Fishtown

Philly's Latest Green Schoolyard Project Breaks Ground in Fishtown

On Tuesday, February 21, the Philadelphia Water Department joined a broad group of partners, including Fishtown residents, parents, teachers and students from the Adaire School community, City departments, the School District of Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land to break ground on Philadelphia’s latest green schoolyard project.

On hand were a number of public officials, including Mayor Jim Kenney, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite, Council President Darrell Clarke and Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis.

If that list of names and organizations seems long, that’s because it is: to make projects like this a success, it takes an entire community and support from both the City and nonprofit institutions.

Sustainability First Friday in Fishtown: Celebrate 5 Years of Cleaner Water Through Greener Neighborhoods

What we’re celebrating: After five years of Green City, Clean Waters, Philadelphia has enough green infrastructure/improved stormwater management to reduce pollution by over 600 million gallons in 2016.
What we’re celebrating: After five years of Green City, Clean Waters, Philadelphia has enough green infrastructure/improved stormwater management to reduce pollution by over 600 million gallons in 2016.

Philadelphia Water will be celebrating a major Green City, Clean Waters achievement—meeting the program’s five-year pollution-reduction targets—at Fishtown’s Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) during the neighborhood’s Sustainability First Friday gathering on June 3 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Members of our Public Engagement team will be at the site’s community garden/farm with a cool model that shows how green stormwater infrastructure works, and students from the after school program will be learning all about water systems and sustainability. First Friday-goers are invited to join in, and we’ll have special Green City, Clean Waters cards that let you show your support for protecting our rivers with green investments in a fun way.

Philadelphia Water's New Official Spokesdog: Little Pup with a Big Message

Meet Shorty, our latest anti-POOllution Spokesdog. Nothing makes him more upset than seeing pet waste that's been left on the street to wash into our rivers—his (and our) drinking water source! Credit: Philadelphia Water/Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
Meet Shorty, our latest anti-POOllution Spokesdog. Nothing makes him more upset than seeing pet waste that's been left on the street to wash into our rivers—his (and our) drinking water source! Credit: Philadelphia Water/Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

There were some (very) big dogs.

There were lots of (very) cute dogs.

But after a hard-fought contest at the Zoom Room on Girard Avenue this past Sunday, there was only one official Philadelphia Water Spokesdog.

And that dog is …  

This Weekend, A Spokesdog Shall Be Crowned

At long last, the next Philadelphia Water Spokesdog will be crowned this weekend in Fishtown as up to 20 top dogs—selected by an impressive 4,100 online votes this fall—compete in a pageant to prove which pooch has the best chops for fighting pet waste pollution on our streets.

Time to Vote for Your Favorite Spokesdog


Scoop the Poop! Watch our video above about the importance of cleaning up after your dog!

We received over two dozen nominations for the next Philadelphia Water Spokesdog. And while we personally think all these cute pooches would be great ambassadors in the campaign to spread awareness about the impact of pet waste on our waterways, it's up to you to vote in the champ.

With the average dog producing about 200 pounds of waste every year, the negative impacts that come from improper disposal can add up quickly—especially in dog-crazy neighborhoods.

Getting more people to obey laws requiring dog owners to pick up after their pet and place the poo-llution in a trash can means less untreated waste getting washed into our sewers and rivers during rains.

You can read all about the Spokesdog contest by clicking here, and be sure to vote for your favorite pup by clicking here.

Voting ends August 31, and the winner will show up in our pet waste educational materials and at community events to spread the word.

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!

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