SMIP

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.

Watersheds Blog 2016 Highlight Reel, Part 3: Awards and Grants

In the third and final part of our 2016 highlights series, we look at awards received by the Philadelphia Water Department and its employees as well some grants distributed last year.

Thanks for following along—Part One and Part Two  cover lots of cool highlights for those who missed those posts.

Dilworth Award

Longtime PWD employee and General Manager of the Public Affairs Division Joanne Dahme was honored with a Dilworth Award for Customer Service, one of Philadelphia’s most esteemed civil service distinctions. The Dilworth committee selected Joanne for her tireless efforts to serve the department’s 1.5 million customers, from big citywide efforts to volunteering in her own neighborhood.

We at PWD couldn’t be more proud of her! Read more here!

Planting Day Crowns Project to Improve School with Green Infrastructure, SMIP Grant

Trees, permeable pavement and a rain garden all make the Lea schoolyard a better place for kids and Philadelphia’s waterways. Credit: West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools
Trees, permeable pavement and a rain garden all make the Lea schoolyard a better place for kids and Philadelphia’s waterways. Credit: WPCNS

Since 2012, Philadelphia Water has worked with members of the Lea Elementary School community and a number of partners to redesign their schoolyard and the surrounding area in a way that benefits the students, the neighborhood and our local waterways.

SMIP: It's How We Empower People to Invest in Philly's Neighborhoods and Rivers

What are people saying about our Stormwater Pioneer? Watch this:

Last Tuesday, November 17th, Deputy Commissioner Chris Crockett joined Mayor Michael Nutter, City Councilmen Kenyatta Johnson and Mark Squilla and local business and community leaders to celebrate Popi’s Italian Restaurant and co-owner Gina Rucci as Philadelphia’s 2015 Stormwater Pioneer.

Rucci successfully leveraged a $94,860 grant through Philadelphia Water’s Stormwater Management Incentives Program (SMIP) to create two rain gardens that reduced her stormwater bill by 60 percent while adding attractive landscaping to the restaurant parking lot.

Noting that the rain gardens have been a big hit with her customers and that they will help protect Philadelphia’s drinking water for future generations, Rucci urged other business to take advantage of the grant program.

Stormwater Pioneer: Business Makes Smart Move, Helps Our Rivers

Popi's co-owner Gina Ricci talks about why using a SMIP grant to build rain gardens in the restaurant parking lot was such a smart financial move. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Popi's co-owner Gina Rucci used a SMIP grant to build rain gardens in the restaurant parking lot, and says it was a smart financial move. Credit: Philadelphia Water

For the past 20 years, Popi’s Italian Restaurant has been a beloved fixture in its South Philadelphia community, building a stellar reputation for excellent cuisine in a family-friendly setting. Recently, co-owner Gina Rucci made a smart business move that we’re excited to celebrate. Rucci used over $94,000 from Philadelphia Water to improve her property and neighborhood, all while lowering her stormwater bill by 60 percent. That means the $5,000 investment she contributed will pay for itself in less than two years.

PWD awards $8.25 million in stormwater management grants, seeks more applicants

Cardone - Stormwater Management Incentives Program
Cardone Industries, a SMIP grant winner, constructed a stormwater management system at its 60-acre Northeast Philadelphia headquarters that can capture the first 1.38 inches of rainfall per storm and store approximately 5 million gallons of stormwater on site. Photo from ISS Management. 

Meet SMIP (the Stormwater Management Incentives Program) and GARP (Greened Acre Retrofit Program), PWD’s two innovative programs that reward local businesses, institutions and other non-residential water customers financially for retrofitting their properties to divert stormwater out of our combined storm and waste water system. Together, these two programs awarded $8.25 million to four projects (3 SMIPs and 1 GARP) from July to September of 2014. These projects, representing a total of 11 properties, created 92 greened acres! A greened acre manages at least the first inch of rainfall over that acre. This puts us 92 acres closer to our goal of turning 9,500 impervious (water runs off instead of soaks in) acres into “green acres” over the course of our 25 year Green City, Clean Waters program. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor would be so proud!

SMIP was started in January 2012 and provides grants to non-residential property owners who want to retrofit their properties to manage stormwater. Instead of simply paying higher stormwater management fees, SMIP tips the financial calculations for property owners and creates incentives to build and maintain systems that capture stormwater that would otherwise end up in our sewer system and waterways. SMIP grant recipients not only get financial assistance for the design and implementation of their systems, they will also enjoy the lower stormwater fees since their properties will be generating less runoff. 


W & W Realty Company was awarded a SMIP grant to implement green stormwater management upgrades to its commercial tenant, Dependable Distribution Services Incorporated. With the installation of three large stormwater management systems, their 35-acre site will manage more than 800,000 gallons of stormwater directly on site.

GARP came online in July 2014 and provides stormwater grants to contractors or project aggregators who can build large-scale stormwater retrofit projects across multiple properties. Our first GARP grant went to ISS Management, a stormwater solutions provider, working with eight different commercial property owners. 

To see the three projects that were awarded SMIP grants and the list of properties covered by our first GARP grant, check out this press release announcing the awards. Together, the projects will save these commercial property owners almost $400,000 per year in reduced stormwater fees!

SMIP and GARP are run in partnership with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). Applications for both SMIP and GARP can be submitted at any time and announcements will be made towards the end of each fiscal quarter. So get in now to be considered for the January to March 2015 quarter! Applications not selected in a particular round will have the opportunity to be rolled over to the next without having to resubmit.

More information about both SMIP and GARP can be found on our website. Check out PIDC’s Development and Contract Opportunities page for the grant applications.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrating Cardone Industries Stormwater Management Innovations


On Friday, July 18th, the Philadelphia Water Department took a trip to Cardone Industries for a ribbon-cutting celebrating the $3.4 million grant awarded to Cardone in 2013, as part of the Stormwater Management Incentives Program (SMIP). Cardone is a third generation family-owned business and it is one of the best manufacturers in Philadelphia, known to be environmental friendly because of remanufacturing.


Through the grant, there are five new stormwater management features to ensure that runoff from all areas of the property is managed, including a 530 foot swale and basins, both above and underground.  These features allow the 50-acre property to store five million gallons of rain water and help Cardone save an average of $250,000 per year in stormwater fees.


Numerous people joined PWD for the ribbon cutting. Special guests included Councilwoman Marian Tasco of the 9th district, Councilman Bobby Henon of the 6th district, Cardone Chief Executive Officer Kevin Cramton, Steve Jurash from the Manufacturer’s Alliance and Mike Cooper of the Commerce Department.

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