Watershed Issues

Urbanization has contributed to the degradation of Philadelphia's waterways, ecosystems and water quality.

Stormwater Management

If rain is not properly managed and flows over impervious surfaces—such as streets and rooftops—into the nearest storm drain, it can have a detrimental effect on river and stream corridors. In an urban environment, stormwater is also closely related to safety, flooding, waterway health, drinking water, and community investment.

Learn more about Philadelphia's combined sewer system and the issues that lead to combined sewer overflows into our streams and rivers. more >>

What We're Doing: Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Degraded Waterways

Urbanization is responsible for many of the sources that contribute to waterway degradation in Philadelphia's streams. Increases in impervious surface area and runoff have negative effects on stream flow.

Once the natural physical condition of a waterway is compromised by pollution or excessive runoff, it sets off a chain of degradation from erosion to water temperature changes to habitat loss.

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What We're Doing: Waterways Restoration

Source Water Quality

Through our Source Water Protection Program, holistic and innovative approaches have been established to address challenges to Philadelphia's drinking water sources.

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What We're Doing: Source Water Protection

Aging Infrastructure

Given Philadelphia's history as one of America's earliest-developed cities, the age, physical condition, and efficiency of its infrastructure requires continuous inspection and maintenance.

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What We're Doing: Traditional Infrastructure