Starting Today: New Stormwater Regulations Bring Healthier Rivers

Philadelphia's new website for Stormwater Regulations planning and review. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Philadelphia's new website for Stormwater Regulations planning and review. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

For two years, we’ve been working to update our Stormwater Regulations and Plan Review Program.

Now, the changes are finally here.

From July 1, 2015 forward, development in the city is required to follow updated Stormwater Regulations.

These updates represent the most substantial changes to the regulations in nearly a decade. They ensure new development works alongside Philadelphia Water’s Green City, Clean Waters plan by requiring new sites to handle more water, slow stormwater more effectively, and release cleaner water into our sewers.

In doing all of that, the new regulations also encourage more robust use of green infrastructure across the city.

While we were working to create modernized regulations, we also went to great lengths to make the Plan Review process easier from start to finish by listening to the business community and other stakeholders.

The result is an improved, faster process for submitting and reviewing stormwater plans and a new website that makes our Stormwater Regulations Guidance Manual more accessible. At, users will find a fully searchable, shareable guide and other helpful tools for making sure stormwater plans reflect the new regulations and align with Philadelphia’s vision for a modern stormwater system.

Together, Philadelphia Water and the development community are working to make sure we all have a future defined by smart growth and healthier rivers and streams.

Want to learn more? Public information sessions will be held July 9th and 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Blvd. Click here to register.

Wanted: A Few Good Spokesdogs for Healthy Water

Above: Last year’s Juniata Spokesdog, Gracie, after winning the crown. Credit: PDE and Philadelphia Water.
Above: Last year’s Juniata Spokesdog, Gracie, after winning the crown. Credit: PDE and Philadelphia Water.

It’s that time of year again, and two new neighborhoods are about to crown Philadelphia Water Spokesdogs.

For 2015, Fishtown and Washington Square West were selected as competing locales for the contest, which has been selecting a special pooch to spread the word about poo-lution since 2011. We’ll be accepting nominations for dogs from those neighborhoods through July 15. Guidelines and submission forms are available here. The Spokesdog program is held annually with the help of our friends at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

As always, the goal is to raise awareness about keeping dog waste out of our waterways by getting it off sidewalks, streets and grass right away with proper disposal techniques. We all know it’s pretty gross (and rude!) when pet owners don’t clean up after their furry friends, but many people don’t think about the health consequences, especially as they relate to water.

When pet waste is left on the sidewalks, streets or other surfaces, it gets washed into street-level sewer intakes by rain and ends up in our creeks and rivers completely untreated. That can lead to the presence of dangerous germs and excess nutrients that make water unsafe for recreation and more expensive to treat.

Here's what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say about the impact of waste left behind by careless pet owners:

Decaying pet waste consumes oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife.  Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth (eutrophication).  Cloudy and green, eutrophic water makes swimming and recreation unappealing or even unhealthy.

As you can see, the environmental and public health threat is serious, and that's why we need a top-notch doggie to help show others the importance of bagging waste and putting it in a proper receptacle.

Typically, 30-80 dogs register in each neighborhood every year, so the competition is no joke. Of those, about a dozen dogs get selected for the doggie pageant, and best in show (determined with online votes in August) becomes Spokesdog.
With the crown come some real responsibilities—and some cool goodies.

Winning spokesdogs and their caretakers will attend at least three community events in 2015, distributing information on living the eco-friendly dog life. Small bag dispensers that clip to leashes and educational tipcards will be provided to hand out at these events. The educational tipcard explains how dog waste left on the ground breaks down and washes into local stormdrains every time it rains.

So, how about those prizes?

The 1st Place Spokesdog—“Philly Water’s Best Friend”—gets the following:

• $200 prize from a local business

• Image used in promotional pieces

• Toy & cookie prize pack

For the Runner Up (picked in case the 1st Place Spokesdog is unable to fulfill their duties):

• $50 prize from a local business

• Toy & cookie prize pack

All finalists in attendance at the awards ceremony will also receive a toy and cookie prize.
If you know of a worthy pup from Washington Square West or Fishtown, send in your application now and vote for them to become Philly famous!

