NOTICE: has been archived.

The archive will be available at for approximately one year (through September 2020). If you use or are responsible for content here that is not yet available elsewhere, please contact the PWD Digital Team.


  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/ on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/ on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/ on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/ on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/ on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/ on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /jet/app/www/default/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/ on line 0.

This Place Is BMPing: Thomas Jefferson University Plaza

Each week, we profile a BMP—short for Best Management Practices—to demonstrate how local businesses, organizations and neighbors are helping to keep our streams and rivers clean by managing stormwater on their property.

Image: Andropogon Associates, Inc.

The plaza outside Thomas Jefferson University's Dorrance H. Hamilton Building (located between 10th and 11th; Locust and Walnut streets) is an example of green stormwater infrastructure that's barely visible to the naked eye. The system constructed here collects water from the building's roof and air conditioner condensation and stores it in a cistern underneath the plaza. Just one inch of stormwater is enough to water the 1.6-acre plaza's plants and trees for a week. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Learn more about this stormwater BMP project, find it on a map and view photos at  the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative project page.

In The News: Water, Watersheds Everywhere

A member of the Miss Rockaway Armada at the Schuylkill launch site (Photo: Tod Seelie)

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer featured a trifecta of water and watershed-related news:

On the front page, reporter Sandy Bauers details the detective work the Philadelphia Water Department is doing to track down the source of iodine-131 levels observed in the Wissahickon in the spring. The prime suspect? Iodine-131 that is present in medication used to treat thyroid cancer. Full article

"Officials from the Water Department, the EPA, and the DEP emphasize that the levels detected are tiny and don't constitute a public health threat. Philadelphia's drinking water meets standards for radioactivity and remains safe, they say. Even if it was getting into streams above Philadelphia, iodine-131 has such a short half-life - half the radioactivity is gone after eight days - that amounts would be much reduced by the time they were swept downstream.

But, said Chris Crockett, the Water Department's deputy commissioner of environmental services, 'we don't want any iodine-131 in our water. I don't want it there for me or my kids and my family. And I don't want it for our neighbors and citizens.'"

Be sure to read our Iodine-131 Q&A for PWD's official word on the topic. Once again, Philadelphia's drinking water is safe to drink.

Elsewhere, a group of artists known as the Miss Rockaway Armada is building a salvaged-materials flotilla/performance space for a September art installation in the Schuylkill and Delaware. Commissioned by the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the installation features music, theatrical performances and ... oh, just go here and try to figure it out. Full article

"'This project is more about reinterpreting the water space in Philadelphia,' [said Tod Seelie]. 'The experience of breaking the shore-to-water barrier and actually being in the water has a lot more implications than you might think.'"

And finally, a Colorado environmental technologies firm is unveiling a demonstration project on a Lancaster County farm that seeks to reduce the amount of nitrogen from cow waste. Excess nitrogen levels in groundwater and rivers due to agricultural waste has a damaging effect on the Chesapeake Bay. Full article

'"There is a real pressing need to find alternative ways of handling manure," said Jan Jarrett, president of PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy group.

The federal Clean Water Act in the last 40 years has reduced so-called point source pollution or effluent from factories and sewage treatment plants. But farming, which was exempt from the act, increasingly has been responsible for more pollution, damaging waterways by flooding them with nutrients.

When manure is used as fertilizer, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other potentially damaging chemicals eventually (often in about two years) make their way to groundwater and streams, and to bigger waters such as the Chesapeake.'

Coming Attraction: Hidden River Expedition

Lewis & Clark. Ferdinand Magellan. Lord Whimsy. Only the last man in that list can be called a true "re-explorer." From August 4-6, the author and artist Allen Crawford (who sometimes operates under the name Lord Whimsy) will embark on a 40-mile kayak trip from Mt. Holly, NJ, to Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia. Dubbed the Hidden River Expedition ("Schuylkill" is Dutch for "hidden river"), Crawford will be documenting his adventure via text, photos and video at We'll be tuning in and furiously hotlinking during those three days, as this expedition is a true testament to the recovery of Philadelphia-area waterways and the importance of healthy rivers and streams. Crawford plans to pay particular attention to the rivers' recovering wildlife population (beavers, sturgeon and oysters) among other attractions in and along the water.

For more info, here is the press release and itinerary. After the jump, a photo of Crawford's Steve Zissou-esque Hidden River Expedition patch.

