rain gardens

Come See How Green City, Clean Waters Helped Transform a Vacant Lot into a Community Gem

This is close-up image showing an American shad on the mural at 55th and Hunter Streets. The mural features raised and textured elements that make it pop off the wall.
This detail shows shad depicted in the new West Phila. mural created by Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali. Credit: Philadelphia Water

What happens when the nation’s boldest green infrastructure program meets the nation’s boldest mural arts program in a vacant West Philly lot?

The public is invited see for themselves at the Heston Rain Garden Mural Dedication & Ribbon Cutting event, to be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 3:30 p.m. at 55th and Hunter streets in the Hestonville neighborhood.

Join Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Mural Arts Program, Councilman Curtis Jones, the Hestonville Civic Association and community members in celebrating the first Green City, Clean Waters vacant land transformation, a project that turned an empty lot into a green space that manages stormwater, protects local waterways, and features a vibrant water-themed mural from Philly artists Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali.

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.

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.

Landscaping That Helps Our Rivers? Tune in to ‘Radio Times’ Tomorrow and Get Inspired!


Ditch the Concrete: This yard was depaved through Philadelphia Water’s Rain Check program, which helps homeowners build and pay for green tools that beautify properties and improve local water quality. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Concrete and asphalt — not exactly materials you associate with the beauty of spring in Philadelphia, right?

In addition to being unpleasant to look at, these materials contribute to the urban “heat island” effect, amplify noise pollution, and divert water from storms into our (often overwhelmed) sewer system instead of allowing it to slowly filter into the ground naturally.

That last problem—the water-repelling or “impervious” nature of roofs, driveways, sidewalks and concrete-covered backyards—is something that Philadelphia Water has been working to address through our Rain Check program. By educating and working with homeowners through Rain Check, we’ve made hundreds of properties in the city not only more beautiful, but also better at managing stormwater that can damage homes and pollute our waterways. We’ve also given away over 4,000 free rain barrels to Philadelphia residents since 2006.

Ambitious Proposal Could Mean Big Improvements for Morris Park, Local Water Quality

Philadelphia Water is looking for residents to provide feedback tonight on designs for a pretty impressive green infrastructure project at Papa Playground in Morris Park that aims to improve the area’s stormwater management and urban habitat while reducing combined sewer overflows that can spill polluted water into our rivers and streams:

The map above outlines some of the proposed improvements at Morris Park in Overbrook. Click for a larger image.
The map above outlines some of the proposed improvements at Morris Park in Overbrook. Click for a larger image.

The design for improvements that will be presented at Papa Rec Center tonight at 6:30 p.m. are for a project that disconnects several streets in the Overbrook neighborhood from the City’s combined sewer system, sending clean water to the adjacent park’s creek. As part of the Green City, Clean Waters program, this collaboration with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department and the Department of Public Property adds natural landscaping to the park while taking pressure off the combined sewer system.

Join Us: Green Infrastructure Planning Meeting for Point Breeze Vacant Lots

We want to hear from Point Breeze residents as we explore plans that could turn two vacant lots into green space that will make Philly's rivers cleaner. Click to see our flyer.
We want to hear from Point Breeze residents as we explore plans to turn two vacant lots into green space that will make Philly's rivers cleaner.

You’re invited! Join Philadelphia Water and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office to discuss plans for rain gardens on two publicly owned vacant lots in Point Breeze. Rain gardens are specially designed gardens that soak up stormwater when it rains.

Photos: Green City, Clean Waters Gets Cheers at Smith Celebration

Philadelphia Water joined other City partners and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin in breaking ground on a Smith Recreation Center makeover that includes extensive green stormwater infrastructure. Click to see photos from the event.

Philadelphia Water joined other City partners and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin in breaking ground on a Smith Recreation Center makeover that includes extensive green stormwater infrastructure. Click the image above to see more photos from the event.

You might think it’d be hard for green stormwater infrastructure to get much attention when you have a star NFL player (Connor Barwin) talking about fun things like a completely renovated recreation center and the new athletic fields and basketball courts coming to Smith Playground in South Philadelphia.