Pew Center Gives $300K to Shine Light on Secret River Heroes

Families check out how freshwater mussels filter water at temporary exhibit by the PDE. Soon, the Water Works will have a 530-square-foot mussel hatchery.
Families check out how freshwater mussels filter water at temporary exhibit by the PDE. Soon, the Water Works will have a 530-square-foot mussel hatchery. Photo Credit: PDE.

Some of the most intriguing animals in our rivers also happen to be some of the most inconspicuous creatures out there. In fact, these little guys can be nearly invisible if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

But the reality is that freshwater mussels live extraordinary lives burrowed into the beds of our local creeks and rivers.

Now, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is bringing their secret lives to the surface with a $300,000 grant that will fund the creation of a mussel hatchery right at the Fairmount Water Works.

Celebrating their 10th year of grant making in Philadelphia, the Center announced its 2015 recipients on June 16. We at Philadelphia Water are thrilled to see the Water Works counted among our region’s exemplary artists and cultural institutions and  look forward to the expanded environmental education efforts made possible through this grant.

 The Rivers Restoration Project: A Freshwater Mussel Hatchery will be an interpretive, multi-media installation that will combine science, history, and design in the creation of a site-specific, 530-square-foot living freshwater mussel enclave that will inspire visitors to discover and connect with the Schuylkill River’s rich habitat while developing an appreciation for the importance of environmental protection.

 The two-year grant process is expected to allow the Water Works to open the hatchery in late 2016.

If you’re wondering why the Center and the Water Works are investing in a mussel hatchery, read on.

To the untrained eye, these little shellfish—ranked among the most imperiled animals in the United States—may look just like a leaf lying on the sandy bottom of the Schuylkill or Delaware. But tucked inside that shell is an organism that can live for a century, providing our waterways with decades of invaluable filtration and stream/riverbed stabilization that makes water healthier for both wildlife and humans.

The lifespan and habitat of our native mussels varies depending on the species, but they can live by the millions in vast colonies along riverbeds. With each one filtering up to 20 gallons of water every day, these organisms collectively form nature’s equivalent of water treatment plants, removing pollution and harmful pathogens.

Sadly, these amazing little workhorses have suffered in a big way due to a number of human factors, including unmitigated stormwater runoff and dams, which block their reproductive cycle. This widespread habitat degradation has left many stretches of local waterways without mussel beds, which can lead to destabilized banks and streambeds and water that takes much longer to clear up after disturbance from storms and other heavy sediment events.

In recent years, Philadelphia Water has partnered with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) to survey our local waters for mussel populations. With additional help from groups like the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, PDE even began “reseeding” some Philly creeks with mussels, bringing them back to those areas for the first time in decades.  

The Water Works hatchery is the first project of its kind in the region, and could help fuel interest in a much larger commercial hatchery that would work to filter our water (reducing the workload at treatment plants) while providing young mussels for future regional reseeding efforts, said PDE's Danielle Kreeger.  

With this extremely generous $300,000 Pew grant, the Water Works will begin working on the hatchery with PDE and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University next month, bringing visitors a unique exhibit that will enrich the already impressive mix of education opportunities.

“Our 2015 grantees exemplify the diverse and dynamic cultural life of our region,” said Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director. “As we reflect on the past 10 years of grantmaking in this vibrant community, we also look forward to the extraordinary cultural experiences this talented and ambitious group of artists and organizations will bring to Greater Philadelphia’s audiences.”

For more on educational opportunities at the Fairmount Water Works, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year, check out their website.
You can see the full list of the amazing projects awarded 2015 grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage here.

Change Your Life, Help Protect Our Water: Apply for PowerCorpsPHL Now

Above: Paul Johnson shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro during his PowerCorpsPHL program. Photo Credit: PowerCorpsPHL
Above: Paul Johnson shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro during his PowerCorpsPHL experience. Photo Credit: PowerCorpsPHL.

The social, environmental and economic benefits we get out of having and maintaining the green infrastructure that makes up Green City, Clean Waters are a big part of why Philadelphia is taking the green approach to solving stormwater challenges. It’s what we call our “triple bottom line.”

One way we connect people with those benefits is by working with PowerCorpsPHL to train young adults in things like green infrastructure maintenance. As we've seen, that training is translating to real jobs right here in Philadelphia.

