NOTICE: has been archived.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.

News Stream

  • 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.

Kensington School Makes Architects' List of Top 10 Green Projects of 2012

posted in

The Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts was named one of the top 10 green projects of 2012 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment. Kensington CAPA—designed by SMP Architects in a joint venture with SRK Architects—is the first public high school to receive LEED certification at the Platinum level. Of course, we here at the Watersheds Blog get really excited about the high school's stormwater management. Kensington CAPA keeps all its stormwater on site through a combination of green roofs (about 50% of the roof coverage), porous paving, rainwater harvesting for reuse, rain barrels and rain gardens.

View more info and photos from the AIA on Kensington CAPA here.

Help PWD Green Your Neighborhood: Submit a Project Idea for Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Your Community

Do you want to improve your neighborhood and protect our creeks and rivers? Does your community have a school, recreation center, park, or other public space available within the City limits for a green stormwater management project? The Philadelphia Water Department wants your ideas on where to implement stormwater bumpouts, tree trenches, rain gardens and other green infrastructure. PWD seeks to partner with communities across Philadelphia as part of our Green City, Clean Waters program. Submit your project idea through our new Community Input for Green Stormwater Infrastructure form.

Some examples of sites that could meet project requirements include vacant lots, traffic triangles, community gardens, parks and schools. (Pictured above is a stormwater management project at Greenfield Elementary—watch the Greening Greenfield video.) Get more information, get involved and get started!

Waste Not: Philadelphia Turns Sewage Into Energy

posted in

The big news around here is, as Forbes Magazine so elegantly put it, Hot Poop. More specifically, what hot poop can do for energy costs. Last week, Mayor Nutter was joined by city, state and federal officials to cut the ribbon on a new geothermal project at PWD's Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant that uses heat from wastewater (sewage) to warm the facility's buildings. The city partnered with NovaThermal Energy, a Philadelphia-based company, to implement the geothermal heating system. The 1 million BTU/hour unit in the plant's basement (pictured below) can provide heat at approximately 50% of the current cost, which would save $216,000 over the next 15 years. 

A scatologically correct article in Thursday's Inquirer offered more details:

"Wastewater picks up heat from a number of sources, including dishwashers, showers, and industrial processes, said Jimmy W. Wang, NovaThermal’s chief engineer. There’s also the “biomatter” that still contains heat, Wang said during a visit to the project Wednesday, although he used more scatological terminology. During the winter, sewage is about 60 degrees, and in summer it can exceed 75 degrees. That’s plenty of energy that can be extracted through a conventional heat pump. Haider said the technology is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional geothermal systems, in which deep water wells are drilled into the bedrock to capture heat from the Earth."

For more info on the wastewater geothermal heating project, see the official press release.

Follow the Leader: Media Coverage of EPA Partnership

posted in

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (AP photo/Alex Brandon)

Yesterday's signing of an agreement between the EPA and the city of Philadelphia to collaborate as partners on the implementation of the Green City, Clean Waters plan drew plenty of media attention. A few selections below:

CBS Philly:

"It’s been nearly forty years since Congress passed the Clean Water Act, yet drinking water is still threatened due to aging infrastructure. That’s why Mayor Michael Nutter says Philadelphia is leading the nation by partnering with the EPA to install new green technology to protect the city’s water ways from pollution. 'We will transform a third of our paved surfaces, like streets, parking lots and sidewalks, with green areas that will capture rain water and allow for higher capacity from our existing systems.'”

Natural Resources Defense Council:

"The federal consent order, anticipated within the next several months, would make Philadelphia the first community to gain formal approval from EPA for using citywide investments in green infrastructure as a tool to comply with the Clean Water Act’s sewage overflow control requirements.  How fitting that such an embrace of 21st century approaches to one of our nation’s most stubborn water pollution problems should come in this 40th anniversary year of Congress's adoption of the Clean Water Act!"

WHYY Newsworks:

"EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said she hopes Philadelphia can serve as a nationwide model. 'We want to see the benefits of green infrastructure taking hold in other large metropolitan areas, not just Philadelphia,' Jackson said at the signing. The EPA will help the city monitor water quality in surrounding rivers to measure the effectiveness of the new initiatives."

Bloomberg BNA:

"EPA will provide technical assistance to Philadelphia--including identifying and promoting higher-performing green infrastructure designs--and join forces in several demonstration projects, including greening a school's gardens and revitalizing a low-income neighborhood with green designs."

National Association of Clean Water Agencies:

“This agreement is the perfect example of what can happen when clean water agencies and EPA work together to use a common sense approach to solve our wet weather problems,” said Ken Kirk, executive director of NACWA. “We hope that this will serve as a strong example for both clean water utilities and regulatory agencies as they pursue similar solutions under EPA’s new integrated planning approach.”

The Green Team: EPA and Philadelphia Sign Innovative Stormwater Agreement

posted in

Call it a collaboration of infiltration—the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Philadelphia agreed yesterday to become partners in a 25-year plan to use green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff. In a signing ceremony at the Fairmount Water Works, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson joined Mayor Nutter, PWD Commissioner Howard Neukrug and other officials to assure the EPA's support for Green City, Clean Waters. The long-term plan aims to restore water quality in our local rivers and streams by absorbing rain water into the ground; green infrastructure such as tree trenches, green roofs and rain gardens mimic natural processes that intercept and infiltrate rain water before it enters the sewer. 

