drinking water

So Many Ways to Keep Cool in Philadelphia. Opening Hydrants? Not One of Them

In Philadelphia, we’re lucky to have more pools and spray grounds per resident than any other city in the U.S.

Because we have all those great, free places to cool off, there’s no reason to open fire hydrants when the weather gets hot or risk swimming in our unpredictable rivers, where drowning is always a risk.

Opening hydrants can cause a number of dangerous situations:

  • A fire hydrant opened at full pressure can cause serious bodily harm, or even death, should a child, or an adult get pushed into oncoming traffic while playing in front of the hydrant
  • Illegally opening a hydrant can break the valves and make the hydrant useless when it’s needed most—during a fire on your block
  • The huge amount of water coming out of hydrants can flood local basements and cause problems with gas and electric lines
  • Operating hydrants the wrong way can break the water mains that are under your street when not properly turned on or off

If you see a hydrant open on your block, report it right away by calling our emergency hotline at 215 685 6300.

You can find a local pool operated by Parks and Recreation, or check out one of our local spraygrounds. The City is also hosting Swim Philly events right now—free fun activities like Aqua Yoga and Aqua Zumba at local pools. Check out the Swim Philly calendar.

Not a bathing suit person? Head to a local library and cool off while checking out the wide range of free resources the Free Library of Philadelphia provides for residents.

And, as always, take advantage of the clean, top-quality water available from your tap—at less than a half a penny per gallon, it’s the best way to stay hydrated when the temps soar.

So remember: hydrants are for fire, not fun.

For more tips about staying safe in the heat, check out this great guide from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.

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.

‘Refill Reuse Regatta’ Champions #DrinkTapPHL

Philadelphia Water and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta are teaming up to reduce litter and advocate for public drinking water.
Philadelphia Water and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta are teaming up to reduce litter and advocate for public drinking water. 

We are proud to support the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (HOSR) again this year as they take the fight against wasteful single-use water bottles to the banks of the Schuylkill River.

The regatta’s organizers recognize the incredible value of our top-quality drinking water and want more people to choose reusable bottles, especially when using our waterfront parks. They’ll be making it easier for the estimated 40,000-50,000 spectators and competitors to do just that at this year’s race, to be held October 29-30 at the Grandstands along Kelly Drive.

They’re even giving the effort a name this year—the “Refill Reuse Regatta.”

Two Philly Free Streets Activity Stops Inspire Wonder About Philly’s Waterways

The Philadelphia Water Dept. will have two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore obscure but fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.
The Philadelphia Water Dept. will host two activity stops on the Philly Free Streets route where you can explore fascinating parts of our water infrastructure and history.

Have you heard about Philly Free Streets? On Saturday, Sept. 24, the City of Philadelphia will close down 10 miles of streets to cars from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. so that residents can enjoy those spaces for walking, biking, running and just plain fun.

The idea was inspired by the joy many experienced when the Papal visit from Pope Francis closed streets to car traffic, leaving them open for people.
Making this exercise-encouraging day even more fun, City departments will join a number of organizations in offering activity stops along the route where Philly Free Street-ers can learn more about their communities and engage in exciting activities.

Here’s what the Philadelphia Water Department will be offering along the Philly Free Streets route:

Like Philly’s New Water Stations? Help Us Do More

A jogger stops for a cool sip at the Art Museum drinking water station, one of four located along the Schuylkill. Philadelphia Water is looking for vendors with ideas that will bring more stations to neighborhoods across the City.
A woman stops to fill up at the Art Museum drinking water station, one of four located along the Schuylkill. Philadelphia Water is looking for vendors with ideas that will bring more stations to neighborhoods across the City.

This summer is coming to a close with some good news for the #DrinkTapPHL movement.

Plan Philly wrote a great story about our new drinking water stations along the Kelly Drive section of the Schuylkill River Trail, and we’ve been getting lots of great feedback from trail users and on social media. Now, we're looking for ways to bring similar stations to more neighborhoods across the city.

