source water

10 Days Left to Apply for Schuylkill River Restoration Fund Grants

Kelly Anderson of PWD's Source Water Protection Program addresses a group at the 2016 event annoucing last year's grant winners.
Kelly Anderson of PWD's Source Water Protection Program addresses a group at the 2016 event annoucing last year's grant winners.

The 2017 Schuylkill River Restoration Fund Grant Round is now open! Letters of Intent must be submitted to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area by February 16.

Schuylkill River Restoration Fund: Eight New Investments in River’s Health Announced

David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.
David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.

The Philadelphia Water Department works hard to protect the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers here in Philly, but an essential fact about water is that it’s a shared resource. Our watersheds don’t just provide drinking water for the 1.5 million people in Philadelphia—many millions more depend on these same waters at their kitchen taps, for agriculture, tourism and recreation, and more.

And what happens in the watersheds above Philadelphia matters for the huge number of people living downstream.

For perspective, consider that less than two percent of the watershed providing our source water falls within Philadelphia. When you look at our rivers that way, it becomes clear why a strong partnership approach is such a critical part of the effort to ensure top-quality drinking water.

That’s why we work with organizations like the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, which advocates for the health of one of our main drinking water sources and manages important programs like the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF).

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, PWD joined fellow partners in announcing nearly $279,000 in SRRF grants that will help protect the Schuylkill through eight investments in places ranging from the rural headwaters to the North Light Community Center in urban Manayunk. (Full list of SRRF contributors here).

Philly Fun Fish Fishing Fest and Coast Day: An Action-Packed Day on Our Waterfronts


The yellow line on the map above marks the area where the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest will be held. Click for a larger image.

We've teamed up with a number of partners to make September 10 a truly special day for those looking to explore what Philly's rivers have to offer. If you've been hearing stories about the amazing comeback our local waterways are experiencing, this is your chance to grab the family and see it for yourself!

The Philly Fun Fishing Fest, sponsored by Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission and Schuylkill Banks, will be held at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Baxter's Best: A Beer About Protecting Philly's Water

From right to left, counterclockwise: Tim Patton pours Baxter's Best at the Green City, Clean Waters 5-year party; the beer's namesake at top left in in 1961; a placard describing the character of the beer. Credit: Brian Rademaekers and PhillyH2O.org
From right to left, counterclockwise: Tim Patton pours Baxter's Best at the Green City, Clean Waters 5-year party; the beer's namesake at top left in in 1961; a placard describing the character of the beer. Credit: Brian Rademaekers and PhillyH2O.org

In marking the five-year anniversary of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program, we’ve been busy talking about the importance of protecting the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers—the source of drinking water for over 1.5 million people in Philadelphia alone.

While we usually think about our drinking water as something residents consume in cold glasses from their kitchen tap, in a way, that water is also often served via a different sort of tap—those found at the hundreds of Philly bars proudly pouring beers brewed right here in our fair city.

Saturday: Get Rid of Old Meds the Smart Way


Image Source: DEA

Have prescription drugs you need to get rid of, Philly?

People with unwanted or expired prescriptions often want to get rid them to avoid abuse or keep them away from children. Simply tossing drugs in the trash, however, can be problematic.

In the past, that dilemma caused many people to flush drugs down the toilet or wash them down the drain. More and more people today realize that doing so can have negative impacts on our waterways and the aquatic life that lives there.

Luckily for those who care about our water, locations across our region will be collecting old drugs for safe disposal this Saturday.

On Earth Day, Think About How a Water Utility Can Help Our Planet

Philadelphia Water works to protect our rivers and planet in a number of ways. Clockwise from top left: Solar panels at our Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant; a Green City, Clean Waters tree trench in East Falls; part of our Biogas Cogeneration system at the Northeast WPCP; Philadelphia Water volunteers at a March 2016 Bartram’s Garden cleanup that removed 12,927 pounds of trash from the Schuylkill River’s banks.
Philadelphia Water works to protect our rivers and planet in a number of ways. Clockwise from top left: Solar panels at our Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant; a Green City, Clean Waters tree trench in East Falls; part of our Biogas Cogeneration system; Philadelphia Water volunteers at a March 2016 Bartram’s Garden cleanup that removed 12,927 pounds of trash from the Schuylkill River’s banks.

While Philadelphia Water’s core mission is to provide our 1.7 million customers with constant access to safe, clean drinking water, a big part of doing that job involves protecting and improving our local rivers and creeks.

After all, providing top quality drinking water is a lot easier when you take care of your source water.

That simple fact makes Philadelphia Water, in many ways, an environmental institution.

Out to Pasture: Philly Tours Farms Protecting Our Source Water

 Philadelphia Water toured Berks Co. farms on Friday, November 7 with Berks Nature. Credit: Brian Rademaekers/Philadelphia Water

KEMPTON, PA Pointing to a towering, soggy heap of what he calls "slop," Larry Lloyd traces with his finger a stream of water running from the base of a manure pile to a small drainage pipe that connects to an adjacent creek.