And right now, PowerCorpsPHL is looking for young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 who are committed to transforming themselves and their communities. The application period for the next round of youth closes July 3, so now is the time to act.

To find out how you or someone you know could end up working with PowerCorpsPHL and Philadelphia Water, follow this link.

Need proof the program can have a real impact? Here’s fresh testimony from three guys who did the work and now have real jobs they’re proud of:

“PowerCorpsPHL taught me a lot about the [green stormwater infrastructure] field that I’m going to be working in and gave me all the experience I need. They also hooked me up with the right people. My reference list was crazy! All the way from the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department [Howard Neukrug] down. PowerCorpsPHL prepared me to bring patience, motivation, time management, networking, and delegation to the job. I also learned how to create and maintain statistical databases, use power tools, and perform location and navigation. And my communication skills definitely improved.” Paul Johnson, Cohort 2 member and Cohort 3 Assistant Crew Leader on the GSI crew.

 Where He Is Now: Paul now works in Green Stormwater Infrastructure maintenance with the  green design firm AKRF and is studying to become a GSI engineer.

“PowerCorps was like gas for my car. They really give you the opportunity to show what you’re capable of. Whatever it is you’re good at, they pinpoint it and allow you to develop a career out of it. My original plan was to work for the Water Department, but I was allowed to be in certain situations where Mr. [Rich] Negrin [Managing Director, City of Philadelphia] was seeing my writing and speaking skills. If it wasn’t for PowerCorps, I wouldn’t be halfway to where I am now. I wasn’t even thinking about the type of work I’m doing now, let alone applying for it. PowerCorps was a life-changing opportunity.” Marcus Bullock, Cohort 2 GSI crew member, Cohort 3 PPR Assistant Crew Leader.

Where He Is Now: Marcus received a job as a speechwriter in the Managing Director’s Office during Cohort 3, and has since been promoted to Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff.

“When I first started in PowerCorps I was basically the same hard-working guy. I’m a team player regardless. I’m a basketball player—a point guard—and I want my team involved. If the team needs a leader, I can be that leader. I know my place in whatever team I’m on. Whatever I need to do to make the team strong, that’s what I do…It’s not easy to get into PowerCorps. You have to go through a third party, so a lot of the guys I know are in the predicament I was in. So first I recommend RISE and then from RISE you can get to PowerCorps. It’s a process, and a lot of people don’t want to do the process. I’ve been doing this since I’ve been home, for a year and a half. You get what you put into it.  A lot of people just want handouts, and that’s not what PowerCorps is.”Keith Williams, a Cohort 2 PPR crew member and Cohort 3 PWD crew member.

Where He Is Now: Keith has been working in the mechanics shop for PWD since early May. He’s just passed his civil service exam and hopes to one day become a crew chief.

Although the July 3 deadline is fast approaching, another round of applicants will be selected this winter and contacting a PowerCorpsPHL Recruitment Partner now can help pave the road for entry into the program. Read more about how it all works here.

Venice Island Lands 'Environmental Project of the Year' Award

Renderings (at left) of the Performing Arts Center and Head House compared to the finished buildings, at right.
Renderings (at left) of the Performing Arts Center and Head House compared to the finished buildings, at right. Image credit: Hazen and Sawyer.

We’re extremely proud of the way Philadelphia Water’s construction team and engineers made what was once just a grand idea—the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center—into a reality.

It’s hard not to admire their work when you see that sloping, living green roof from Main Street in Manayunk, and it gets even better when you explore the facility up close.

So, it’s no surprise that the work at Venice Island, which was completed at the end of 2014, was just named “Environmental Project of the Year” by the Construction Management Association of America’s Mid-Atlantic chapter. The award was presented for the “Manayunk Venice Island Sewer Basin Construction/Performing Arts and Recreation Center Reconstruction” on June 2 to Philadelphia Water and Hazen and Sawyer, the project’s designer of record.

“This award recognizes Philadelphia Water’s role in providing construction management services that promoted professionalism in the construction process and resulted in a successful project,” said Philadelphia Water Construction Manager Bob Rotermund. “Our team, led by Jim Giffear and Attasit Kaewvichen, kept the project within budget and on schedule.”