Saturday: See GSI Being Made and Contribute to Art in Hestonville

Hestonville residents and representitives from Philadelphia Water break ground at 55th and Hunter streets. Volunteers will gather for a community paint day to begin a mural planned for the wall seen in the background. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Hestonville residents and representatives from Philadelphia Water break ground on a Green City, Clean Waters project at 55th and Hunter streets. Volunteers will gather for a community paint day to begin a mural planned for the wall seen in the background. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

This Saturday, volunteers will join Mural Arts, Philadelphia Water and members of the Hestonville neighborhood in West Philadelphia for a community paint day that will help artists Eurhi Jones and Michael Reali complete a new mural titled “Your Hands Shimmering on the Legs of Rain.”

Set for completion in spring 2016, the mural will overlook and highlight a Green City, Clean Waters project that will bring a rain garden and storage trench to a vacant lot at 55th and Hunter Streets. The mural was designed with input from neighbors who requested that art be included in the project during community meetings about plans for the site. "Your Hands Shimmering" is also part of the citywide Philly Water Art program, which uses creative works of public art to engage residents and connect them to green infrastructure projects that tend to blend into city streets or are hidden beneath the pavement.

Coming to a ‘Hood Near You: Get Schooled on Green Tools

A sign at the Big Green Block in East Kensignton explains how some of the local green tools work. Credit: Brian Rademaekers, Philadelphia Water
A sign at the Big Green Block in East Kensignton explains how some of the local green tools work. Credit: Brian Rademaekers, Philadelphia Water
 
Philly is about to soak up some serious green IQ.
 
Patches of green all over the city – we’re talking 36 locations in 18 neighborhoods – will soon be home to vibrant, colorful signs distilling the concepts behind Philadelphia Water’s green tools with attention-grabbing diagrams and simple descriptions. The signs, the first in the U.S. to explain a city’s green infrastructure system, give the inside scoop on seven types of green infrastructure we commonly use and will be in places ranging from high profile spots like the Philadelphia Zoo to stormwater tree trenches that seamlessly blend into city blocks.
 
These colorful new neighborhood features tell the curious some important things about Green City, Clean Waters, America’s biggest green stormwater initiative:
 
Why We Need Green Tools. Our sewer and stormwater system struggles to handle wastewater and rain during heavy storms, when we can have too much of both. An overwhelmed system can put polluted water into our rivers and streams. Green tools provide a smart, cost-effective solution to this problem.
 
How Green Tools Work. Green tools combat pollution by using plants, soil and stone to filter out bad stuff (up to 80 percent of pollutants!) and keep too much stormwater from overwhelming the sewer system. Just like they do in nature, these living landscapes capture excess water and use it to sustain plants before slowly filtering it into the ground.
 
What Am I Seeing? Terms like “bumpout,” “tree trench” and “porous pavement” aren’t exactly part of our everyday language (yet!) and many of the tools we use have important features hidden from view. These signs explain the type of green tool in front of you and use diagrams to visually cut below the earth. Now, you get a peek at the important things you normally can’t see below the surface.
  
You Can Help, Too. Each sign has important info and tips for those who care about our water, with suggestions about car care, planting street trees, and what types of products are better choices for the environment.
 
Learning More Is Easy. Signs have basic web addresses as well as special “QR Codes” using smartphone tech to let people snap a picture and access videos with in-depth explanations of the specific green tool in front of them.
The signs will be going up at the following locations in June, with more to follow next month: 
800 Block of Percy Street, Bella Vista
27th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Square
Trenton Avenue and Norris Street, East Kensington
Julian Abele Park, 22nd St. at Montrose, SW Center City
Nebinger School, 601 Carpenter St., Bella Vista
Greenfield School, 2200 Chestnut St., Rittenhouse
Herron Playground, 250 Reed St., Pennsport
Queen Lane, between Fox Street and Henry Avenue, East Falls 
Shepard Rec Center, 5700 Haverford Ave., Haddington
Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave., East Parkside
Bodine High School, 1101 N. 4th St., Northern Liberties
Longstreth William School, 5700 Willows Ave., Kingsessing
6000-6134 Lancaster Ave., Overbrook
Daroff Samuel School, 5630 Vine St., Haddington
Venice Island, Lock and Main streets, Manayunk
If you’re out in the neighborhood or spending some time downtown, keep an eye out for these new signs. They’re hard to miss, and we guarantee you’ll walk away with a few extra points added to your green IQ!
Want a sneak peek? Check out photos from Northern Liberties and The Big Green Block here
 
Green City, Clean Waters Signage

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