Green Roof For Queen Bees

Photo: Sharron Cohen

This Saturday, July 16, some Queen Village bees are getting their own green roof. Join the gardeners and neighbors of the Southwark Queen Village Community Garden from 10 a.m. to noon as they construct a green roof on the Honey House, the small building where the community garden stores beekeeping supplies for three honey-producing hives. The workshop-style event allows participants to help construct the green roof and should serve as a great introduction on how even small structures can accommodate living roofs that absorb water and benefit the environment.

The Southwark Queen Village Community Garden is located at 311 Christian St. A $20 fee for participants goes toward funding for beekeeping supplies. Call 215-320-2980 to reserve a spot—space is limited. Check out the bee blog for info on native bees and view more of Sharron Cohen's Queen Village bee photos. GreenTreks will also be filming the workshop and has some additional information.

Delaware Sailboat Tour Update

posted in

Photo: Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Update/correction to the earlier post about the scheduled sailboat tour of the Delaware River: The July 9 tour is full, but a second tour has been added for July 16 and space is still available as of this posting. A $10 donation is recommended to benefit the Friends of Washington Avenue Green, a neighborhood group that tends to the eco-park. Again, email for more info.

Moreover, this update is just an excuse to post a photo of the floating wetlands built last summer as part of the Washington Avenue Green project; the wetlands are buoyed by cells of plastic bottles that were found as waste and reused.

Mast Transit: Free Sailboat Tour of the Delaware

posted in

Photo: Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

This Saturday, July 9, board the sailboat Northwind for a free two-hour (9:00-11:00 a.m.) tour of the Delaware River. Learn about the river's history and ecology; the tour will also focus on Washington Avenue Green, the recently constructed public park along the Delaware. The photo above depicts a rain garden in the park that collects stormwater runoff from the nearby parking lot. Other ecologically friendly features of Washington Avenue Green include floating wetlands that provide habitat for aquatic life and depaved portions of the parking lot that allow stormwater to infiltrate the soil below.

RSVP by tomorrow, July 6 by sending an email to Again, the tour is free but space is limited; all sailors must be at least 16 years old. Visit the event's Facebook page.

Root For The Home Stream

posted in

"Root for the home estuary" doesn't have quite the same ring to it—but if you attend the June 25 Camden Riversharks game against the Pennsylvania Road Warriors (5:35 p.m. start), you can support the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. Purchase tickets for the game online and use the word "Estuary" as the group password, and $5 from each ticket will benefit the PDE. The total price of a ticket is $11.

Read our recent post about some of the projects the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is proposing.

What's An Estuary Worth? About $10 Billion/Yr

Map of 2011 priority projects for the Delaware Estuary (Image: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary)

A recent study by the University of Delaware puts a price tag on the economic value of the Delaware Estuary—the tidal portion of the Delaware River Basin—and the number is big. An estimated $10 billion flows annually from the economic activity and water-related jobs the estuary provides for a half-million people in the tri-state area. The results of the study were announced earlier this month by the nonprofit Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and the implications are far-reaching in terms of project planning, policy decisions and future investment.

Soak It In: Photos From Philly's First Porous Street

Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilman Frank DiCicco, Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, and PWD commissioner Howard Neukrug recently unveiled Philadelphia’s first porous green street on the 800 block of Percy Street in South Philly. The porous asphalt replaces traditional impervious asphalt and reduces the amount of stormwater that enters our sewers. Green infrastructure tools such as porous asphalt are part of PWD's Green City, Clean Waters plan to invest approximately $2 billion over the next 25 years to significantly reduce Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)—a combination of sewage and stormwater that overflows into our rivers and streams when it rains.

The Percy Street unveiling ended with a water-balloon toss and Mayor Nutter demonstrating how the street functions by pouring a gallon of water onto the asphalt. It worked! More photos after the jump.

Eadom Street Depaving Project

Philadelphia’s first depaving project at Eadom and Bridge streets—located just west of I-95 in Frankford—is well underway. PWD's Waterways Restoration Team coordinated with neighborhood volunteers to depave a portion of the parking lot and install and plant the first of six rain gardens planned for the site. Once completed, the Eadom Street Project will convert 10,000 square feet of impervious concrete to rain gardens that allow stormwater to infiltrate the soil instead of flowing into our sewers. Not only do green infrastructure projects such as rain gardens help protect our waterways and beautify the neighborhood, they also reduce stormwater bills for property owners. Best of all, the residents who came out on Saturday, April 30, saw a complete transformation in just one morning of work. Stay tuned for news of further plantings and volunteer opportunities at Eadom Street.

Learn more about depaving projects for residents.

Syndicate content