Schuylkill River

Schuylkill River Volunteers Haul Tons of Litter from Bartram’s Garden

A student from North Philly's Mastery Prep Middle School goes the extra mile to get some litter along the Schuylkill River shoreline. Credit: PWD
A student from North Philly's Mastery Prep Middle School goes the extra mile to get some litter along the Schuylkill River shoreline. Credit: PWD

Our first volunteer cleanup of 2017 with United By Blue had a great turnout—and even got an honorary "Best Field Trip Ever"  designation from one of the dozens of students who attended:

Photos and More: Big Celebration Welcomes New Rain Garden, Mural at Vacant Lot Site

We want to send out a big thank you to all who came out to celebrate the new rain gardens and mural in Hestonville yesterday! Below you’ll find photos from the event and coverage from local TV stations:

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.

Two Philly Free Streets Activity Stops Inspire Wonder About Philly’s Waterways

The Philadelphia Water Dept. will have two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore obscure but fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.
The Philadelphia Water Dept. will host two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.

Have you heard about Philly Free Streets? On Saturday, Sept. 24, the City of Philadelphia will close down 10 miles of streets to cars from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. so that residents can enjoy those spaces for walking, biking, running and just plain fun.

The idea was inspired by the joy many experienced when the Papal visit from Pope Francis closed streets to car traffic, leaving them open for people.
Making this exercise-encouraging day even more fun, City departments will join a number of organizations in offering activity stops along the route where Philly Free Street-ers can learn more about their communities and engage in exciting activities.

Here’s what the Philadelphia Water Department will be offering along the Philly Free Streets route:

Photos and Prizes: 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest One of Best Yet

Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Alex Sandoval caught the biggest fish in the under 14 category with this 22-inch catfish. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Thank you to all who came out to the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, Sept. 10!

Our partners at Parks and Recreation, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission made it possible to have one of the best days on the river yet, with 195 participants and 297 fish caught (and released).

Schuylkill River Restoration Fund: Eight New Investments in River’s Health Announced

David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.
David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.

The Philadelphia Water Department works hard to protect the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers here in Philly, but an essential fact about water is that it’s a shared resource. Our watersheds don’t just provide drinking water for the 1.5 million people in Philadelphia—many millions more depend on these same waters at their kitchen taps, for agriculture, tourism and recreation, and more.

And what happens in the watersheds above Philadelphia matters for the huge number of people living downstream.

For perspective, consider that less than two percent of the watershed providing our source water falls within Philadelphia. When you look at our rivers that way, it becomes clear why a strong partnership approach is such a critical part of the effort to ensure top-quality drinking water.

That’s why we work with organizations like the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, which advocates for the health of one of our main drinking water sources and manages important programs like the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF).

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, PWD joined fellow partners in announcing nearly $279,000 in SRRF grants that will help protect the Schuylkill through eight investments in places ranging from the rural headwaters to the North Light Community Center in urban Manayunk. (Full list of SRRF contributors here).

What’s Going on with Green City, Clean Waters in South Philly West of Broad?

Point Breeze residents attend a Rain Check workshop and learn about local Green City, Clean Waters projects on Aug. 24, 2016.
Point Breeze residents attend a Rain Check workshop and learn about local Green City, Clean Waters projects on Aug. 24, 2016.

Last night, we highlighted some of our local Green City, Clean Waters projects at a Rain Check workshop in Point Breeze. Residents were able to sign up for a free rain barrel or take steps to get reduced-cost green tools for their home, including downspout planters and rain-absorbing pavement.

Amanda Krakovitz, a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) program who is working with Philadelphia Water to engage communities around Green City, Clean Waters investments, provided information about area projects designed to improve local streets and parks while managing stormwater runoff.

For those who missed the meeting but want to learn about some of the local Green City, Clean Waters projects proposed or in the works, we’re providing a quick look at our South Philly projects west of Broad Street below.
You can also register for upcoming Rain Check workshops here.

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.

Philly Fun Fish Fishing Fest and Coast Day: An Action-Packed Day on Our Waterfronts


The yellow line on the map above marks the area where the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest will be held. Click for a larger image.

We've teamed up with a number of partners to make September 10 a truly special day for those looking to explore what Philly's rivers have to offer. If you've been hearing stories about the amazing comeback our local waterways are experiencing, this is your chance to grab the family and see it for yourself!

The Philly Fun Fishing Fest, sponsored by Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission and Schuylkill Banks, will be held at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Rio vs. Philly: Our Water Quality Wins By a Mile

Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.
Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.

With all eyes on Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, one big health concern right up there with the Zika virus is the water quality in rivers, bays and surf around Rio de Janeiro. While athletes no doubt would prefer to focus their attention on winning, the risk of getting violently ill from the very water they’ll compete in and on is a serious hurdle aquatic athletes will have to contend with this year.

Stories like this July 26 report from the New York Times offer an alarming glimpse of what happens when we fail to protect our waterways from pollution. Here’s what Olympians in sports like swimming and kayaking may (quite literally) get a taste of during the Rio games, according to the Times:

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “superbacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

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