Nearby, rows of cows and calves calmly and mechanically chew hay. Without much noticing it, they are simultaneously creating what seems to be an endless supply of fresh manure for farmers to stack into yet more heaps. It’s hay in one end, water-polluting manure out the other.

And it never stops.

"This is what we’re up against," says Lloyd, a lanky, weather-tanned man in his 60s who sports a baseball cap and a pair of boots well-suited for his manure-rich job— getting local farmers to adopt smart runoff management practices.

City Council Imagined a Day Without Water - And They Didn't Like It

This graphic, produced by Value of Water, shows we aren't alone in dealing with main breaks. Over the last 5 years, Philadelphia Water averaged 823 water main breaks per year, a fairly typcial number for similar cities. Credit: Philadelphia Water/Value of Water.
This graphic, produced by Value of Water, shows we aren't alone in dealing with main breaks. Over the last 5 years, Philadelphia Water averaged 823 water main breaks per year, a fairly typical number for similar cities. Credit: Philadelphia Water/Value of Water.

As a part of the national "Imagine a Day Without Water" campaign, City Council backed a resolution recognizing the importance of our water infrastructure and the need for both local and federal investment to maintain the pipes and systems that deliver, remove and treat our water.

We're thrilled that Philly's elected officials (officially) get just how important it is to keep our water flowing! In the Tuesday, Oct. 1 session, City Council overwhelmingly approved the resolution. You can view the document here, and we've included the full text below.

MORE: Read Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug's Inquirer Op-Ed Here

Since there are roughly 2,000 employees at Philadelphia Water working 24/7/365 to make sure you always have clean, safe drinking water and that our rivers are protected and healthy, we know the importance of having water. And even just one day without water would more than inconvenient—it could be catastrophic.

It's more than brushing your teeth, having a cup of coffee and, of course, staying hydrated. So much—from the food we grow to our power plants and life-saving fire hydrants—depends on the nation's water infrastructure. And yet, we often take it for granted until something breaks because so much of this crucial system is hidden beneath our feet. In Philadelphia alone, there are enough pipes and sewers to stretch from here to California and back again, and much of that system is aging.
We've budgeted $767 million in 2016 to keep Philadelphia's water infrastructure running, but the system is still aging, and costs will rise.

That's why we're part of the "Imagine a Day Without Water" campaign, organized by the national Value of Water Coalition, to raise awareness about the need for infrastructure investment.
Learn more about this important issue at the Value of Water website, check out City Council's resolution below, and be sure to keep read an important message from Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug and former Pa. Governor Ed Rendell (now co-chair at Building America's Future) on the Philadelphia Inquirer's opinion page.

City Council’s Imagine a Day Without Water Resolution -  Full Text:

Recognizing the Philadelphia Water Department and the “Imagine a Day Without Water” campaign being held October 6-8 2015 which is geared toward recognizing the importance of clean water in our lives and the investment in infrastructure that is necessary to protect this valuable resource.


Whereas, the infrastructure that brings water to and from homes and businesses is essential to the quality of life and economic vitality of the city of Philadelphia; and

Whereas, Philadelphia residents on average utilize 87 gallons of water per person, per day; and

Whereas, Philadelphia has almost 3,200 miles of water mains with an average age of 70 years; and treats over 250 million gallons of drinking water per day and over 471 million gallons of wastewater and stormwater per day, providing reliable and clean water to over 2 million people; and

Whereas, while utilities nationwide are grappling with aging infrastructure, Philadelphia Water is making prudent and sustainable investments guided by a 10-year capital plan; and

Whereas, Philadelphia Water has been a model for innovation, delivering notable projects such as the Contaminant Warning System and the Biogas Cogeneration facility; and

Whereas, Philadelphia will invest $2 billion over 25 years in its Green Cities, Clean Water program to ensure clean water and an ever-greener Philadelphia for present and future generations; and

Whereas, green stormwater infrastructure will not only ease the burden on our sewers but will provide a maximum return in benefits to the public, the economy and the environment; and

Whereas, one-fifth of the U.S. economy would grind to a halt without a reliable and clean source of water; and

Whereas, for every one job created in the water sector, another 3.68 jobs are added in the national economy. And for every $1 spent on infrastructure improvements, the U.S .generates $6 in returns; now; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, that the City of Philadelphia recognizes that water is essential to the quality of life and economic competitiveness and acknowledges the importance of educating the public about the value of water through the “Imagine A Day Without Water” campaign.

FURTHER RESOLVED , that the City of Philadelphia is dedicated to investing in the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure and calls on our federal partners to bring much-needed funding to Philadelphia to protect and restore our critical water infrastructure.

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