Stormwater Pioneers

CHOP Gets Recognition for Leading with River-Protecting Green Design

When leadership at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia decided to create a brand-new, centralized facility for pediatric care, their primary concern was easing the stress young patients and their families often face while undergoing treatment.

Today, that vision is recognized at the 12-story Buerger Center, a colorful University City building that opened in 2015 with a playful, flowing façade that makes it feel like a distinct, long-cherished landmark.

Impressive features include a lush and winding 16,000 square foot roof garden and a ground-level plaza garden covering more than two acres. These spaces not only serve the mission of reducing stress for kids in treatment—they also reduce pollution in Philadelphia’s waterways.

By limiting the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into Philadelphia’s combined sewer system, where heavy storms can lead to overflows that harm local rivers like the Schuylkill, these green features are helping the City of Philadelphia in its drive to massively reduce this source of pollution in the coming years.

That attention to water quality protection and green design are what earned CHOP and the team behind the Buerger Center the 2017 Stormwater Pioneer award. Granted by the Philadelphia Water Department, the award recognizes forward-thinking stormwater management projects in the private sector.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell will gather on the blooming 6th-floor roof garden with CHOP officials and the development team this Wednesday, July 26.

While the Buerger Center’s gardens are highly visible, much of the actual stormwater management takes place behind the scenes at the facility, which was designed to be LEED-Silver certified.

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.

Congratulations to Stanley's True Value Hardware

Stanley’s True Value Hardware: Environmental Dedication, Excellent Design

It’s official. PWD named the first Stormwater Pioneer—Stanley’s Hardware in Roxborough. Congratulations to third-generation business owners Mark and Joe Jaconski and their stormwater management design team from Ruggiero Plante Land Design.  At today’s dedication, we recognize the owners and designers of Stanley’s Hardware as role models for business owners and private developers who want to reduce stormwater runoff from their properties. “If everyone does their part, it’s much easier for the City and the Water Department to deal with stormwater,” says Mark.
 
The Jackonski’s built a new, larger store on the site of their existing business in Roxborough.  As part of the project, they were required to meet PWD’s Stormwater Regulations. In addition to doing a fantastic job meeting the regulations, they also overcame several challenges: keeping the store open while building a new one, working around bedrock at various locations on the property, and protecting neighboring properties.

The stormwater solution developed by Ruggiero Plante Land Design includes two underground infiltration basins that collect runoff from the store’s roof and parking area.  To avoid subsurface bedrock, one of the basins is split into two storage beds hydraulically connected with HDPE pipes.  Above ground, the parking lot drains directly into a rain garden through openings in the curb.  The rain garden collects and filters the runoff through plants and engineered soils.

An elaborate, seven-phase construction plan allowed the existing store to remain open until the new one was ready.  Now business is booming.

“We’re hoping to keep trash, debris and other pollution out of the water so that everyone can enjoy a clean river.  If we can play a small part in making the environment better for the next generation, that’s a major plus for us,” says Joe.

Learn more about Stormwater Pioneers.

Introducing Stormwater Pioneers!

More and more Philadelphia businesses are using green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff on their properties. Whether required by PWD regulations or encouraged through incentives, private property owners recognize the important role they play in reducing pollution in our streams when it rains. They are also setting a higher bar with excellent, cost-effective designs.

That’s why PWD recently launched Stormwater Pioneers, a program to highlight the work of innovative business owners and design teams. Stormwater Pioneers acknowledges the very best in stormwater management on private property. The program showcases innovation, excellence, the ability to overcome technical challenges and a true dedication by the property owners, developers, engineers and designers to reduce stormwater runoff.

The first Stormwater Pioneer is Stanley’s True Value Hardware, which has operated as a family-run business in Roxborough for 66 years. After decades of working in a cramped store, brothers Mark and Joseph Jaconski decided to build a new store on their current property. The construction of an expanded facility required the brothers to meet PWD’s Stormwater Regulations. They also decided to protect the environment for the next generation. Their solution was a comprehensive design that utilizes a beautiful rain garden and three underground infiltration basins, which capture runoff and infiltrate it into the ground. 

The property at 5555 Ridge Avenue will be dedicated on Thursday, November 20th at 2 pm. Join Councilman Curtis Jones, Water Department Deputy Commissioner Chris Crockett, the Roxborough Development Corporation and the Central Roxborough Civic Association as they honor the Jaconski brothers and Ruggerio Plante Land Design for their part in protecting the health of Philadelphia’s rivers through excellent site design.

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