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What's with the Requested Rate Change? 9 Ways to Learn More, Get Involved

Customers, City Council, Mayor Kenney, and the Water Rate Board were recently informed that we need to raise rates. Increased rates will ensure we have the resources we need to better maintain one of the oldest water systems in the country.

As a part of the process—and to promote transparency—we are holding seven Public Input Hearings across the city. These hearings are held with the Water Rate Board, an independent body created by voters to oversee any rate changes. Any testimony made by residents will become part of the public record.

You can find a list of meeting locations, dates and times on the Rate Board site.

We encourage our customers to get involved in the process by attending a hearing and viewing our detailed breakdown of how rates could change and what they fund, available here.

Did you know? When we request a rate change, we must show that the increase is justified and needed. If the Rate Board thinks we didn’t show we truly need more revenue, they can lower the increase to an amount below what we requested or refuse to raise rates at all.

Where Your Bill Goes: Behind the Scenes
In addition to the Public Input Hearings, we will host two upcoming Water Open House events at two big facilities—the Baxter Water Treatment Plant on the Delaware River and the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant.

While not part of the official rate-setting process, these events are designed to show you what your water bill helps pay for. Because we are a not-for-profit, cost of service public utility, all the funds that make 24/7 access to clean water possible come from the monthly water bills sent to Philadelphia residents.

Every PWD employee lives in the city, too, and that means our paying customers include the nearly 2,000 people working to ensure our pipes and plants are doing their job, protecting our rivers and bringing top-quality water to homes and businesses around the clock.

The Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant event will take place on Saturday, April 14 and the Baxter event will take place on Saturday, April 21. In addition to the open houses, expert-guided tours will be offered at each plant. Space for the tours is limited, so RSVP now.

Not sure which one you want to see? The April 14 event will show you how we treat wastewater from homes and streets to protect our rivers; the April 21 event at Baxter will show you how we turn raw river water into top-quality tap that meets or beats state and federal quality standards. All Philly residents with a valid ID are welcome at both. 

Those who attend will get a behind the scenes look at everything needed to deliver safe water and protect our rivers.

Participants can also:

  • Hear from Commissioner Debra McCarty, the first woman to lead PWD in its 200-year history.
  • Talk to Water Revenue experts and learn how we help customers save.
  • Meet some of the nation’s most-trusted water quality scientists, plant operators and more.
  • Learn how our city is leading the way with Green City, Clean Waters, America’s first large-scale green stormwater infrastructure program.

RSVP now!

Green Infrastructure Tours Showcase Philadelphia Innovation

Visitors from China inspect Philadelphia green stormwater infrastructure sites during a Dec. 14 tour hosted by the Philadelphia Water Dept.
Visitors from China inspect Philadelphia green stormwater infrastructure sites during a Dec. 14 tour hosted by the Philadelphia Water Dept. 

Did you know Philadelphia has an international reputation as a city where green design and innovation are thriving?

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Water Department led a group of business leaders and engineers from Beijing, China on a tour of green stormwater infrastructure sites across Philadelphia. The group of experts came to Philadelphia because our 25-year Green City, Clean Waters plan is recognized as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking green infrastructure programs in the United States and internationally.

Milling Around Tours at Fairmount Water Works

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Photo Credits: Bradley Maule

The Fairmount Water Works is opening up their historic Kelly Pool area for tours! Come join the Water Department on a hard hat tour that takes you below the streets to the Kelly Pool area. Eye-level with the Schuylkill, you’ll walk the same underground paths as a royal family and Olympic swimmers during a behind-the-scenes look at Philadelphia’s first tourist destination and hear about the future expansion of the landmark that pioneered engineering, tourism, and environmental awareness in Philadelphia.

Visitors will also experience the Water Works’ new music and light installation provided by the Blair Brothers and Luce Group. This is where “Tributaries” was recently performed to a sold-out crowd.

The “Milling Around” tours will be provided every Sunday at 2:00pm. Although the tour is free, reservations are required due to high demand. Please note that this is a hard-hat tour, and may not be accessible for all of our visitors.

Don’t miss out on this exciting walk through Philadelphia’s history, reserve your tickets now!

PWD Presents at Villanova's Seventh Annual Stormwater Management Symposium

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PWD recently participated in the 7th annual Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium held October 17-18th at Villanova University. The goal of the symposium is to advance understanding of sustainable stormwater management in all aspects of planning, design, implementation and regulatory compliance. This year’s symposium had over 50 technical podium and poster presentations and tours of green infrastructure projects in the Delaware Valley.

PWD’s Office of Watersheds presented two technical presentations. Rachel Ahern and Shelly Jones (Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning & Design) presented “Stormwater Management: A Framework for Site Design.” Stephen White (Green Stormwater Infrastructure Maintenance) presented “When it Rains it Stores: PWD's SCM Monitoring.”  The conference abstracts and video presentations are available via the Villanova website.

Sandy Sorlien, an educator from the Fairmount Water Works led a tour, "Reinventing the Neighborhood and Urban LIDs" Beginning at the Big Green Block, a site rich in green stormwater infrastructure, the group explored stormwater tree trenches, rain gardens, a porous pavement parking lot, underground detention infiltration facilities, green roofs and rainwater cisterns. Afterwards they visited Liberty Lands Park, an industrial brownfield, transformed into a vital community green space. This site featured a rain garden, community gardens and 180 trees of varying species. Ending their tour in Columbus Square, particpants viewed Philadelphia’s first stormwater planter.

The second tour offered by PWD, "What’s Happening in the Wissahickon Watershed,” was led led by Erik Haniman and Ken Hinde. The tour started at Saylor Grove, a one acre stormwater wetland designed to treat an estimated 70 million gallons of urban stormwater per year. Their next stop was the 5,400 feet long stream restoration project at Bells Mill, including improved riparian habitat and energy dissipating stone to protect the stream from stormwater runoff discharged by nearby stormwater outfalls. The tour ended with a final stop to the stormwater treatment wetland, Wises Mill. This two acre area of Fairmount Park treats a portion of the stormwater from a 90-acre watershed prior to discharging to the headwaters of Wises Mill’s lower branch. This effort aims to restore and stabilize areas of Wises Mill Run that have been significantly undermined by previous gray stormwater infrastructure and dams on this stream.

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