Mayor Jim Kenney

1,000 Greened Acres (So Far): It Took a City

1,000 (Green) Thank Yous from Mayor Kenney + PWD

While the Philadelphia Water Department designed the Green City, Clean Waters program, its scope has grown far beyond PWD since being approved by state and federal environmental agencies in 2011.

As we've seen over the last six years, to really transform Philadelphia's landscape on a scale that's big enough to have a real impact on our rivers, it takes more than just Water Department crews and contractors building rain gardens.

In fact, it takes a whole city working together, not to mention supportive partners on the state and federal level.

That’s why PWD, Mayor Kenney and our partners across City government put the spotlight on community groups, nonprofits, businesses, organizations and residents when we celebrated the 1,000th Greened Acre created under Green City, Clean Waters.

The diverse group of people and organizations at the City Hall 1,000 (Green) Thank Yous celebration was a real tribute to the dedicated coalition that’s working to protect Philadelphia’s water.

Much more than a number, the 1,000 Greened Acres you helped us build represent a true transformation of our urban landscape, one that’s having a positive impact on our waterways.

Today, green tools can keep nearly 28 million gallons of polluted runoff out of our rivers during just one inch of rain—an amount that can add up to a billion gallons of stormwater and sewer overflows not going into our waterways annually.

Without residents attending community meetings about projects or civic groups caring for local green tools through the Soak It Up adoption program, we would not be where we are today.

The same goes for businesses, large and small, using our grant programs to invest in green stormwater improvements on their properties…

…And for the schools across the city making rain gardens, permeable pavement and other green tools a central part of revitalizing schoolyards…

…And for the developers embracing the shared imperative of protecting our waterways by incorporating smart stormwater design into new projects

…And for our partners in departments throughout the City of Philadelphia, like Parks and Recreation and Streets, who work alongside us to bring landscaped green features to recreation centers, sidewalks, transit stations and more…

It would take up your whole day to actually list all 1,000 of the “thank yous” we owe, but you get the idea—it takes a whole city working together to achieve the big vision that is Green City, Clean Waters.

We still have nearly two decades to go before we reach our final goal—9,564 Greened Acres by 2036—and PWD looks forward to growing and strengthening the partnerships it will take to achieve rivers and creeks that are cleaner than they’ve been in generations.

Extra: How do Green Tools Work?

CHOP Gets Recognition for Leading with River-Protecting Green Design

When leadership at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia decided to create a brand-new, centralized facility for pediatric care, their primary concern was easing the stress young patients and their families often face while undergoing treatment.

Today, that vision is recognized at the 12-story Buerger Center, a colorful University City building that opened in 2015 with a playful, flowing façade that makes it feel like a distinct, long-cherished landmark.

Impressive features include a lush and winding 16,000 square foot roof garden and a ground-level plaza garden covering more than two acres. These spaces not only serve the mission of reducing stress for kids in treatment—they also reduce pollution in Philadelphia’s waterways.

By limiting the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into Philadelphia’s combined sewer system, where heavy storms can lead to overflows that harm local rivers like the Schuylkill, these green features are helping the City of Philadelphia in its drive to massively reduce this source of pollution in the coming years.

That attention to water quality protection and green design are what earned CHOP and the team behind the Buerger Center the 2017 Stormwater Pioneer award. Granted by the Philadelphia Water Department, the award recognizes forward-thinking stormwater management projects in the private sector.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell will gather on the blooming 6th-floor roof garden with CHOP officials and the development team this Wednesday, July 26.

While the Buerger Center’s gardens are highly visible, much of the actual stormwater management takes place behind the scenes at the facility, which was designed to be LEED-Silver certified.

Get Your Gloves & Grabbers: Spring Watershed Cleanups Are Right Around the Corner!

Our first season of volunteer cleanups with local apparel company United By Blue was a huge success, and we’re excited to start another round this spring.

In 2016, nearly 1,000 volunteers joined PWD , United By Blue, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and other partners at 15 clean ups to remove nearly 33 tons of trash from waterfront green spaces like Bartram’s Garden and Penn Treaty Park.

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