News Stream

Stanley's Hardware Named First Stormwater Pioneer

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“You don’t get a chance very often in life to be a pioneer at anything,” noted Stanley’s True Value Hardware President Mark Jaconski, who with his brother Joe was honored as Philadelphia’s first Stormwater Pioneer. “Our father and grandfather pioneered the business.  We’re just doing our part to help the environment,” he explained, as dozens of customers, employees, neighbors, Philadelphia Water Department executives, City Council representatives and community members applauded their efforts.

Stanley’s Hardware was recognized for excellence in stormwater management and the site will be a model for business owners and private developers who want to reduce runoff from their properties. PWD and the Jackonskis unveiled a Stormwater Pioneers plaque for the property and the brothers were presented with a City Council Citation by Josh Cohen of Councilman Curtis Jones’ office. 

The ceremony, covered by both Newsworks and the Roxborough Review of Montgomery Media, also recognized Ruggiero Plante Land Design in Manayunk for designing the stormwater management strategy. It includes a highly-visible rain garden adjacent to the store’s parking lot and two underground infiltration basins. Together, the system manages over 3,000 cubic feet of runoff.

The Jaconski brothers built a new store on the site of their family’s 66-year old business, tripling its size and doubling both the business and the staff. The business goals established for year 10 have been achieved in year two. 

Case in point, according to Jim Evans, owner of nearby Bob’s Diner, the Jaconski brothers are an inspiration to other business owners on Ridge Avenue. “When I saw what they did on their property, I decided to plant vegetation to do my part for the environment and the neighborhood.”

For more information, visit PWD’s Stormwater Pioneers webpage.

Keep Our Water Flowing

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Ah, Spring! Warm weather, birds singing, blooming flowers, no water… What! No Water? We don’t want that to happen!

Beginning April 1, 2014, the Philadelphia Water Department will begin shutting off water service for those who are behind on their water bill. Water is an essential part of our day to day activities, so it is important that we work together to keep our water flowing.

If you get a shutoff notice, do not delay. Call 215-686-6880 to make payment arrangements or go online to pay your bill immediately. If a PWD worker comes to your door, you will have to pay at least 50% of the outstanding balance, plus a visitation fee to avoid shutoff. In addition, a larger fee will be required if your water is shut off and you want it restored.

Let’s work together to make sure you always have running water.

Watch the video below for more information:

EPA Briefing: A Chance to Connect it all Together

Image: CDC

Members from the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gathered together on January 21st to share their expertise around plans for the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure in Philadelphia and other cities across the country.

Amongst the variety of interesting conversations, one question that was raised – how do we get citizens involved? Bob Perciasepe, the U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator, had some thoughts on the topic. “When you look at a broader area, look at the things that will happen regardless of planning and ask, ‘what can we do differently’?” A connection to green stormwater infrastructure could be made every time anything goes in the ground, whether it’s a road repair, roof replacement or even a new faucet! Thinking through this lens gets both the public sector and private property owner on board.

Shawn Garvin, Administrator of EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, also added that, “A big selling point of green stormwater infrastructure is quality of life. There’s the water quality piece, but there’s also how neighborhoods will look. The beauty of this partnership is getting people thinking this way.”

The session wrapped up with green stormwater infrastructure questions of interest including how to push the design of the green stormwater tools neighborhood-wide and how to help people think differently about these tools as they go into the ground.

Read more about the meeting here.

PWD Updates Development Regulations

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Paseo Verde, image: WRT

Every time land is developed in Philadelphia we can improve the water quality in our rivers and streams.  Since 2006, PWD has been regulating some private land development in the City. These regulations help prevent polluted stormwater draining off impervious surfaces like roofs and parking lots from running into our rivers and streams. As of this Monday, February 10th, PWD implemented changes to both the Development Regulations and Stormwater Management Guidance Manual.
   
The Department is making changes for two reasons. First, the regulations must be updated to comply with State-approved Act 167 Stormwater Management plans for the Tookany-Tacony Frankford, Pennypack and Poquessing Watersheds.  These are long term plans designed to maintain and improve water quality in our local watersheds.

Second, these changes should clarify requirements, improve the Stormwater Plan Review process and make the development regulations more effective in managing runoff. Since implementing stormwater development regulations in 2006, PWD has worked closely with the development community through the plan review process. These changes result in part from those experiences.
   
For detailed information on the changes please visit PWD’s Stormwater Plan Review webpage. If you have specific questions about these changes, please e-mail PWD.PlanReview@phila.gov or call (215) 685-6387.

Philadelphia's Green Infrastructure a Standout among Cities

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Kimberly Haas from WHYY interviewed a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) representative, Larry Levine about their recently released report, The Green Edge. In the interview, Levine was asked what he thought of Philadelphia’s green infrastructure program and if he could, how he would grade it. Given Green City, Clean Waters’ current standing, he said that he would give it an A. He mentioned that Philadelphia has received a lot of attention from the program, including accolades by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the NRDC itself.

Listen to the full interview.

The Schuylkill is Making Waves!

