PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and city and federal officials, signed an agreement that represents a $2 billion investment in Philadelphia green infrastructure during an event at the Fairmount Water Works. During the next 25 years, the Green City, Clean Waters partnership agreement will transform many of Philadelphia’s traditional hardened surfaces to green areas to better manage potentially harmful rainwater runoff pollution.
This federal-city partnership is designed to ensure the success of the Green City, Clean Waters Plan and to present the plan as a national model for cities embracing green stormwater infrastructure.
"The EPA is proud to be working in partnership to support green infrastructure advances that will lead to cleaner waters and a stronger economy for the city of Philadelphia. This city has earned a place as a national and global leader on sustainable innovation and clean water protection," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "The Green City, Clean Waters Partnership promises to lead the way for communities across the nation, which can use the lessons learned through this long-term project to protect their health, safeguard their waters and boost their economies."
EPA will provide assistance to the city in identifying and promoting higher performing green infrastructure designs, convening technical expertise from around the country to advance green designs and support a green design competition, and help remove barriers to innovation in the city’s plan. EPA will also assist on research and technical assistance, and monitoring the effectiveness and evaluating benefits of the program through cooperation on water quality monitoring and modeling work that the city has undertaken.
“The Green City Clean Waters Plan is our proposal to revitalize our rivers and streams by managing stormwater in a way that provides multiple benefits. It will result in clean and beautiful waterways, a healthier environment and increased community value. The assistance of our many and diverse regulatory and public partners makes it the most cost effective investment of its kind in the country,” said Nutter. “Where other cities are challenged by very expensive commitments for tunnels, tanks and other gray infrastructure, we have worked with the state and the EPA to take this greener, more fiscally prudent approach that will realize multiple benefits.”
Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Plan layers green technologies modeled on natural practices on top of the city’s 3,000 mile sewer network, Philadelphia’s 20th century investment in traditional “gray” infrastructure, to capture rainwater on the surface. Capturing rainwater prevents sewer overflows containing industrial and human waste from discharging to waterways during wet weather. It will transform streets, parking lots, schools, public spaces into urban landscapes that reduce sewer overflows to our waterways while enhancing our communities.
Green City Clean Waters is based upon an adaptive management approach that will identify and maximize green practices that achieve the most efficient and cost effective environmental goals for the City of Philadelphia.
To view the agreement, visit: www.phillywatersheds.org.