Giffear, a Division Engineer in Philadelphia Water’s Construction Branch, said the project was a special one because it brought so many positive changes to the area, which sits between the Manayunk Canal and the Schuylkill River.

“We were able to construct a facility which serves to protect the Schuylkill River from combined sewer overflows during large storm events, while at the same time providing an amazing recreation and entertainment space for the citizens of Philadelphia,” said Giffear. “[Philadelphia Water Commissioner] Howard Neukrug was instrumental in creating the partnerships between the various city agencies and community groups necessary for Venice Island to become a reality.”

Giffear said this award reflects Philadelphia Water’s commitment to quality management of its construction projects, community engagement, and partnerships with city agencies.

“What makes this project unique is the construction of a true multiple-use site. On one side of the island sits a wastewater pumping station, underground is a 4 million gallon basin, and up above houses basketball courts, an outdoor amphitheater, children’s spray park, and a 250-seat performing arts center, with public parking throughout,” said Giffear. “The CMAA award is in recognition of the technical and logistical challenges faced by such a multifaceted project, and the teamwork, professionalism, quality control, and communication necessary to make it a success.”

That CMAA highlighted the environmental aspects of the Venice Island work also speaks to Philadelphia Water’s commitment to green stormwater management initiatives and environmentally conscious building materials and methods, Giffear also noted.

Leo Dignam, deputy commissioner for programs at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, said the Performing Arts Center has also been a huge hit.

“We are thrilled at how it turned out and have been booked almost from the day we took over,” said Dignam. “The outside space and environmental features are extraordinary and go above and beyond what we would ever have been able to do on our own. I think this project is a model of the way city departments can coordinate with the community.”

Some Green Highlights from Venice Island:

• Countless sustainable site and building features throughout Venice Island. The basin, in addition to being an environmentally focused infrastructure improvement, includes a pump station which is LEED eligible. The building is furnished with a high-tech window system that makes maximum use of natural light and reduces heat gain, promoting energy efficiency in the facility. Atop the pump house sits a green roof containing drought tolerant plant species which minimize the stormwater impact of the building.

• The site features numerous green design components. There are several rain garden systems which collect street-level stormwater runoff and allow it to slowly infiltrate in place, before returning it to the sewer system. Boulders were reclaimed from earlier excavation activities and repurposed for landscape features. Additionally, the site lights are all low voltage LED fixtures, which are controlled by photocells and are only illuminated when necessary.

• The Performing Arts Center likewise contains numerous sustainable design features, such as a green roof. Stormwater that falls on the building is collected and stored in “graywater” holding tanks. That captured stormwater is then reused in the facility for non-potable applications.

Hazen and Sawyer’s Work at Venice Island

As “designers of record” at Venice Island, Hazen and Sawyer designed an innovative, LEED Silver-eligible structure to house the equipment associated with the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) detention facilities, comprised primarily of a concrete basin that receives flows by gravity when the adjacent interceptor becomes surcharged during storm events. The CSO detention basin was constructed underground, with public parking and facilities redesigned and restored atop the basin.
The Head House that sits atop the basin is a LEED Silver-eligible building with numerous energy-saving and sustainable design measures.

Hazen and Sawyer’s design includes a “living” roof system with drought-resistant plantings; rain gardens throughout the site to manage storm water runoff; a glass stair tower to allow light to enter all sides of the building and reduce the need for interior lighting; light and occupancy sensors for energy efficiency; shade and reflection devices for sun control that reduces the need for air conditioning; and water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

Award Acknowledgements: Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Robert Rotermund (Manager, Construction Branch), Mike Lavery (Manager, Design Branch), Attasit Kaewvichien (Division Engineer, Construction Branch), Tony Kopicki (Asst. Manager, Construction Branch), Jim Giffear (Division Engineer, Construction Branch) and Anant Rao (Electrical Engineer, Construction Branch)

The Clean Water Rule: What Does It Mean for Philly?

Chris Anderson, Watershed Partnerships Cooridinator with Philadelphia Water, talks about what the Clean Water Rule means for our source water at a June 17 forum.
Chris Anderson, Watershed Partnerships Coordinator with Philadelphia Water, talks about what the Clean Water Rule means for our source water at a June 17 forum. Credit: TTF Watershed Partnership.

