Green City Clean Waters

Paint Day at Smith Playground: Learn About Green Improvements and Send Connor Barwin a Message

Connor Barwin joined partners in South Philadelphia to announce major improvements at the Smith Recreation Center, including Green City, Clean Waters investments that will protect local waterways. Credit: PWD
Connor Barwin joined partners in South Philadelphia to announce major improvements at the Smith Recreation Center, including Green City, Clean Waters investments that will protect local waterways. Credit: PWD

While Philly is mourning the news that Eagles defensive end and super citizen Connor Barwin is headed to another team, his Make the World Better Foundation has pledged to continue its good work and is moving forward on projects the fan-favorite helped to fund.

One of those projects is the renovation of West Passyunk’s Smith Playground, a total overhaul being led by the community, Parks and Recreation, the nonprofit Urban Roots, City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and SERVE Philadelphia.
Barwin helped raise $150,000 for the project and then matched that amount, just as he did when helping to fund improvements at the nearby Ralph Brooks Park in 2014.

Improvements at the 7.5-acre Smith Playground will include green upgrades that support the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Waters program and help to protect local waterways from stormwater pollution.
On top of getting new football and baseball fields, new green stormwater tools, and improvements for the rec center building and adjacent play spaces, this site will feature a Mural Arts installation by artists Kien Nguyen and Katie Yamasaki.

Pssst: Tips for the 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest


Philly students: Do you care about protecting our drinking water and aquatic wildlife? Have artistic talent? Want to win prizes for yourself, your teachers and your school?

The 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest is now underway, and the deadline for submissions has just been extended! We want you to send your best creative work showing what people can do to protect our rivers and creeks by Friday, March 17, 2017.

Three winning drawings are selected from each of the four grade groups: K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, and 9th-12th.

For the last eight years, we’ve been working with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) to organize this contest—open to all K-12 students that attend public, private, or home school in Philadelphia—and that’s given us a pretty good idea about what makes for a winning entry.

Here are a few tips to guide your creativity:

Year in Review (Part One): 2016 a Big Year for Philly’s Water Stewards

Commissioner Debra A. McCarty helps a West Philly Student put on a new button at 2016 rain garden ribbon cutting event. She became the first woman to lead the department. Credit: Brian Rademaekers
Commissioner Debra A. McCarty helps a West Philly Student put on a new button at 2016 rain garden ribbon cutting event. She became the first woman to lead the department. Credit: Brian Rademaekers

Newly-elected Mayor Jim Kenney rang in 2016 in a big way by naming Debra A. McCarty Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner, making her the first woman to lead the organization in its nearly 200-year history.

That big announcement, it seems, set the tone for PWD in 2016.

It was a busy year, with lots of exciting news—big and small—for Philly’s water community, and we recently took some time to look back at all the great things happening here.

We made major investments in our infrastructure. We marked important milestones with partners and residents. We revived superheroes, and we collaborated with science-savvy brewers…

It was such a big year at PWD, we’re presenting our 2016 highlights in not one blog post, but three!

(See Part II)

Without further ado, here is the first installment of our three-part series exploring highlights from the last year, presented in no particular order:

RSVP Now to Join 10,000 Friends in Honoring Green City, Clean Waters

The Philadelphia Water Department is thrilled to receive the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s Excellence in Public Infrastructure Award in recognition of the success of the Green City, Clean Waters program.

Commissioner Debra A. McCarty will accept the honor at the 2016 Commonwealth Awards, an annual fundraiser held for the 10,000 Friends group. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, January 24 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. RSVP now. 

A “leading voice for smart growth,” 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is a non-profit advocacy group representing a “statewide alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to creating and protecting healthy, walkable, and thriving communities that are great places to live and work.”

Drexel University will also be the inaugural recipient of the Joanne Denworth Founders Award, the highest award given by the statewide nonprofit. Drexel President John A. Fry will accept the honor and deliver keynote remarks. SEPTA will be presented with the Excellence in Community Transportation Award.

To make a donation and save a spot at the awards, visit the 10,000 Friends page and RVSP by Jan. 17.

The 2016 Commonwealth Awards showcases “the transformational impact institutions can have through creative public-private partnerships and strategic investment in placemaking projects that exemplify land use excellence.”

