This Place Is BMPing

This Place Is BMPing: Liberty Lands

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.

After the EPA remediated the site of a former tannery in Northern Liberties in the late 1980s, the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association turned the former brownfield into a park. Liberty Lands, as it is now known, completed its remarkable turnaround with the construction of a stormwater management project. A rain garden detention pond collects runoff from the site and an adjacent street, filtering it through a stone bed and delivering it to a series of three in-ground cisterns. An irrigation system pumps water from the cisterns to irrigate trees and grass at the park. Maintaining the grass cover at the sloped site helps reduce erosion problems.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: Saylors Grove

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.


Saylors Grove before renovation


Saylors Grove after the creation of a stormwater wetland

Before the Philadelphia Water Department constructed a stormwater wetland at Saylors Grove in Fairmount Park, the area received an excessive amount of runoff that drained into Monoshone Creek, a tributary to the Wissahickon, resulting in erosion of the Monoshone and impaired water quality. The creation of a one-acre wetland in 2006 now handles approximately 25 million gallons of urban stormwater each year, slowing the flow to the Monoshone and filtering the stormwater naturally by removing pollutants as the water cascades over rocks en route to the wetland.

PWD continues to monitor this stormwater wetland to determine the reduction in stormwater flow to the creek and analyze its performance. It is estimated that the wetland intercepts 73% of the watershed's annual runoff.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page. After the jump, another photo of the fully vegetated wetland.

This Place Is BMPing: PECO Green Roof

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.

This time next week, the 2011 CitiesAlive conference—the only conference in North America devoted to the green roof and wall industry—will kick off here in Philadelphia. So there's no better time to showcase the green roof atop the PECO building at 23rd and Market streets in Center City. At 45,000 square feet, it's the largest urban green roof installation on an existing building in Pennsylvania. The roof captures 60-70% of the estimated 1.5 million gallons of runoff from the building annually, and the vegetation consists mainly of hardy sedum varieties.

For more details, photos and a video about the PECO green roof, check out the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: Herron Playground

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.



Those who attended this week's Low Impact Development Symposium in Philadelphia had the opportunity to take a bus tour of the city's green infrastructure projects and see how PWD is managing stormwater in an urban setting. One of the sites on the tour is Herron Playground in Pennsport. The playground features a porous asphalt basketball court with a subsurface infiltration system that manages runoff. Surrounding the play area and spray park pictured above are new trees and, on the south side of the site, a rain garden also helps to infiltrate water into the ground.


Locate this and other PWD green infrastructure projects on our Big Green Map.

This Place Is BMPing: Wises Mill Run Stormwater Wetland

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.


Photo: Friends of the Wissahickon

Wises Mill Run, a tributary of Wissahickon Creek, is a waterway that's severely impacted by stormwater flows. After storms, the nearby neighborhood's storm sewers discharge a large volume of water into Wises Mill Run, resulting in erosion of the creek's bed. The Philadelphia Water Department led a project to divert runoff from the storm sewer into a two-tiered stormwater wetland that can hold 150,000 cubic feet of water. This wetland reduces peak flows to the creek by storing runoff before discharging it into the creek. The photo above depicts the wetland at work after Hurricane Irene.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: PA DEP Southeast Regional Office

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.


Photo: PA DEP

It's not unexpected that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection would have a BMP or two at its regional headquarters—it's kind of like seeing a garage next to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s house, or pink flamingos on John Waters' lawn. That's just what they do. But the stormwater management at PA DEP's office in Norristown (upstream from Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River) is a little bit unusual. Sure, part of the building features a fairly typical green roof (688 square feet, and accessible to employees on the second floor), but it also sports a 5,000-gallon cistern that resembles a tiki hut. The indoor cistern stores runoff from the impervious portion of the roof; the water is filtered and used to flush toilets and water indoor plants. When the cistern approaches its storage capacity during heavy rainfall, water is diverted from the tank.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view
photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: Thomas Jefferson University Plaza

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.


Image: Andropogon Associates, Inc.

The plaza outside Thomas Jefferson University's Dorrance H. Hamilton Building (located between 10th and 11th; Locust and Walnut streets) is an example of green stormwater infrastructure that's barely visible to the naked eye. The system constructed here collects water from the building's roof and air conditioner condensation and stores it in a cistern underneath the plaza. Just one inch of stormwater is enough to water the 1.6-acre plaza's plants and trees for a week. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: Waterview Recreation Center

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.

Multiple BMPs at Waterview Recreation Center in East Germantown make this site a study in the different approaches to urban stormwater management. The porous concrete sidewalk in front of the recreation center allows for infiltration of stormwater. Where porous concrete did not replace traditional impervious sidewalk, stormwater tree trenches planted with turf grass and street trees also help capture stormwater. The porous concrete/tree trench system is also connected to modified inlets, which convey runoff from the street into the infiltration beds. And finally, two flow-through planters (pictured above) collect stormwater from the main building's roof; water flows from the partially disconnected roof leader to a concrete splash block, then into the waterproofed planter boxes landscaped with native plants. Any overflow is directed back into the city's sewer system. PWD partnered with Meliora Environmental Design and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for the Waterview Recreation Center project, a demonstration of how green infrastructure can work even with limited space and funding.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view
photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: Friends Center

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.

Located two blocks north of City Hall at 15th and Cherry streets, the Friends Center features one of Philadelphia's most famous green roofs. In keeping with the Friends' commitment to "tread lightly on the Earth," the green roof and stormwater collection/reuse system help to preserve the Schuylkill River watershed by lessening the impact of more than 58 million gallons of runoff per year. The green roof absorbs 90% of stormwater, and the remaining 10% that does not infiltrate is filtered by the vegetation and soil. In addition, rainwater from the roof is collected in six large tanks in the building's basement, where it is purified and reused as "grey water" to flush restroom toilets. These efforts have led to a 90% reduction in the Friends Center's water bill.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

This Place Is BMPing: Cliveden Park

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.

Cliveden Park collects runoff from two city blocks in Mt. Airy, thanks to a rain garden featuring step pools (pictured above). During storms, rainwater is directed from an adjacent street and flows down a series of step pools into a rain garden. This system not only reduces the stormwater volume through evapotranspiration and infiltration, it also slows the velocity of the runoff that contributes to combined sewer overflows. Directing and detaining stormwater flow over natural surfaces can serve as a filter and help treat polluted runoff, improving its water quality.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view design plans at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

Video presentation on the Cliveden Park project from 2008 after the jump.

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