If you pay attention to news about environmental issues, you’ve likely heard buzz around something called the Clean Water Rule lately.

The Clean Water Rule, officially adopted at the end of May and formalized by President Obama, clarifies what waterways fall under the protection of the federal Clean Water Act and came as result of an extensive public input process organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On May 27, the EPA released a statement explaining why the Clean Water Rule is needed:

Protection for many of the nation’s streams and wetlands has been confusing, complex, and time-consuming as the result of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006. EPA and the Army [Corps] are taking this action today to provide clarity on protections under the Clean Water Act after receiving requests for over a decade from members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups, scientists, and the public for a rulemaking.

So, what does all this mean for Philadelphia Water and the local rivers and creeks that provide our drinking water?

The short answer is that the Clean Water Rule doesn’t change anything about how we do things at Philadelphia Water or impact how waterways are regulated and protected in the city. However, it does strengthen protections for the sources of our drinking water by clearing up any confusion about how the Clean Water Act applies to the wetlands and tributaries that feed the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.

That’s extremely important, says Kelly Anderson, a member of our Source Water Protection Program, because 98 percent of the watershed area that influences Philadelphia’s drinking water supply is outside of the city’s regulatory jurisdiction.

Because having clear protections for that source water means healthier rivers downstream in Philadelphia, we have publically endorsed the rule and expressed our support to local elected officials.

Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug advocated for the Clean Water Rule by expressing the department’s support to groups like Clean Water Action and by sending letters to elected officials at the state and federal level.

"This clarifying rulemaking restores protection for streams and wetlands previously protected under the Clean Water Act, safeguards water quality in the nation’s waters, protects jobs in businesses that depend on clean water and safeguards drinking water," Neukrug said. 

Just last week, Philadelphia Water took part in a forum on the Clean Water Rule with fellow watershed stewards like the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership.

At that event, Philadelphia Water’s Chris Anderson explained how the rule gives clarity to the many partners in our Source Water Protection Program, which works to make sure our drinking water sources—which range from the Catskill Mountains of New York to the Delaware Estuary to the south—are protected from pollution.

Philadelphia Water also came out in support of the Clean Water Rule at a June 1 event at the Fairmount Water Works organized by PennEnvironment to educate the public about what the rule means for Pennsylvanians.

Christine Knapp, deputy chief of staff for Philadelphia Water, touted recent water quality improvements at the event, but said the Clean Water Rule is an important part of making sure we keep moving forward.

"Philadelphia Water can only control what happens in the city, not what happens upstream. In addition to stormwater runoff, additional threats such as agricultural runoff, pollution from wildlife, and forest clearing all take place upstream from Philadelphia, and yet have negative impacts on Philadelphia’s water supply," Knapp said at the event. "That’s why the Clean Water Rule is so critical. By providing protection for additional streams and wetlands, it will leverage investments being made by Philadelphia Water—and municipalities all around the country—to prevent pollution and to improve the quality of our drinking water. We applaud this rulemaking by the EPA and the Army Corps and look forward to working with them and other regional stakeholders in our mission to protect public health by providing the highest quality drinking water." 

The Clean Water Rule By The Numbers:

98 Percent: The watershed area that influences Philadelphia’s drinking water supply, but is outside of the city’s regulatory jurisdiction.

117 Million: The number of people getting drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the Clean Water Rule, according to EPA estimates. That’s one in three Americans.

1 Million: The number of public comments the EPA reviewed as a result of public input efforts leading up to the development of the rule.

 400: EPA and Army Corps meetings held with drinking water stakeholders across the country.

1,200: Peer-reviewed, published scientific studies showing that small streams and wetlands play an integral role in the health of larger downstream water bodies.

+2 Million: Number of customers who rely on clean drinking water from Philadelphia Water.

250 Million: Number of gallons of drinking water we supply to customers each day.

49,000: The number of miles of Pa. streams now protected under the Clean Water Act following the implementation of the Clean Water Rule. Source: PennEnvironment.

Watch a video from PennEnvironment advocating for support of the Clean Water Rule here.