In 2016, the City of Philadelphia celebrated the first five years of Green City, Clean Waters, a groundbreaking green infrastructure program that protects local waterways from pollution by greening neighborhoods and improving stormwater infrastructure.

While the program is set to expand more than tenfold in the coming years, hundreds of public and private green stormwater infrastructure projects are already reducing pollution from sewer overflows and runoff by 1.5 billion gallons during a typical year.

Read more about the success of Green City, Clean Watersfirst five years here.

A ‘Truly Engaging Civic Commons’: Makers Wanted for City Hall Courtyard Installation

A new grant is helping the City connect residents to historic and modern water infrastructure investments while making the Philadelphia City Hall Courtyard a “true civic commons.”
A new grant is helping the City connect residents to historic and modern water infrastructure investments while making the Philadelphia City Hall Courtyard a “true civic commons.”

As a work of spectacular architecture and artistry, a National Historic Landmark and holder of several world records, Philadelphia’s ornate and iconic City Hall is a place that dominates the center of our city—spiritually, culturally, and, yes, geographically.

And while the most astute students of Philly lore might be able to cite William Penn statue stats (37 feet tall, 27 tons of bronze, biggest atop any building in the world) far fewer know about the site’s remarkable geological status or its pre-City Hall history as it relates to science, infrastructure and water.

A new project seeks to honor that distinction by breathing fresh life into building’s expansive courtyard, and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia is calling on “experienced local artisans, architects, designers, and makers” to design and build an outdoor feature that, among other things, will serve as a platform for programming and activities.

Green Infrastructure Tours Showcase Philadelphia Innovation

Visitors from China inspect Philadelphia green stormwater infrastructure sites during a Dec. 14 tour hosted by the Philadelphia Water Dept.
Visitors from China inspect Philadelphia green stormwater infrastructure sites during a Dec. 14 tour hosted by the Philadelphia Water Dept. 

Did you know Philadelphia has an international reputation as a city where green design and innovation are thriving?

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Water Department led a group of business leaders and engineers from Beijing, China on a tour of green stormwater infrastructure sites across Philadelphia. The group of experts came to Philadelphia because our 25-year Green City, Clean Waters plan is recognized as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking green infrastructure programs in the United States and internationally.

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.

Philadelphia Water Department Joins Community in Celebrating Washington Lane Rain Garden Managing Germantown’s Stormwater

The community well celebrate the completion of this rain garden, located at Clearview Street and Washington Lane, at 3 p.m. on Wednesday November 9. Credit: Philadelphia Water
The community well celebrate the completion of this rain garden, located at Clearview Street and Washington Lane, at 3 p.m. on Wednesday November 9. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Stormwater management never looked so good.

On Wednesday, November 9, community members, elected officials and watershed advocates will be gathering a few steps from the busy Washington Lane Station in Germantown to cut the ribbon at a newly upgraded green stormwater system that manages stormwater runoff from the station’s parking lot and surrounding streets.

Urban Greening, Water Quality and Beer: Philadelphia Water at PHS’s South Street Pop Up Garden

As a part of ongoing efforts to showcase the success of Green City, Clean Waters over the last five years, we are partnering with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to host three nights of special events at the PHS Pop Up Garden at 15th and South Streets.

Baxter's Best, a beer brewed by Saint Benjamin Brewing Co. to highlight local water quality and the importance of protecting our rivers, will be on tap.

The garden opens to the public each evening at 5 p.m. with a full menu of food and drinks.
The fun will take place Monday, Sept. 12 through Wednesday, Sept. 14. See our event listings on Facebook + invite your friends: Facebook.com/PhillyH2O

Here’s what you can expect each evening:

New Signs to Welcome Neighborhood Green Infrastructure Projects

New decals near Hagert and Coral streets announce an upcoming Green City, Clean Waters project. Credit: Philadelphia Water
New decals near Hagert and Coral streets announce an upcoming Green City, Clean Waters project. Credit: Philadelphia Water

With so many Green City, Clean Waters green infrastructure projects planned for neighborhoods all over the city, we at Philadelphia Water are always looking for ways to let residents know about upcoming work that will improve stormwater management in their area.

In that spirit, we created colorful new street decals that will be placed in neighborhoods where construction for Green City, Clean Waters projects is scheduled to start within six months.

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