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Rio vs. Philly: Our Water Quality Wins By a Mile

Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.
Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.

With all eyes on Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, one big health concern right up there with the Zika virus is the water quality in rivers, bays and surf around Rio de Janeiro. While athletes no doubt would prefer to focus their attention on winning, the risk of getting violently ill from the very water they’ll compete in and on is a serious hurdle aquatic athletes will have to contend with this year.

Stories like this July 26 report from the New York Times offer an alarming glimpse of what happens when we fail to protect our waterways from pollution. Here’s what Olympians in sports like swimming and kayaking may (quite literally) get a taste of during the Rio games, according to the Times:

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “superbacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

Innovative Infrastructure: New Stations Expand Drinking Water Access, Curb Plastic Waste

Infrastructure Week 2016: Drinking Water Stations

When people hear the word “infrastructure,” they think about roads, bridges and (if we’re lucky!) pipes.

But for Infrastructure Week 2016, we’re looking at elements of Philadelphia’s water system that might not come to mind when you think about infrastructure. (So far, we’ve looked at the thousands of new green tools created through the Green City, Clean Waters program and the 75,000+ storm drains found on city streets.)

Today, we’re looking at a brand-new kind of infrastructure that rethinks an old standard—the water fountain.

As Philadelphia celebrates the 90th Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the world's largest high school regatta, Philadelphia Water will unveil a new network of four eye-catching public water stations located along Kelly Drive.

#DrinkTapPHL: 15,000 Reasons to Ditch Disposable Bottles

Philadelphia Water and Head of the Schuylkill Regatta teamed up to give away 12,000 reusable bottles Oct. 24-25. It's part of a new effort to encourage people to save money with tap water and fight litter with refillable bottles. Credit: Philadelphia Water/Brian Rademaekers
Philadelphia Water and Head of the Schuylkill Regatta teamed up to give away 15,000 reusable bottles Oct. 24-25. It's part of a new effort to encourage people to save money with tap water and fight litter with refillable bottles. Credit: Philadelphia Water/Brian Rademaekers

There were lots of big names and important figures on the banks of the Schuylkill on Oct. 23 to announce a new network of water bottle filling stations along the Schuylkill River Trail, "America's Best Urban Trail" and Philadelphia's most popular recreational path.

But perhaps the most important (and certainly the cutest) people there were the 4th grade students from FS Edmonds Elementary School. Fresh from a field trip to the Fairmount Water Works, the kids enthusiastically took the #DrinkTapPHL/Schuylkill Navy River Stewards pledge to “Choose to Reuse” and were given some of the 15,000 free refillable bottles ordered for the new drinking water/anti-litter campaign. (For photos from Friday's kickoff, click here.)

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