‘Tis the Season for Sustainability: Get a Jump on Discounted Home Greening Projects

The Philadelphia Water Department wants residents to know they can save money on outdoor landscaping and other green projects by signing up for the Rain Check program—and now's a great time to get started.

Signing up for the program in the winter is a smart way to beat the spring rush and avoid longer wait times for projects like rain barrels, rain gardens, downspout planters and more. All you have to do to get set up ahead of the busy season for discounted spring greening projects is attend one of our upcoming free workshops

Depending on temperatures, some projects can even be completed over winter.
Rain Check is a program that helps Philadelphia residents save money on landscaping projects that capture stormwater. The program is funded by PWD and managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia. See some examples of Rain Check projects here.

Participation in the program surges during the spring and summer when residents are focused on gardening and other outside work. To encourage off-season participation, Rain Check is offering two new incentives during winter workshops:

Enter a Monthly Raffle for an Artistic Rain Barrel
Each month between now and February, Rain Check will give a specially wrapped rain barrel to one randomly selected participant. All residents have to do is attend a Rain Check workshop. Winners can choose from three designs created by Philadelphia student artists and the Mural Arts Program.

Refer a Friend for Flower Show Tickets
Past Rain Check participants who get Philadelphia residents to come to a Rain Check workshop by February 20 will have a chance to win two free tickets to this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. Scheduled for March 11-19, this year’s show will highlight the rich horticultural offerings of Holland, and tickets at the door cost $35.

Those interested just have to spread the word about Rain Check and tell people to give their name when they register and attend a workshop. Check out the workshop schedule here and select a date and time that works for you.

Additional Rain Check workshops can also be scheduled at the request of community groups and other organizations by contacting Rosemary Howard at rhoward@pennhort.org or 215.988.8767.

How Rain Check Works
Rain Check is a Philadelphia Water Department program available to Philadelphia residents that helps people manage stormwater at home. Participants can get a free rain barrel and/or get a downspout planter, rain garden or permeable pavers installed at a reduced price.

Rain Check supports Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program, which is adding green features to neighborhoods across the City to keep excess stormwater out of sewers.

Since Rain Check started in 2012, nearly 3,500 residents have used the program to get a free rain barrel or discounted green project designed to manage stormwater runoff on their properties.

Participation from residents has led to hundreds of homes with features such as rain gardens, downspout planters filled with native plants, depaved yards, and driveways that can soak up rain thanks to permeable pavers. Because these projects help reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, PWD will contribute up to $2,000 toward improvements made through Rain Check.

Saving with Rain Check
Since the program’s start in June 2012, Rain Check participants have saved:

• $38,869 on depaving projects

• $171,832 on permeable pavers

• $88,438 on rain gardens

Over 3,000 residents have received free rain barrels and installation services, and more than 230 people used Rain Check to install garden planters connected to their downspouts at a cost of just $100.

Thursday: Celebrate Improvements at Conestoga Playground

Room for Growth at 53rd and Media is a Mural Arts project heralding more improvements, including green infrastructure that will keep 32.5 million gallons of stormwater pollution out of the Schuylkill each year, coming to the site.
Mural Art’s “Room for Growth” project at the Conestoga Rec Center. Credit: Mural Arts

You’re invited to celebrate big improvements at the Conestoga Community Playground, located at 53rd and Media streets in the Hestonville neighborhood.

Join Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Mural Arts and the Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People Philadelphia team at 3:30 p.m. on December 8 as we mark this special occasion at the playground.

City Career Fair and Courses for Contractors Provide Job Opportunities

Are you looking for a new career? Know someone in Philly looking for a job?

This Friday, December 2, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., representatives from nearly two dozen municipal agencies (including PWD!) will be at the Community College of Philadelphia (17th and Spring Garden Street) to talk to you about current job opportunities with the City of Philadelphia Government.

The event is free and open to all, but registration is required. You can register at the door or here. More information about the event is available here.

Help us spread the word by sharing this information with your neighbors and friends!

Giving Tuesday: Support Watershed Stewardship in Philly!


These Philly kids are learning to be Delaware River stewards through the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory RiverGuides program. Credit: Alan Brian Nilsen/ABN photography

We believe that people who have an intimate connection to their local watershed are more likely to get involved in efforts to guard and improve that watershed.

Spend a day canoeing on the Schuylkill River, fishing for striped bass on the Delaware, seeding freshwater mussels on the Tacony Creek or birding along the Wissahickon, and you’ll come away with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to protecting these invaluable resources.

Across the city and region, there are dedicated organizations and institutions working to build those connections through increased recreational access to our riverfronts, through environmental education that underscores the vital role healthy watersheds play in vibrant ecosystems, through scientific research, and more.

With “Giving Tuesday” upon us, today is a great day to support those protecting and improving Philadelphia’s waterways.
If you recognize the value of our watersheds, consider supporting those who share your appreciation on Giving Tuesday and help further their efforts.

Below are a few partners that rely on contributions to keep up the good work of watershed stewardship.
What group or organization works to protect and support a local waterway you care about? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook!

Kelly Drive Water Stations Head to Hibernation After a Thirsty Season

Schuylkill River Trail users fill up at one four water stations located along Kelly Drive. People filling up at the stations saved about 141,650 single-use half-liter disposable bottles this season. Credit: PWD
Schuylkill River Trail users fill up at one four water stations located along Kelly Drive. People filling up at the stations saved about 156,025 single-use half-liter disposable bottles this season. Credit: PWD

Following an enthusiastic welcome in spring and a summer of heavy use, we’ve winterized the four new water stations installed along the Kelly Drive stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Shutting the stations down as we approach winter involves turning off the water, draining the lines, and giving each of the units a good cleaning. We know: it’s sad to see these amazing assets for trail users go into hibernation, but it’s a necessary precaution needed to make sure that extreme cold doesn’t lead to frozen and burst pipes during the colder months of the year.

Thinking About Going Green at Home with Rain Check? Here’s Why Now’s the Time

We’re going let you in on a little secret...

Fall and winter Rain Check workshops bring spring Rain Check projects!

While many think of spring and summer as the ideal time to do green improvements made easier through our Rain Check program—things like replacing a broken concrete pad with pretty permeable pavers or putting in a flower-filled downspout planter—there are some big advantages for those who sign up during the colder months.

World Toilet Day: ‘An Ode to the Throne’ at Venice Island

RSVP for World Toilet Day in Philly: http://www.globalwateralliance.net/world-toilet-day/
Click the image to RSVP for the World Toilet Day in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Water's Fairmount Water Works and the Global Water Alliance will host a World Toilet Day event at the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center in Manayunk on Thursday, November 17 from 6-8 p.m.

Green City, Clean Waters Gets Recognition from World of Architecture


Building Sustainability into Philly's Bones: AIA Pennsylvania Honors Green City, Clean Waters for contribution to architecture.

In Northern Liberties, honeybees drink nectar from native flowers found in a stormwater bumpout at 3rd Street and Fairmount Avenue.

In Point Breeze, kids play basketball on a court that also helps soak up and clean stormwater from the surrounding area.

On Eadom Street in Northeast Philly, patients find therapeutic value in caring for rain gardens that dot the parking lot of their health facility.

Looking across the city, it’s fair to say that Philadelphia’s efforts to protect local waterways from pollution through the use of neighborhood-based green tools has garnered fans who might not usually appreciate a well-designed piece of infrastructure.

On November 10, our Green City, Clean Waters program was being honored by another community not often associated with stormwater management—architects.