Stormwater Regulations Update: Learn About Some Important Changes

A green roof on the Granary Building that was built in part to meet Philadelphia Water's Stormwater Regulations. Changes to the regulations are designed to encourage even more private green infrastructure projects. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Every time something new gets built in Philadelphia, it presents an opportunity to improve the way we deal with stormwater runoff—a big source of pollution that hurts our waterways, but often gets overlooked as “just rain.”

In order to make sure new development contributes to Philadelphia’s vision for a modern stormwater system that protects our rivers and creeks, we have a set of standards—collectively called Stormwater Regulations—that let developers know how their property should handle the water that comes from rainstorms and other wet weather events.

It’s been nearly a decade since we established our Stormwater Regulations in 2006, and starting July 1, 2015, new construction projects will have updated rules for managing stormwater. These changes reflect evolving agreements between Philadelphia and the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, (the state agency that regulates our local waterways), and the EPA.

In order to make sure the development community and the public are fully aware of our updated Stormwater Regulations, we’re holding a series of public information sessions. If you’re interested in learning more—especially if you’ll be working on a new construction project—you should click here and register to hear more details about the changes.

The information sessions are scheduled for June 23rd and 30th and July 9th and 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and will be held in the Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Blvd.

Stormwater management on development sites is critical to the success of Green City, Clean Waters. Since 2011, private developers have built over 900 green stormwater management tools in the city, and the new regulations will provide incentives for even more.

Quick Read: What the Changes Mean

Water Quality Improvements

Manage more water. The Water Quality Volume will increase from 1 inch to 1.5 inches. This will help reduce combined sewer overflows and local flooding, with minimal impact to site design. Applies to all development sites.

Slow water entering sewers. The peak release rate will decrease from 0.24 to 0.05 cubic feet per second per acre of non-infiltrating impervious area. This will make the rate at which water leaves a site and enters the sewer system equal to the rate at which treatment plants can clean the water. Applies to about 23 percent of projects each year.

Clean water entering sewers. Philadelphia Water will require 100 percent of surface runoff that can’t infiltrate the ground to go through a pollutant reducing practice. This requirement will remove pollution from the dirtiest stormwater on a property. Applies to about 23 percent of projects each year.

Business-Friendly Improvements:

Faster project approvals. Philadelphia Water is introducing “Surface Green Review,” a new expedited review process for sites that use surface practices to manage stormwater.

Simpler application resources. Simplified technical worksheets and Plan Review application resources will improve the quality of submissions and reduce review times. By using these resources, designers will know before submitting that their projects meet regulations.

Accessible information. The new digital Stormwater Management Guidance Manual and Plan Review website will provide better information in a user-friendly format.




Green Tools: Six Ways They Can Make a Climate Changed-Future a Little Less Scary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a cool new infographic out showing how the green stormwater infrastructure we use in Green City, Clean Waters helps to reduce the impact of climate change by making Philadelphia a more resilient city.

The EPA graphic focuses on urban areas and paints a grim picture of the future awaiting cities as the effects of climate change intensify in the coming decades. Considering the already staggering cost of flooding events stemming from super-storms like Hurricane Sandy, the projection of a 30 percent increase in annual flood costs is especially troubling. 

But there's good news, too: we already have the some of the tools we need to help fight the negative impacts highlighted. And, thanks to Green City, Clean Waters—a plan that the EPA approved back in 2011—Philadelphia is ahead of the curve when it comes to using green as a tool for making our neighborhoods safer, more livable places. 

We like to point out how our green approach makes our city a better place right now, but it's also about looking out for future generations. That's why Philadelphia Water is taking climate change seriously and designed Green City, Clean Waters to be flexible and adaptive in the face of environmental challenges that range from more intense storms to longer and more intense droughts.  

Check out the EPA infographic here:

GSI for Climate Resiliency: An EPA Infographic
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

When you look at numbers like those from the Burnsville study—a 93 percent reduction in damaging stormwater runoff—it's easy to see how having more rain gardens and other green tools will be a real asset in a future where we see more and more instense rain events. It's just part of larger long-term plans Philadelphia Water and the city have for addressing climate change, but Green City, Clean Waters will play a role in addressing those challenges over the next few decades. 

Want to keep up on Green City, Clean Waters news and events and learn more about sustainability initiatives at Philadelphia Water? Click here and sign up for our monthly newsletter now!