Once considered one of the most heavily-polluted rivers in our country, the Schuylkill has made a major comeback, earning the title of 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year! Historically known as river that would make people sick, today, the Schuylkill is a major source of recreation and provides drinking water for over 1.5 million people.

2014 marks the Schuylkill River’s second Pennsylvania River of the Year award. Its first title was awarded in 1999. Selected by public vote, the award is presented by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR). In this year’s competition five waterways competed for the award. The Schuylkill received a total of 5,527 votes, 42% of the total votes. The runner ups included the Kiski-Conemaugh River, Ohio River, Brodhead Creek Watershed, and the West Branch of Susquehanna Rivers.

As the winning applicant, theSchuylkill River Greenway Association will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to fund recreational and educational activities along the river. DCNR & POWR are joining the Greenway Association to plan the yearlong celebration with many activities including the Schuylkill River Sojourn, Peddle and Paddle events, Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour series and more!

Our Philly Watersheds Blog is Making a Splash!

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Donna Vincent Roa brought together an evaluation team to find out the top water blogs of 2013. In their research, the team found that there were over 500 million blogs on the web, and identified about 250 that focused on water. Using criteria such as website traffic statistics, online buzz, search authority and frequency of posts and comments, the evaluation team was able to cut down to 124 blogs. This list was further cut down by eliminating those sites that didn’t post in the last 30 days, leaving 92 blogs, which were reevaluated and weeded to find the top 50. The final rankings were based upon design and excellence in both branding and content.

We are pleased to announce that the Philly Watersheds blog made the cut! We ranked #4 in brand excellence and ranked #33 overall!

This would not have been possible without the support of our blog readers and supporters! Thank you!

Read the full article.

The Green Edge

As many of you know, many communities and cities, including Philadelphia, are now looking towards green infrastructure as a cost-effective solution to manage stormwater. However, what some might not know is that these new green spaces can also generate revenue in our neighborhoods and communities.

The NRDC recently released an article presenting published research on how stormwater tools such as rain gardens, green roofs, trees, rain gardens, and permeable pavement can bring about substantial benefits for homeowners, retail businesses, and apartment buildings. Statistics show that apartment and office buildings can reap benefits of up to $2 million. For retail centers, benefits can exceed $24 million, including $23 million of increased sales. Some of the other benefits that the article highlights are reduced infrastructure costs, improved health and job satisfaction for office employees, reduced crime, and lower energy costs.

Read the NRDC’s full report.

Capturing the Transformation

During the Industrial Revolution, businesses let waste run directly into the Schuylkill River, polluting the river and killing wildlife. Today, the Schuylkill once again supports a variety of fish and wildlife. Additionally, the river serves as a destination for sports and recreation.Rowers, fishermen, runners and families have rediscovered the Schuylkill as an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic or just a fun place to spend time outdoors. We want to encourage even more people to visit the Schuylkill. Help us show how amazing the Schuylkill River is by submitting pictures to the Schuylkill Shots Photo Contest!

Contest Rules

  • Individuals can submit up to 6 photos that fall into the following categories:
  • Wild & Scenic – Highlight the scenic beauty and wildlife thriving in and along the Schuylkill River and its streams
  • Fun on the Schuylkill – Show us your favorite thing to do on the Schuylkill Tip Top Tap – Show us how you use and rely on fresh water daily

All photos must be submitted by October 30, 2013. Judges will select the top 10 photos that best represent the Schuylkill River, the streams and creeks that flow into it, or the water that we use from the river.

After the judges make a selection, individuals can vote for 1stand 2nd place winners for each category. Judges will also pick three “Judges Choice” winners.

Prizes

1st place winners will receive the following:

  • Wild & Scenic - $250 Gift Card to Calumet Photographic
  • Fun on the Schuylkill - $250 Gift Card to REI
  • Tip Top Tap - $250 Gift Card to Amazon.com

2nd place and “Judge’s Choice” winners for each category will receive $100 gift cards corresponding to their category.

NatLab Report Features Philadelphia as Laboratory for Green Infrastructure Finance

This rendering shows what private investment might do to help manage stormwater. Image: WRT.

Earlier this month, NatLab published Creating Clean Water Cash Flows, an in-depth report chock full of ideas for financing green infrastructure that features the Philadelphia Water Department.  As more and more cities invest in green stormwater infrastructure, financing these investments is fast becoming a hot topic. In a previous blog post, we discussed a spike in interest in private funding for new green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) tools. Now the 87 page report provides an in-depth analysis of ways to engage the private sector in green infrastructure investments.

The NatLab consortium including the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy and the investment firm EKO Asset Management Partners, collaborated with the Philadelphia Water Department on the report given the city’s status as a national leader in implementing green stormwater infrastructure. Although the recommendations focus on Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, the information will be useful for cities across the country.

Engaging the private sector is critical for the successful implementation of Green City, Clean Waters. According to our Water Commissioner, Howard Neukrug, “Leveraging public-private partnerships can help transform and green our City water systems in a brilliantly cost-effective way.” Read the NatLab report to learn more about the innovative ideas Philadelphia is piloting to finance these investments.

NextCity also covered the report here.

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