Birding in Tacony Creek Park!

Have you ever been bird watching?! Well now’s your chance to partake in the exciting experience for free! Don’t miss your chance to see a variety of Philadelphia’s birds, including woodpeckers, chickadees and hawks!

There will be two bird watching events that will take place in Tacony Creek Park (I street and Tacony Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19124) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The first event will be this Saturday, December 7, a “warm up” for the annual international bird census conducted by the Audubon Society!

The second event will take place Saturday, January 11 as a part of the Philadelphia mid-winter Bird Census!

Remember to dress warmly!

Binoculars and delicious treats (donuts and hot chocolate) will be provided.

PWD Opens Its First Biogas-to-Energy Facility

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Co-gen Ribbon Cutting

Last Friday, City officials joined the Philadelphia Water Department and Ameresco as Mayor Nutter cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of PWD’s new biogas co-generation facility at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant. This co-generation facility is Philadelphia’s first wastewater biogas-to-energy facility. It uses methane, a byproduct of sewage treatment, to generate about 5.6 megawatts of power for the Northeast Pollution Control Plant, producing approximately 85% of all electrical energy currently used by the facility. It is also expected to reduce carbon emissions by 22,000 tons. Ameresco, Inc. helps support renewable energy solutions for facilities throughout North America and has partnered with PWD on the co-gen facility.

“This project is an example of PWD’s commitment to develop waste recovery programs at all of our facilities as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,” remarked Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug at the ribbon cutting.  “Recovering the hidden fuel in our wastewater treatment processes helps to diversify our energy portfolio, while improving the environment through innovative, green technology.”

Visit our energy efficiency page for more information about this facility, and PWD’s other sustainable energy programs.

Greenbuild 2013!

Greenbuild, the biggest, greenest, and most sustainable convention made its way to Philadelphia this year. The United States Green Building Council celebrated the 20th year of their weeklong conference and expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Philadelphia Water joined over 900 other exhibitors to talk about our City’s exciting Green City, Clean Waters program.

On Thursday, the 21st, Water Commissioner, Howard Neukrug, gave a presentation with Mami Hara and Marc Cammarata. Participants learned more about Philadelphia’s $2 billion investment in green stormwater infrastructure. The presentation also highlighted the program’s goal to create a more sustainable, healthier and livable city. The lecture ended with a breakout session where participants discussed a variety of challenges faced in implementing green stormwater tools. Working together to develop solutions, participants gained a better understanding of how to overcome those barriers and how green infrastructure could play a role in their cities.

Greenbuild attendees could also register for a PWD led tour. Titled, Civil Engineering: Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Leadership, Water Department staff led visitors through the new biogas cogeneration water treatment facility and the Big Green Block. An area in Kensington, this former brownfield site, is now home to a LEED certified highschool and revitalized green space for recreation.

It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Aquaman!

Our Water Commissioner, Howard Neukrug, is featured on the cover of the latest edition of Grid Magazine as one of several superheroes of sustainability in Philadelphia.

Commisioner Neukrug started off in drinking water treatment at the Philadelphia Water Department in 1978 and began PWD’s Office of Watersheds in 1999. As director of the Office of Watersheds, Commissioner Neukrug led the department in creating the vision and the plan for Green City, Clean Waters, Philadelphia’s long term plan to clean up our waterways. Appointed Water Commissioner in 2011 by Mayor Nutter, Howard Neukrug is focused on making PWD a sustainable 21st Century urban water utility – one that fully meets the complex responsibilities and opportunities of our time and our environment.

Check out the full article in Grid to learn more about our Aquaman and our Philadelphia’s other sustainability heroes.

The Land is Ours!

For the last fifteen years, neighbors cleaned and protected the remaining 6 acres of the Anderson and Woodbrook land not yet touched by development in the Wissahickon. After learning that developers were seeking to build a condominium complex of over twenty five 1,200 square foot houses, neighbors campaigned to save the land. With tremendous support from over 150 neighbors, Chestnut Hill Historical Society, Friends of Wissahickon, local elected officials, and City council, WEP set out with a mission to transfer the 6 acres of land from the developers to Fairmount Park.

After an arduous 15 years, WEP finally heard the news they were waiting for (drum roll please) On October 8, 2013, WEP received an e-mail from Mark Focht, First Deputy Comissioner Officer of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation reading “It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I share with you that the City’s acquisition of the Wissahickon East parcel is complete. It is officially ours!”

The next step will be to create a small, environmentally-friendly walk-to-park, which can be accomplished by the help of the City, FOW, professionals and community members who volunteer their time.

Photo Credits: Wissahickon East Project

WEP has planned their first clean up day for December 7, 2013 from 10am to 1pm. Work tools will be provided and no prior experience is necessary. To volunteer your service, e-mail with your name, address, e-mail, phone #, and number of people attending. 

Congratulations to all on the acquisition of the East Wissahickon land!

Find more ways to get involved.

TreePhilly's Tree Giveaway!

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Photo Credits: TreePhilly

Did you receive one of the 850 trees given away by TreePhilly last weekend? If not, there is still time! Join TreePhilly this weekend on November 16th and 17th at the following locations:

Saturday, November 16


Overington Park

4600 Leiper St, 19124


Sunday, November 17


West Oak Lane Library

2000 Washington Lane, 19138


Walk in participants are welcome, but will not be able to recieve a fruit tree.

Click here to see a list of trees that will be available at these two events!