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Sandy Bauers expanded on the issue and the economic advantages of green infrastructure in today's front-page article:

"Philadelphia's problem is that about 60 percent of the city's sewers are a combined system that carries both sewage and storm water. During heavy rainfall, the system overflows, and untreated water containing raw sewage, litter, road pollution, and other substances spurts from more than 150 overflow pipes into streams and rivers. The overflows total about 14 billion gallons a year. Many other large cities have decided to build massive—and hugely expensive—underground tunnels to solve the problem. Washington proposed three of them, the largest eight miles long and 23 feet in diameter. Philadelphia had considered it, but then realized it might be looking at the wrong end of the pipe. Instead of managing what came out of the sewer system, perhaps it could manage the water before it enters the system."

More photos from the signing ceremony after the jump.

News Stream: Iodine-131 Levels Tied To Thyroid Patients

The Philadelphia Inquirer offered coverage of Wednesday night's panel discussion on iodine-131 at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. Officials from PWD, the EPA, Pennsylvania DEP and the city Department of Health were able to confirm that detected levels of radioactive iodine-131 are due to thyroid patients who pass the substance to waterways through their urine. (I-131 is used to treat about half of thyroid-cancer cases in the area.) While the levels of iodine-131 pose no risk to public health in Philadelphia, some questions remain. According to the article

"One mystery officials have pondered is why iodine-131 isn't showing up in many other places, or is found at lower levels than they see here. One reason: most other cities aren't looking for iodine-131. Plus, the Philadelphia region is a medical center, and a lot of sewage-treatment plants discharge into waterways that then flow past Philadelphia and into its drinking-water intakes."

Visit our Iodine-131 information page, which includes FAQs, fact sheets and links to more news items.

News Stream: Mt. Airy Rain Barrels

posted in

The Philadelphia Water Department and the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District are rolling out the rain barrels along Germantown Avenue this spring. As a part of PWD's Stormwater Management Incentives Program, 15 rain barrels will be installed along Germantown Avenue to manage runoff and collect water for flowers and other plantings along the corridor. But that's not all—Newsworks has info on the barrels' decor:

"Another component of the project is a 'call out to artists' to decorate the barrels 'using the themes of community, eco-friendly, and conservation' [Mt. Airy Business Improvement District Executive Director Hollie]  Malamud-Price said.  Those interested in participating would be responsible for pick-up, painting, and return of rain barrels to BID. After that, BID will install the barrels along the avenue during an unveiling event."

The rain barrels should arrive next week; artists can contact Hollie Malamud-Price via the Mt. Airy BID website for details.

It's Not Thursday. It's World Water Day.

posted in

Today is World Water Day! Now what are we going to do? Here are a few ideas: Start here, and read about this year's theme: The world is thirsty because we are hungry. Water drives the food chain and is the key to our food security—read these FAQs. Play this drag-and-drop food game to see how much water it takes to produce the food on your plate. Watch these animated videos on water reuse and the water cycle. Spread the word by liking World Water Day's Facebook page.

Nice Threads: WHYY on PWD's Yarn Art

posted in

Everybody knows that March marks the beginning of spring NCAA March madness Women's History Month Fiber Philadelphia, a biennial for fiber/textile art. How appropriate, then, that PWD has commissioned local yarn artists Jessie Hemmons and Christina LeFevre (pictured above) to decorate our Soak It Up! events with yarn-bombed street trees. WHYY's Newsworks has the story:

"Hemmons and LeFevre wrapped the trunks of trees at East Montgomery Avenue and Blair Street with blue and green sleeves pointing to an underground trench, unseen beneath the sidewalk pavement, that keeps about 7,000 gallons of untreated water from spilling into the river.

'Since most people can connect with art moreso than green stormwater technology, we thought it would be a good way to make that connection,' said Tiffany Ledesma Groll, a consultant with the Philadelphia Water Department."

The next Soak It Up! event is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, March 22, at 4:30 at Belfield Avenue and East Walnut Lane in East Germantown.

Green Like Us: New York City Embraces Green Stormwater Infrastructure

posted in

Photo: NY DEP

Last week, the New York Times ran an article detailing New York City's plan to invest $2 billion in green infrastructure—porous pavement, green roofs, bioswales—to help retain stormwater and prevent sewer overflows into the city's waterways:

"The approach is already being used in some other cities that, like New York, have a combined sewer system where storm water and sewage are carried through a single pipe. Such techniques reflect a shift away from traditional sewage-control methods like underground storage tanks."

Sound familiar? Philadelphia is one of those cities that has already embarked on a massive plan to use green infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows. Green City, Clean Waters is our own, $2 billion, 25-year plan, one that's being replicated and recognized for its innovative approach. Learn more about Green City, Clean Waters here by reading the summary report, watching a video or learning about the terminology and issues that affect our watersheds.

Syndicate content