Fairmount Water Works

Resident Helps Spot—and Preserve—Some of Philly’s Oldest Water Infrastructure

In a city as old as Philadelphia, there’s a chance you’ll come across something historic pretty much any time you put a shovel into the ground.

That was the case on Wednesday, May 3 as workers replaced a water line along the 900 block of Spruce Street. During their excavation, they came across what looked like old logs:

Spruce Street Wooden Water Mains Uncovered

How old?

Philly Science Fest Highlights Overlooked STEM-Water Relationship

What Science Looks Like: Philadelphia Water Department Aquatic biologists Lance Butler and Joe Perillo sampling the health of aquatic wildlife on the Schuylkill River. Careers in science at PWD will be highlighted at this year’s Philadelphia Science Festival.
What Science Looks Like:
Philadelphia Water Department Aquatic biologists Lance Butler and Joe Perillo sampling the health of aquatic wildlife on the Schuylkill River. Careers in science at PWD will be highlighted at this year’s Philadelphia Science Festival
.

When you turn on the tap for a fresh glass of Philadelphia water, do you think about all the scientists and engineers who make this daily convenience possible?

If your answer is "no," you're not alone.

But the fact is, science and engineering are a big part of the work we do at the Philadelphia Water Department every day.

From the biologists who monitor our source water (see photo above) to the laboratory technicians at the Bureau of Laboratory Services who sample and test the finished product to ensure safety, we rely on a variety of scientific experts to bring you top-quality water around the clock every day of the year.

We also have environmental scientists studying how climate change will impact our rivers and infrastructure, engineers working to transform waste water into energy, hydrologists fine-tuning green stormwater systems, and more.

That’s why we’re excited to once again be a part of the Philadelphia Science Festival—we want to highlight the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) that makes access to clean, abundant water possible and attract young people considering STEM careers to this critical field.

A “nine-day, community-wide celebration of science,” the Philadelphia Science Festival features “lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of other informal science education experiences for all ages.”

Year in Review, Part Two: 2016 a Big Year for Philly Water Stewards

This is the second installment in our blog series looking at all the great news and events 2016 brought for Philly's water community.

Part I started with the appointment of Debra McCarty as Commissioner and explored highlights like our new water stations, the amazing work of volunteers, the Green City, Clean Waters Year 5 celebrations, our collaboration with Saint Benjamin Brewing Co. and more. Check it out!

2016 Water Highlights Part II...


New Storm Drain Markers Introduced
In 2016, Philly residents got to meet their watershed spirit animal as we rolled out new storm drain markers featuring a special aquatic critter for each of the city’s seven watersheds.

Volunteers have played an important role by signing up for our free marking kits and taking the time to install the new watershed markers at inlets all over the city.

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!

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:

Infrastructure Week Throwback: Graff Collection Shines Light on Early Water Champion, Artist

“Design for Cast Iron Wheel by F. Graff” from the Frederick Graff Collection at the Franklin Institute. Credit: Philadelphia Water, the Franklin Institute and The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
“Design for Cast Iron Wheel by F. Graff” from the Frederick Graff Collection at the Franklin Institute. Credit: Philadelphia Water, the Franklin Institute and The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

This post explores the foundations of Philadelphia's water infrastructure as we continue to highlight the crucial systems that keep Philly running during Infrastructure Week 2016

Last year, Philadelphia Water historian Adam Levine joined department employees like long-time engineer Drew Brown on a tour of the Franklin Institute archives, which include a trove of 18th and 19th century drawings by Frederick Graff, an engineer himself with incredible artistic talent who helped to design and operate some of Philadelphia’s earliest water infrastructure. Included in the collection are a number of water-related works by other artists, engineers and cartographers. 

Graff’s collection—much of which incorporates watercolor and focuses on hydraulic systems and Philadelphia’s rivers and streams—showcases a fascinating blend of the technical and beautiful, capturing the most finite details of buildings, machines and natural terrain with breathtaking style.

Have a Sec? Help Make Our Freshwater Mussel Hatchery More Awesome!

