD scientist for over 15 years, very little surprises me when I'm out in the field performing assessments, surveys, etc. I've had the rare opportunity to witness first-hand the trending resurgence of many aquatic species in the Schuylkill and Delaware drainages within and around Philly.

In short, fifteen years ago, if anyone said to me that there are 40"+ striped bass, thousands of river herring (blueback and Alewife) and Shad, and over 50+ species of fish in the lower Schuylkill, I would have probably said that they were lying. Today, that "myth" is reality and this picture is one that exemplifies this.

And although we face many issues, both legacy and future, with regards to our urban ecosystems (ranging from acute and chronic pollution events, invasive species introductions, climate change and sea level rise, etc.), I firmly believe that we (i.e., PWD and its partners) are on the correct path to improving the health and integrity of our aquatic resources."

Reducing runoff one—privately owned—acre at a time

Green Roof on Philadelphia Central Library

While PWD has been making great strides in greening hundreds of formerly impervious publicly owned surfaces, most of the land and structures in the city are in private hands. The real impact on diverting stormwater from streams and rivers can only happen if we can get private landowners to reduce runoff on their properties.

To do this, we offer $5 million each year in stormwater grants to provide non-residential PWD customers with financial incentives to manage stormwater runoff with the added incentive of reducing their stormwater bill. This year—the second year for the program—we awarded $4.7 million to 17 projects that will capture runoff totaling 77 greened acres. Non-residential customers in Special Services Districts can also apply collectively for additional funding through Business Improvement District Grants.

Our plan for the coming fiscal year is to continue to increase awareness of this program among non-residential PWD customers so we can exceed the 77 acres from the past year.

For residential customers, we continue to offer our Rain Check program, which includes a free stormwater property assessment, guidance in picking stormwater tools, and a subsidy for purchasing and installing downspout planters, porous paving and other tools.

PWD Engineers Win Watershed Milestone Awards!

The Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) has recognized two PWD engineers from the Office of Watersheds with their annual Watershed Milestone award!

Hasan Malik, PWD’s Stormwater Maintenance Manager was recognized with the Friend of the TTF Watershed award. Since he was a teenager, Hasan has been a leader both in the Northeast and throughout the City. An engineering student at Temple University, he founded the Northeast Tree Tenders, part of the PHS program, in 2008. Working with this Tree Tenders® group, he has been responsible for planting hundreds of trees in Northeast neighborhoods

Environmental Engineer, Rick Howley was jointly awarded TTF’s Watershed Municipal Leader award with Rob Armstrong from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. As a team, these leaders garner support for the Tacony Creek Park and ensure that stream and trail design respects both the park environment and public concerns. Their partnership demonstrates that it is critical that City agencies work together – through the land and water partnership — to make Tacony Creek Park a community and natural destination.

Tickets are still available for the awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 22! Additional information is available at: http://bit.ly/1gNCpc7 

To learn more about the TTF Watershed Partnership and their annual Watershed Milestones Awards, please visit www.ttfwatershed.org.