See more pictures from the previous tree giveaways.

Find more information on the best places for a tree and learn how to plant and care for one.

PWD Presents at Villanova's Seventh Annual Stormwater Management Symposium

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PWD recently participated in the 7th annual Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium held October 17-18th at Villanova University. The goal of the symposium is to advance understanding of sustainable stormwater management in all aspects of planning, design, implementation and regulatory compliance. This year’s symposium had over 50 technical podium and poster presentations and tours of green infrastructure projects in the Delaware Valley.

PWD’s Office of Watersheds presented two technical presentations. Rachel Ahern and Shelly Jones (Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning & Design) presented “Stormwater Management: A Framework for Site Design.” Stephen White (Green Stormwater Infrastructure Maintenance) presented “When it Rains it Stores: PWD's SCM Monitoring.”  The conference abstracts and video presentations are available via the Villanova website.

Sandy Sorlien, an educator from the Fairmount Water Works led a tour, "Reinventing the Neighborhood and Urban LIDs" Beginning at the Big Green Block, a site rich in green stormwater infrastructure, the group explored stormwater tree trenches, rain gardens, a porous pavement parking lot, underground detention infiltration facilities, green roofs and rainwater cisterns. Afterwards they visited Liberty Lands Park, an industrial brownfield, transformed into a vital community green space. This site featured a rain garden, community gardens and 180 trees of varying species. Ending their tour in Columbus Square, particpants viewed Philadelphia’s first stormwater planter.

The second tour offered by PWD, "What’s Happening in the Wissahickon Watershed,” was led led by Erik Haniman and Ken Hinde. The tour started at Saylor Grove, a one acre stormwater wetland designed to treat an estimated 70 million gallons of urban stormwater per year. Their next stop was the 5,400 feet long stream restoration project at Bells Mill, including improved riparian habitat and energy dissipating stone to protect the stream from stormwater runoff discharged by nearby stormwater outfalls. The tour ended with a final stop to the stormwater treatment wetland, Wises Mill. This two acre area of Fairmount Park treats a portion of the stormwater from a 90-acre watershed prior to discharging to the headwaters of Wises Mill’s lower branch. This effort aims to restore and stabilize areas of Wises Mill Run that have been significantly undermined by previous gray stormwater infrastructure and dams on this stream.

Soak It Up! Adoption Program Grant

The Philadelphia Water Department, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is piloting a new program, Soak It Up! Adoption.

The Soak It Up! Adoption Program provides grants to civic organizations to help maintain the beauty and functionality of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Recipients of the grant will be awarded $5,000 to help care for green stormwater tools by keeping the tool litter-free and ensuring that the surface of inlets and overflow drains are clear of leaves and other debris. In addition, participants track and report to PWD on both the amount and frequency of litter and debris removal from the site. PWD is very grateful to its Adoption partners for lending a hand!

For more information about Soak It Up! Adoption and to determine if your organization qualifies, visit the Philadelphia Water Department’s website.

Happy Birthday MOTU!

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Congratulations to MOTU as it wraps up the celebration of its 5th Birthday! The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) has been working hard to improve coordination among agencies and departments in the City to help Philadelphia respond to the needs of the 21st Century. MOTU recently released a new report highlighting accomplishments over the last five years.

Photo Credits:Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

Among these achievements MOTU has increased mobility by expanding the bicycle and pedestrian network by investing in more bike racks, pedestrian parklets and plazas, and safer bike lanes. Over the course of five years, Philadelphia has seen a 20% reduction in traffic fatalities and 10% reduction in crashes involving pedestrians after 2,400 intersections were retimed and 400 pedestrian countdown signals installed. In addition, air travel has improved through the addition of five new airlines servicing the Philadelphia International Airport.

Photo Credits:Rick McMullin

 MOTU has also been a key partner in implementing PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters program. This collaboration has resulted in the installation of 1100 green acres, reducing stormwater runoff by 500 million gallons annually.This year, there are even more projects underway, including 161 stormwater trenches, 33 stormwater bumpouts, and 33 projects utilizing porous pavement.

Photo Credits:Schuylkill Banks

MOTU’s efforts have not only improved conditions in the city but have also resulted in taxpayer savings. To date, the program has been awarded about $91 million in competitive grants from federal, state and non-profit sources.

To learn more about all of MOTU’s accomplishments and find out about future projects, read their report. Happy Birthday MOTU!

Congratulations to Our 2013 Spokesdog Winners!

On Saturday, October 19th, fifteen Spokesdog finalists from two participating neighborhoods (Fitler Square and University City) came out to compete for one crown. After careful consideration of which dog would make the best Spokesdog, judges announced and crowned the winners!

Josie, the 2013 Spokesdog from Fitler Square

Sophie, the 2013 Spokesdog from University City

Josie, a Beagle from Fitler Square and Sophie, an Australian Shepherd from University City, took home the titles for 2013 Spokesdog!

Each 2013 Spokesdog took home $200 worth of prizes from local businesses and will be featured on a number of brochures, advertisements, websites, etc. In addition, winning Spokesdogs will serve as ambassadors to the City for living the eco-friendly life and will attend at least three community events over the upcoming year.

These two dogs will help educate pet owners and their furry buddies about the importance of picking up dog waste in order to keep our streams and rivers clean.

Congratulations again to the winners and thanks to all the dog owners, judges, and participants in this year’s Spokesdog contest!

View more photos from the 2013 Spokesdog Crowning Ceremonies.

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