#InfrastructureMatters: Infrastructure Week Highlights Investments in Philly’s Water System

All this week, we’ll be taking a look at the broad range of water infrastructure that Philadelphia Water maintains to make sure people, businesses and City departments have constant access to clean, top-quality water.

This exploration of our ongoing work is a part of Infrastructure Week (May 16-23), a national movement highlighting the importance of infrastructure and infrastructure funding. This year’s focus: #InfrastructureMatters.

Most people know that clean water matters. Recent events have raised awareness about the importance of safe public drinking water, and people across America are thinking about their local water supply today in way that they haven’t in decades.

But too often, people don’t realize how valuable water—and the infrastructure needed to protect and deliver it—is until something goes wrong. Infrastructure Week is about recognizing that #InfrastructureMatters so that we take care of what we have and invest in the vast water system that has evolved in Philadelphia over the last 200 years.

Commissioner McCarty, West Philly Kids Celebrate 5 Years of Green City, Clean Waters at Green Schoolyard

Greening Henry C. Lea School - Ribbon Cutting

Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra A. McCarty joined students and members of the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools at Henry C. Lea Elementary on May 10 to celebrate five years of Green City, Clean Waters and the completion of a new schoolyard featuring three rain gardens, nearly two dozen new trees, and porous paving and play surfaces.

Philadelphia Water to Provide Updates on East Park Reservoir Work

This graphic shows the location of two 30 million-gallon drinking water tanks currently being constructed at East Park Reservoir. Credit: Philadelphia Water
This graphic shows the location of two 30 million-gallon drinking water tanks currently being constructed at East Park Reservoir. Click the image to see the full project fact sheet. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Representatives from Philadelphia Water will be at the May 11 Strawberry Mansion CDC meeting to provide updates on construction at the East Park Reservoir.

Topics include the work schedule, progress on the project, upcoming work, and info on how residents can get newsletter updates. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

Embrace the Rain: Get in on Our Rain Check Program Today!

It seems as if everyone in Philadelphia has had enough of the wet spring we've been having.

Picking up on those soggy feelings, CBS Philly did a short segment on one great way to cope with all the showers—our Rain Check program.
Check out the rain barrel setup and beautiful planter in the video below, and think about signing up for Rain Check to get a stormwater tool for your home:

While being part of the Rain Check program won't chase the clouds away, you can help to keep excess stormwater out our sewers and protect Philly's rivers while getting a free barrel or reduced-cost downspout planter, rain garden or permeable patio. Water collected in rain barrels can be used for things like watering flowers, and planters and rain gardens are a great way of adding landscaping to your property that also happens to protect the environment.

Click here to learn about other green home improvement projects and to sign up for a Rain Check workshop that will help you find the right stormwater tool for your home!

Cliveden Park Celebrates 5 Years of Green City, Clean Waters!

The terraced rain gardens of Cliveden Park in fall (top) and spring. The structures provide beautiful landscaping while managing stormwater from nearby streets and protecting local streams. Credit: Philadelphia Water
The terraced rain gardens of Cliveden Park in fall (top) and spring. The structures provide beautiful landscaping while managing stormwater from nearby streets and protecting local streams. Philadelphia Water

Join Philadelphia Water next Saturday, May 14, at Cliveden Park, located at Chew Ave. and E. Johnson Street in Mt. Airy, from 9 a.m. to noon for a special Love Your Park Week event with the Friends of Cliveden and Fairmount Water Works educators.

We will be cleaning up this gorgeous public space and showing off Cliveden’s amazing green stormwater infrastructure with a tour exploring how water flows through the park’s unique terraced rain gardens, nourishing the native plants and soaking naturally into the ground instead of overwhelming Mt. Airy’s sewers.

The event is part of our ongoing 5 Down celebrations highlighting the thousands of new green stormwater tools added to Philadelphia neighborhoods through public and private investment during the first five years of the 25-year Green City, Clean Waters program. Working together, the green infrastructure tools now found at hundreds of sites across the city help to keep over 600 million gallons of polluted water out of our rivers and streams each year.

Make Your Block Pop: Get Watershed Markers for Your Sidewalks!

Free markers and installation kits will be available for pickup next Tuesday at the Water Works
Free markers and installation kits will be available for pickup next Tuesday at the Water Works—just request a kit here!

Last year, Philadelphia Water crews cleaned over 100,000 storm drains in neighborhoods all over the city. While that number is impressive, we still need your help—and not just in the never-ending effort to keep storm drains clear of trash, leaves, snow and other debris.

We need help educating neighbors about how these easily overlooked pieces of infrastructure act as direct links to local watersheds. Not enough people know that what gets dumped on your street—be it litter, dog waste or used motor oil—also gets washed into your local waterways, and that can be bad news for water quality and the wildlife we're working hard to protect and restore.

To drive this neighborhood-to-nature connection home, we created new storm drain markers for each of Philly’s seven watersheds featuring seven different aquatic creatures native to local waterways. Read more about the markers here.

Interested in giving us a hand while adding a little color to your block, discovering your watershed’s aquatic creature and helping your community understand its role in the urban water cycle? Visit our storm drain marking page to locate your watershed and sign up for a free marking it.

In addition to being a cool thing to do for your neighborhood, storm drain marking can be a great educational volunteer activity for schools and community groups, and even works as a team-building project for your workplace!

To make getting your free kit easy, we will be offering a special pickup day at the Fairmount Water Works (600 Water Works Drive) on Tuesday, May 10 from 3-6 p.m.

We had nine groups mark drains for Philly Spring Cleanup in April, but with over 75,000 storm drains, we still have a long way to go! Order your kit here to get started!

Join us at the Science Fest this Weekend and Celebrate 5 Years of Green City, Clean Waters!

 How Do You Play a Part in the Green City, Clean Waters Plan for the Future? Find Out at Science Fest!

Students filled out cards that let them tell their Green City, Clean Waters story on Earth Day. You can take part and tell your story at Science Fest! Credit: Philadelphia WaterStudents filled out cards that let them tell their Green City, Clean Waters story on Earth Day. You can take part and tell your story at Science Fest! Credit: Philadelphia Water

This Saturday, Philadelphia Water will be celebrating the fifth year of Philly’s revolutionary 25-year Green City, Clean Waters program at the Franklin Institute Science Carnival, part of this year’s Philadelphia Science Festival.

As it happens, the event will be at Penn’s Landing along the banks of the Delaware River, one of the waterways that will benefit the most as Green City, Clean Waters continues to grow over the next 20 years.

Saturday: Get Rid of Old Meds the Smart Way


Image Source: DEA

Have prescription drugs you need to get rid of, Philly?

People with unwanted or expired prescriptions often want to get rid them to avoid abuse or keep them away from children. Simply tossing drugs in the trash, however, can be problematic.

In the past, that dilemma caused many people to flush drugs down the toilet or wash them down the drain. More and more people today realize that doing so can have negative impacts on our waterways and the aquatic life that lives there.

Luckily for those who care about our water, locations across our region will be collecting old drugs for safe disposal this Saturday.