ICYMI: Infrastructure Week Recap + Water Woman Makes the Evening News

Starting with a look at the incredible growth of the Green City, Clean Waters program over the last five years and finishing with a Q&A that explores a storm flood relief project blending green and traditional infrastructure investments, we had an exciting (and busy) Infrastructure Week here at Philadelphia Water.

One of the core goals of Infrastructure Week is to start a conversation that gets people thinking about the ways in which things like water mains, highways, bridges and more don’t just “matter” in our everyday lives—they make our everyday lives possible.

We looked at the busy crews who clean close to 300 storm drains each day, working double shifts to make sure we’re getting the best drainage possible at our inlets every time it rains.

Belmont Raw Water Basin Project: Helping to Bring You Top-Quality Water

Construction of the cofferdam at the Belmont Raw Water Basin. Inset: Resident Engineer Kam Patel.
Above: Construction of the cofferdam at the Belmont River Water Basin. Inset: Resident Engineer Kam Patel. Credit: Philadelphia Water

In the public imagination, drinking water infrastructure usually comes down to two things: the drinking water treatment plants, and water mains that deliver the finished product to your tap.

In reality, the infrastructure it takes to treat hundreds of millions of gallons of water per day and get that top-quality water to 1.5 million people is far more complex, involving a variety of facilities along the way.

During Infrastructure Week 2016, we’ve been looking at some important infrastructure projects—all of which are funded solely by your water bill—that might get overlooked.

One such project is the renovated Belmont Raw Water Basin, which is in its final stages after years of work.

To give you an idea of how long this basin has been helping to provide Philadelphia with drinking water from the Schuylkill River, consider that Theodore Roosevelt became president the year construction began.

Check out amazing historic photographs of the original construction site here:

Innovative Infrastructure: New Stations Expand Drinking Water Access, Curb Plastic Waste

Infrastructure Week 2016: Drinking Water Stations

When people hear the word “infrastructure,” they think about roads, bridges and (if we’re lucky!) pipes.

But for Infrastructure Week 2016, we’re looking at elements of Philadelphia’s water system that might not come to mind when you think about infrastructure. (So far, we’ve looked at the thousands of new green tools created through the Green City, Clean Waters program and the 75,000+ storm drains found on city streets.)

Today, we’re looking at a brand-new kind of infrastructure that rethinks an old standard—the water fountain.

As Philadelphia celebrates the 90th Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the world's largest high school regatta, Philadelphia Water will unveil a new network of four eye-catching public water stations located along Kelly Drive.

#InfrastructureMatters: Infrastructure Week Highlights Investments in Philly’s Water System

All this week, we’ll be taking a look at the broad range of water infrastructure that Philadelphia Water maintains to make sure people, businesses and City departments have constant access to clean, top-quality water.

This exploration of our ongoing work is a part of Infrastructure Week (May 16-23), a national movement highlighting the importance of infrastructure and infrastructure funding. This year’s focus: #InfrastructureMatters.

Most people know that clean water matters. Recent events have raised awareness about the importance of safe public drinking water, and people across America are thinking about their local water supply today in way that they haven’t in decades.

But too often, people don’t realize how valuable water—and the infrastructure needed to protect and deliver it—is until something goes wrong. Infrastructure Week is about recognizing that #InfrastructureMatters so that we take care of what we have and invest in the vast water system that has evolved in Philadelphia over the last 200 years.

Philadelphia Water to Provide Updates on East Park Reservoir Work

This graphic shows the location of two 30 million-gallon drinking water tanks currently being constructed at East Park Reservoir. Credit: Philadelphia Water
This graphic shows the location of two 30 million-gallon drinking water tanks currently being constructed at East Park Reservoir. Click the image to see the full project fact sheet. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Representatives from Philadelphia Water will be at the May 11 Strawberry Mansion CDC meeting to provide updates on construction at the East Park Reservoir.

Topics include the work schedule, progress on the project, upcoming work, and info on how residents can get newsletter updates. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

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