Photo: Spencer Roberts of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is shown holding an eastern elliptio mussel. Credit: PDE
Photo: Spencer Roberts of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is shown holding an eastern elliptio mussel. Credit: PDE

Last summer, we broke the news about an exciting project that’s coming to our historic Fairmount Water Works museum and learning center this fall: an educational freshwater mussel hatchery that will shine new light on these secret river heroes.

As the project continues to develop, the Water Works and the artists helping to shape the space are hoping you can help by taking this short survey to tell us what you know (or don’t know) about freshwater mussels.

Will you take a few minutes to tell them what you know about freshwater mussels with this quick online survey? (Think of it as a fun quiz followed by some surprising facts about these amazing creatures!)

Artists: Help Us Highlight the Schuylkill River for Art in the Open 2016

Work by artist Sandy Sorlien in the South Garden fountain, AiO 2014 Family Day (Photo: Karen Jenkins)
Work by artist Sandy Sorlien in the South Garden fountain at AiO 2014's Family Day. Photo credit: Karen Jenkins.

This spring, the banks of the Schuylkill River will be buzzing with the creative work of artists selected for the sixth year of “Art in the Open,” or AiO, a three-day event that gives the public an intimate look at the processes behind art.

Our iconic Fairmount Water Works facility will act as the starting point for the AiO installations, which will populate the riverbanks moving south toward Bartram’s Garden.

Throwback Thursday: Philadelphia Water Commissioners, Past and Present

From left to right: Kumar Kishinchand (1992-2000 and 2001-2004), Bernard Brunwasser (2004-2011), Carmen F. Guarino (1972-1980), Howard Neukrug (2011-present) and William Marrazzo (1980-1988)
From left to right: Kumar Kishinchand, Bernard Brunwasser, Carmen F. Guarino, Howard Neukrug and William Marrazzo.

The photo above is a throwback to the 200th anniversary kickoff event for the Fairmount Water Works held this year on September 10—but it’s also a throwback to four decades of leadership at Philadelphia Water.

 It’s not too often you get a group with shared experiences like this together, so we made sure to document the moment and wanted to share it with you. Here's a little more history:

Coast Day: Free Boat Rides, LEGO Boats and New Storm Drain Mascots!

Kayakers enjoy a free trip on the Delaware during the 2014 Pa. Coast Day Celebration. Credit: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
Kayakers enjoy a free trip on the Delaware during the 2014 Pa. Coast Day Celebration. Credit: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

It's once again time for Pennsylvania Coast Day, and that means over 550 people will enjoy a free boat ride on Sept. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Penn’s Landing.

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) will give away over 350 tickets for the RiverLink Ferry and 150 tickets for the Patriot during the event, which Philadelphia Water helps to sponsor. Both tours will be narrated, and guests can also enjoy free kayaking and pedal boating in Penn’s Landing Marina.

“Many people don’t realize the Delaware River is something they can experience and enjoy,” said Lisa Wool, program director at PDE. “This festival changes that by getting people on the water with their families, many for the first time.”

Philadelphia Water will also use Coast Day to roll out our new storm drain markers, which are now  customized to represent aquatic creatures from each of our city's seven watersheds. Here are two we made for storm drains that feed into the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers:
New storm drain markers for the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.We'll be spreading the word about the new markers and giving out kits community groups can use to mark drains in their neighborhoods. To learn more and order a marking kit for your area, visit this page

Other attractions include free face painting, free arts and crafts, free prizes, exhibits and more. A shuttle will also take you to our Fairmount Water Works museum site, where programs showcasing the city’s other coast, the tidal Schuylkill River, are always free.

Visitors can also venture inside the Independence Seaport Museum, where admission ranges from $10 to $15. This will get them up close with TEACH FLEET, the world’s largest collection of LEGO model ships. Its centerpiece is the new RV Hugh Sharp, modeled after a research vessel owned by the University of Delaware.
The Philadelphia Ship Model Society will also race motorized models in Penn’s Landing Marina. And the oil-spill boat DELBAY will be open for tours.

Other sponsors for Pennsylvania Coast Day include the Pennsylvania Coastal Resources Management Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Fairmount Water Works, and Independence Seaport Museum.
More information is available at DelawareEstuary.org/Coast-Day. and by calling (800) 445-4935, extension 112.

Syndicate content