PHILADELPHIA — On June 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) signed an agreement that allows the PWD to implement a strategy that uses green stormwater infrastructure to substantially reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to its waterways. PWD submitted the plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and PADEP in September 2009 after publically vetting the plan.
The plan, called Green City, Clean Waters, lays the groundwork for the PWD to spend approximately $2 billion during the next 25 years to use primarily green infrastructure — such as stormwater tree trenches, vegetated bumpouts, porous asphalt, rain gardens, and sidewalk planters — as a means to transform manmade surfaces that repel the rain to “Greened Acres” that capture rainwater runoff, which then infiltrates, stores, and manages the rain as a precious resource. The plan also includes wastewater treatment facility enhancements and pipe renewal and replacement. Green City, Clean Waters works in tandem with the mayor’s Greenworks Philadelphia vision to reinvent Philadelphia as a green, sustainable city of the future.
“We are thrilled and grateful that the DEP has recognized the incredible environmental and public value of this plan and has worked with the city to embrace its vision,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “As a sustainable approach to stormwater issues, Green City, Clean Waters upholds the tenets of GreenWorks Philadelphia and makes significant progress towards Philadelphia becoming the greenest city in the country.”
“Through the Green City, Clean Waters plan, we seek to achieve a host of tangible environmental, social, and economic benefits for Philadelphians while improving the health of the city’s creeks, rivers, and urban landscape,” added Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug. “That means not only cleaner water for our citizens, but cleaner air, a higher quality of life, and meaningful jobs for future generations.”
PWD has softly launched the plan over the last few years to develop green infrastructure designs that work best in the Philadelphia landscape. These early projects serve as public demonstrations for citizens and provide the PWD and its many partners with early opportunities to monitor and improve the efficiencies of these practices.
A list of featured projects and information on Green City, Clean Waters can be found at www.phillywatersheds.org.