#DrinkTapPHL

Schuylkill River Trail Water Stations Closed for Winter

Four water stations along the Schuylkill River Trail between East Falls and the Fairmount Water Works were closed in November 2017 for winterization and will reopen spring 2018.
Water stations along Kelly Drive were closed following the Phila. Marathon for winterization and will reopen in spring 2018. Credit: Laura Copeland and Frank Gaffney, Philadelphia Water Department.

Following the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon, Philadelphia Water Department crews shut down and winterized all four Schuylkill River Trail water stations located between the Falls Bridge and Fairmount Water Works. The much-used features—offering fountains, bottle filling stations and ground-level bowls for dog walkers—are taken offline each winter to guard against freezing temperatures that can cause burst plumbing.

When spring temperatures allow, Water crews will perform maintenance, flushing and testing before restoring service to the stations.

First introduced in 2016, the stations provided trail users with more than 21,000 gallons of drinking water between late April and mid-November during the 2017 season. In terms of the volume of plastic, single-use bottles kept out of the waste stream, the stations distributed enough water to fill roughly 159,100 half-liter disposable bottles.

In addition to providing free access to top-quality drinking water for daily trail users, the water stations reduced waste and litter generated by marquee events held along Philadelphia’s scenic Schuylkill River waterfront.

The stations provided enough water to offset nearly 2,200 single-use plastic bottles during the 2017 Head of the Schuylkill Regatta alone. During the one-day Dragon Boat Festival, spectators and competitors drank enough Philly tap to fill nearly 1,700 16-ounce plastic bottles.

The Philadelphia Water Department is working with partners in the Office of Sustainability, Parks and Recreation, the School District, Public Health and other City departments to expand access to drinking water and promote Philadelphia’s top-quality water as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

Increased access to drinking water stations will also encourage refillable bottle use, furthering the City’s Clean PHL anti-litter and Zero Waste initiatives.

To get alerts about water station openings, subscribe to Philadelphia Water Department alerts with your email and mobile number here.

Your Pipes Can Freeze Too!
Note: Homeowners should be winterizing their plumbing, too. From shutting off outdoor hose connections to insulating basement windows near the water meter, there are number of things homeowners can do to prevent extreme cold from causing damage that a can lead to frozen pipes, flooded basements, and costly repairs. You can check out some cold-weather tips here and in the video below. 


Keeping out the Cold from Philadelphia Water Department on Vimeo.

Philadelphia Water Department’s Kelly Drive Water Stations Set to Return

Thumbs up for water access: The Kelly Drive water stations will be flowing again soon.
Thumbs up for water access: The Kelly Drive water stations will be flowing again soon.

With the return of warmer weather, we're preparing to restore service at our four Schuylkill River Trail/Kelly Drive water stations and plan to have them online by the end of April. The stations made their debut in spring 2016 and were winterized and closed in late November 2016 to protect the internal plumbing from freezing temperatures.

Kelly Drive Water Stations Head to Hibernation After a Thirsty Season

Schuylkill River Trail users fill up at one four water stations located along Kelly Drive. People filling up at the stations saved about 141,650 single-use half-liter disposable bottles this season. Credit: PWD
Schuylkill River Trail users fill up at one four water stations located along Kelly Drive. People filling up at the stations saved about 156,025 single-use half-liter disposable bottles this season. Credit: PWD

Following an enthusiastic welcome in spring and a summer of heavy use, we’ve winterized the four new water stations installed along the Kelly Drive stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Shutting the stations down as we approach winter involves turning off the water, draining the lines, and giving each of the units a good cleaning. We know: it’s sad to see these amazing assets for trail users go into hibernation, but it’s a necessary precaution needed to make sure that extreme cold doesn’t lead to frozen and burst pipes during the colder months of the year.

‘Refill Reuse Regatta’ Champions #DrinkTapPHL

Philadelphia Water and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta are teaming up to reduce litter and advocate for public drinking water.
Philadelphia Water and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta are teaming up to reduce litter and advocate for public drinking water. 

We are proud to support the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (HOSR) again this year as they take the fight against wasteful single-use water bottles to the banks of the Schuylkill River.

The regatta’s organizers recognize the incredible value of our top-quality drinking water and want more people to choose reusable bottles, especially when using our waterfront parks. They’ll be making it easier for the estimated 40,000-50,000 spectators and competitors to do just that at this year’s race, to be held October 29-30 at the Grandstands along Kelly Drive.

They’re even giving the effort a name this year—the “Refill Reuse Regatta.”

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.

Innovative Infrastructure: New Stations Expand Drinking Water Access, Curb Plastic Waste

Infrastructure Week 2016: Drinking Water Stations

When people hear the word “infrastructure,” they think about roads, bridges and (if we’re lucky!) pipes.

But for Infrastructure Week 2016, we’re looking at elements of Philadelphia’s water system that might not come to mind when you think about infrastructure. (So far, we’ve looked at the thousands of new green tools created through the Green City, Clean Waters program and the 75,000+ storm drains found on city streets.)

Today, we’re looking at a brand-new kind of infrastructure that rethinks an old standard—the water fountain.

As Philadelphia celebrates the 90th Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the world's largest high school regatta, Philadelphia Water will unveil a new network of four eye-catching public water stations located along Kelly Drive.

New Filling Stations, 12,000 Free Reusable Bottles to Fight Plastic Bottle Litter

This graph shows that 55 percent of litter collected from the Schuylkill during recent skimmer boat trips was plastic, and 77 percent of that was platic bottles. SourceL Lance Butler, Philadelphia Water.
Clogging our Rivers: This graph shows that over 55 percent of litter collected from the Schuylkill River during recent skimmer boat trips was plastic, and 77 percent of that was plastic bottles. Click the graph for a larger image. Source: Environmental Restoration & Maintenance,
Office of Watersheds, Philadelphia Water.

Philadelphia Water and a coalition of people and groups who care about our rivers, parks and planet are taking the fight against wasteful single-use water bottles to the Schuylkill River.

Mayor Michael Nutter will join partners in this campaign at Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Drive on Friday, Oct. 23 at 12 p.m. in announcing a new network of water bottle filling stations that will stretch along Kelly Drive from East Falls to Boathouse Row, providing convenient access to free drinking water on one of the region’s most popular recreational trails.

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