Storm Drains

Pssst: Tips for the 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest


Philly students: Do you care about protecting our drinking water and aquatic wildlife? Have artistic talent? Want to win prizes for yourself, your teachers and your school?

The 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest is now underway, and the deadline for submissions has just been extended! We want you to send your best creative work showing what people can do to protect our rivers and creeks by Friday, March 17, 2017.

Three winning drawings are selected from each of the four grade groups: K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, and 9th-12th.

For the last eight years, we’ve been working with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) to organize this contest—open to all K-12 students that attend public, private, or home school in Philadelphia—and that’s given us a pretty good idea about what makes for a winning entry.

Here are a few tips to guide your creativity:

Saving Ducklings and Protecting Watersheds: All In a Day's Work for Our Inlet Cleaning Crews!

Infrastructure Week 2016: Inlet Cleaning

While they may be easy to overlook, you can find at least one of our 75,000-plus storm drains on nearly every street in Philadelphia. Designed to take stormwater away from our streets, storm drains (or inlets) form a direct connection between our neighborhoods and the watersheds in which we live.

What does that connection mean? It means that, when people litter, leave pet waste behind, or let old cars leak oil in the street, that stuff washes down the storm drain and enters our water supply.

On the other hand, inlets blocked with trash, snow, leaves, construction debris and sediment can make local flooding worse when we have heavy rain and water can’t drain properly.

So, who takes care of our storm drains? And what can residents do to keep pollution out of our waterways and ensure the storm drains work properly?

Here to answer some of those questions during Infrastructure Week is William Shields, the head of our Inlet Cleaning Unit.

Cleaner Streets = Cleaner Rivers and Creeks

With more than 900 projects scattered across the city, this Saturday’s Philly Spring Cleanup was the largest ever—and that’s a pretty big deal considering this volunteer-driven event has already been praised as “America’s biggest single-day urban cleanup” for years now.

First held in 2007, Philly Spring Cleanup has grown into a movement that brings neighbors together by harnessing a passion for litter-free communities. From a watershed protection perspective, we love seeing that passion transformed into action because so much of the litter and trash collected from streets, parks and empty lots on Saturday would eventually wash into Philly’s rivers and creeks.

While the 2016 results haven’t been tallied yet, last year’s cleanup (featuring 718 projects) netted 836,100 pounds of trash, 104,260 pounds of tires and 107,580 pounds of recyclables—all stuff that could very well have ended up in our water.

The Great Melt Is Here ... Are Your Storm Drains Clear?

Now that snow is melting, it's very important to make sure storm drains are clear. We have crews on the job, but we could use a hand too. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Now that snow is melting, it's very important to make sure storm drains are clear. We have crews on the job, but we could use a hand too. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Winter Storm Jonas surely lived up to—and even exceeded—all the Snowpocalypse/Snowzilla hype.

That meant plenty of sledding and snowman building on Saturday and Sunday when it was cold. But with nearly two feet of snow now starting to melt, our winter wonderland is dissolving into a soupy mess that we want to make sure enters the inlets so it does not create roadway flooding or icing conditions as the frigid temperatures return each night.

Philadelphia Water's New Official Spokesdog: Little Pup with a Big Message

Meet Shorty, our latest anti-POOllution Spokesdog. Nothing makes him more upset than seeing pet waste that's been left on the street to wash into our rivers—his (and our) drinking water source! Credit: Philadelphia Water/Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
Meet Shorty, our latest anti-POOllution Spokesdog. Nothing makes him more upset than seeing pet waste that's been left on the street to wash into our rivers—his (and our) drinking water source! Credit: Philadelphia Water/Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

There were some (very) big dogs.

There were lots of (very) cute dogs.

But after a hard-fought contest at the Zoom Room on Girard Avenue this past Sunday, there was only one official Philadelphia Water Spokesdog.

And that dog is …  

Marking Storm Drains With TTF and Hackley School!

Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc. (TTF) is dedicated to enhancing the health and vitality of the TTF Watershed, including neighborhoods Philadelphia and Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Rockledge, and Springfield in Montgomery County. They work with residents, schools, community organizations, environmental advisory councils, businesses and policy makers to build watershed awareness.



On Thursday October 3rd, TTF teamed up with 7th graders from Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY to mark 150 stormwater drains with stickers that say “No Dumping, Drains to River” to help raise awareness in the surrounding neighborhood about where litter goes when it enters the drain. In addition to marking drains, students picked up litter and leftflyers for residents, informing them about watersheds and combined sewer systems.


Representatives from PWD also helped mark drains and brought an interactive model to demonstrate how combined sewers work. Students poured glittered water, representing waste water, into the model home and watched it travel down the pipe, get filtered and returned to the river. However, when they added rain to the streets at the same time as “using water” in the house, they learned that excess stormwater caused the system to overflow, sending diluted waste into the river. After all the fun, everyone wrapped up a day with pretzels and apple cider.
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