New Signs to Welcome Neighborhood Green Infrastructure Projects

New decals near Hagert and Coral streets announce an upcoming Green City, Clean Waters project. Credit: Philadelphia Water
New decals near Hagert and Coral streets announce an upcoming Green City, Clean Waters project. Credit: Philadelphia Water

With so many Green City, Clean Waters green infrastructure projects planned for neighborhoods all over the city, we at Philadelphia Water are always looking for ways to let residents know about upcoming work that will improve stormwater management in their area.

In that spirit, we created colorful new street decals that will be placed in neighborhoods where construction for Green City, Clean Waters projects is scheduled to start within six months.

What’s Going on with Green City, Clean Waters in South Philly West of Broad?

Point Breeze residents attend a Rain Check workshop and learn about local Green City, Clean Waters projects on Aug. 24, 2016.
Point Breeze residents attend a Rain Check workshop and learn about local Green City, Clean Waters projects on Aug. 24, 2016.

Last night, we highlighted some of our local Green City, Clean Waters projects at a Rain Check workshop in Point Breeze. Residents were able to sign up for a free rain barrel or take steps to get reduced-cost green tools for their home, including downspout planters and rain-absorbing pavement.

Amanda Krakovitz, a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) program who is working with Philadelphia Water to engage communities around Green City, Clean Waters investments, provided information about area projects designed to improve local streets and parks while managing stormwater runoff.

For those who missed the meeting but want to learn about some of the local Green City, Clean Waters projects proposed or in the works, we’re providing a quick look at our South Philly projects west of Broad Street below.
You can also register for upcoming Rain Check workshops here.

Green City, Clean Waters Named ‘Climate Hero’ at Sustain PHL Celebration

Philadelphia Water picked up the Sustain PHL Climate Hero Award (center) on Aug. 18. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Philadelphia Water picked up the Sustain PHL Climate Hero Award (center) on Aug. 18. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Philadelphia Water and the Green City, Clean Waters program received the first-ever Climate Hero Award at Sustain PHL, a citywide sustainability celebration held before a packed house at the WHYY studios on August 18.

Adaptation, Mitigation, City Greening and Water Cleaning – Philadelphia Water Tackles Climate Change


Top Left:
Solar panels at our Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant; Bottom Left: Part of our Sewage Geothermal Installation, located at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant; Right: Trees and plants at hundreds of sites citywide represent a green infrastructure network well-suited for coming climate change impacts.

Philadelphia Water was recently nominated as a “Climate Hero” for the first-ever SustainPHL, a citywide sustainability celebration hosted by the great people behind Green Philly Blog. The event will take place on August 18 at the WHYY studios on 6th Street, across from Independence Hall.

By their definition, Climate Hero nominees “…advocate to bring climate change as a central part of our conversation or take action to fight climate change.”

So what puts us in this category along with Swarthmore College and #ClimateDisrupted? How can a water department like Philadelphia Water be a “Climate Hero”?

A better question might be: how could we not get involved in climate change?

Update to Rio vs. Philly Water Quality Blog: The Trash Problem

Stormwater runoff pollution isn’t just about the things that can make you sick. Litter from our streets gets washed into local waterways, hurting wildlife and nature’s beauty. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Stormwater runoff pollution isn’t just about the things that can make you sick. Litter from our streets gets washed into local waterways, hurting wildlife and nature’s beauty. Credit: Philadelphia Water 

Alan Robinson leads the Schuylkill Navy River Stewards committee, an organization that partners with Philadelphia Water to support our waterway trash removal efforts. After reading last week’s post on Rio’s water quality problems and what we do differently in Philadelphia, Robinson noted that stormwater runoff doesn’t just wash microscopic pollutants like pathogens and chemicals into our rivers and creeks.

His pet peeve is, in a purely physical sense, a larger problem.

Philly Fun Fish Fishing Fest and Coast Day: An Action-Packed Day on Our Waterfronts


The yellow line on the map above marks the area where the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest will be held. Click for a larger image.

We've teamed up with a number of partners to make September 10 a truly special day for those looking to explore what Philly's rivers have to offer. If you've been hearing stories about the amazing comeback our local waterways are experiencing, this is your chance to grab the family and see it for yourself!

The Philly Fun Fishing Fest, sponsored by Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission and Schuylkill Banks, will be held at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Rio vs. Philly: Our Water Quality Wins By a Mile

Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.
Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.

With all eyes on Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, one big health concern right up there with the Zika virus is the water quality in rivers, bays and surf around Rio de Janeiro. While athletes no doubt would prefer to focus their attention on winning, the risk of getting violently ill from the very water they’ll compete in and on is a serious hurdle aquatic athletes will have to contend with this year.

Stories like this July 26 report from the New York Times offer an alarming glimpse of what happens when we fail to protect our waterways from pollution. Here’s what Olympians in sports like swimming and kayaking may (quite literally) get a taste of during the Rio games, according to the Times:

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “superbacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

Philadelphia Water, On the Water: Boats a Powerful Tool in Fight Against Litter

Left to Right: Lance Butler, Dimitri Forte, Declan Patterson, and Richard Anthes. Philadelphia Water’s Watersheds Field Services Group deploys a fleet of three small boats to reach trash in waterways that others can’t. Credit: Brian Rademaekers.
Left to Right: Lance Butler, Dimitri Forte, Declan Patterson, and Richard Anthes. Philadelphia Water’s Watersheds Field Services Group deploys a fleet of three small boats to reach trash in waterways that others can’t. Credit: Brian Rademaekers.   

During a typical litter-hunting trip in early June, Philadelphia Water’s Lance Butler was operating the department’s new 20-foot workboat along the banks of the Schuylkill River just below the Fairmount Water Works. Edging the bow of the craft just close enough to the rocky embankment, Butler made it possible for his three crew members to scoop up the otherwise unreachable trash that peppered the water and shoreline.

This was the workboat’s maiden voyage, and it was already proving to be an invaluable tool in the department’s fight against floating litter.

The activity attracted the attention of a young man sitting on a nearby bench. Within a few minutes, he approached the boat and asked Butler a question—could he have a trash bag?

“What for?” Butler asked.

“To pick up trash,” the man replied. “It’s such a beautiful park.”

An hour later, Butler and his crew—referred to within department as the “Watersheds Field Services Group,” and, less formally, as “the skimming guys”—were on the opposite side of the river, their boat growing ever-more crowded with bags containing the typical flotsam of plastic bottles and bags, Styrofoam cups and other debris that had washed into the breathtaking waters below Fairmount Dam.

On the other side of the river, the spontaneous volunteer was still at it, his bag of litter now bulging to the point of overflowing.

“That guy,” Butler said, “is amazing.”