Planning

Green City, Clean Waters Named ‘Climate Hero’ at Sustain PHL Celebration

Philadelphia Water picked up the Sustain PHL Climate Hero Award (center) on Aug. 18. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Philadelphia Water picked up the Sustain PHL Climate Hero Award (center) on Aug. 18. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Philadelphia Water and the Green City, Clean Waters program received the first-ever Climate Hero Award at Sustain PHL, a citywide sustainability celebration held before a packed house at the WHYY studios on August 18.

Adaptation, Mitigation, City Greening and Water Cleaning – Philadelphia Water Tackles Climate Change


Top Left:
Solar panels at our Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant; Bottom Left: Part of our Sewage Geothermal Installation, located at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant; Right: Trees and plants at hundreds of sites citywide represent a green infrastructure network well-suited for coming climate change impacts.

Philadelphia Water was recently nominated as a “Climate Hero” for the first-ever SustainPHL, a citywide sustainability celebration hosted by the great people behind Green Philly Blog. The event will take place on August 18 at the WHYY studios on 6th Street, across from Independence Hall.

By their definition, Climate Hero nominees “…advocate to bring climate change as a central part of our conversation or take action to fight climate change.”

So what puts us in this category along with Swarthmore College and #ClimateDisrupted? How can a water department like Philadelphia Water be a “Climate Hero”?

A better question might be: how could we not get involved in climate change?

Green City, Clean Waters Is About to Grow Up. We Want to Hear from You.

What should Philly’s green infrastructure to look like in 2021? Tell us here.
Clockwise from top left: A stormwater bumpout near the Daroff Samuel School in West Phila.; rain garden in East Kensington; stormwater basin at Kemble Park in North Phila.; stormwater tree trench on Washington Ave. in South Phila.; Credit: Philadelphia Water.

This June is a big one for Philadelphia Water.

Green City, Clean Waters—our revolutionary program to drastically reduce stormwater pollution and sewer overflows using green infrastructure—is turning five. That means we're going from proving that we can build green tools that work to building a green infrastructure network that operates on a much bigger scale.

Philly Has Much to Gain—and Lose—from Paris Climate Talks

Flooding from Hurricane Irene in 2011 raised the Schuylkill River to levels not seen in 140 years. Climate change is projected to bring more extreme storms to the region. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Flooding from Hurricane Irene in 2011 raised the Schuylkill River to levels not seen in 140 years. Climate change is projected to bring more extreme storms to the region. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Chances are, you’ve already heard a little bit about the Paris climate change talks—formally, the “21st Conference of the Parties” or COP21—that kicked off yesterday with world leaders calling for action.

While those talks might seem a world away, there are more than a few good reasons for Philadelphians to pay attention.

What About All the Thirsty Papal Pilgrims? We’ve Got Them (and You) Covered

 


Watch this short video to learn more about how we make your water safe. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

On the eve of the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, there’s still plenty of speculation about just how many people will be in town for World Meeting of Families events. The most recent reported projections range anywhere between 300,000 and 1 million visitors and event organizers are prepared for as many as 1.5 to 2 million people.

To be on the safe side, Philadelphia Water used the upper end of that estimate in calculations aimed at ensuring our drinking water system will be able to handle whatever the Pope crowds can throw at it.

The short answer is that, yes, our system can provide plenty of safe drinking water for the city and any additional visitors this weekend.

To get to that conclusion, our Water Planning Team looked at factors like the level of demand recorded between Sept. 22-28 over the last six years, as well as the level of demand during other big events like recent Welcome America celebrations. Predictably, higher temperatures were the most consistent factor in increased demand. Most large events, however, didn’t create a significantly higher demand for water.

That said, it’s worth noting that temperatures during the Papal visit should top out in the mid-70s—a nice cool weekend for outdoor events.

Philadelphia Water typically delivers an average of 225 million gallons per day to the distribution system. The potential water demand during the Papal Visit may increase up to 278 million, according to our analysis. But, even if demand increased by 53 million gallons, Philadelphia Water would still be able to keep up. That’s because our water treatment facilities are designed to cumulatively produce up to 623 million gallons per day under optimal and fully functioning conditions. On top of that, the storage capacity for treated and untreated water in the combined drinking water plant and distribution system provides a substantial quantity— 1.065 billion gallons—to meet demand increases.

What does all that mean? It means that Philadelphia Water’s advanced and robust drinking water system is designed to make sure we all have 24/7 access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water, even during big events like this.

And, just in case you’re wondering what happens with all the waste from the Papal Port-a-Potties, we’ll be treating it at our Southwest Water Pollution Control Plant.

More: How Do We Make Water Drinkable? This Graphic Shows It All.

Starting Today: New Stormwater Regulations Bring Healthier Rivers

Philadelphia's new website for Stormwater Regulations planning and review. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Philadelphia's new website for Stormwater Regulations planning and review. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

For two years, we’ve been working to update our Stormwater Regulations and Plan Review Program.

Now, the changes are finally here.

From July 1, 2015 forward, development in the city is required to follow updated Stormwater Regulations.

These updates represent the most substantial changes to the regulations in nearly a decade. They ensure new development works alongside Philadelphia Water’s Green City, Clean Waters plan by requiring new sites to handle more water, slow stormwater more effectively, and release cleaner water into our sewers.

In doing all of that, the new regulations also encourage more robust use of green infrastructure across the city.

While we were working to create modernized regulations, we also went to great lengths to make the Plan Review process easier from start to finish by listening to the business community and other stakeholders.

The result is an improved, faster process for submitting and reviewing stormwater plans and a new website that makes our Stormwater Regulations Guidance Manual more accessible. At PWDPlanreview.org, users will find a fully searchable, shareable guide and other helpful tools for making sure stormwater plans reflect the new regulations and align with Philadelphia’s vision for a modern stormwater system.

Together, Philadelphia Water and the development community are working to make sure we all have a future defined by smart growth and healthier rivers and streams.

Want to learn more? Public information sessions will be held July 9th and 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Blvd. Click here to register.

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