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Trash & Vandalism


The buildup of trash is a major challenge in urban areas like Philadelphia. Deliberate acts of littering and illegal dumping negatively impact our neighborhoods and waterways alike. While it may not look like much, the plastic bags and bottles we use everyday can clog sewer inlets, preventing proper drainage. Additionally, trash and litter captured by the sewer system can pollute our watersheds if discharged during a combined sewer overflow.


Vandalism, similar to littering, is an outward act of disrespect towards our communities and the surrounding environment. Defacing private and public property is a misguided attempt to compromise the natural integrity of what should be preserved for all citizens and wildlife to enjoy.


What We're Doing to Address These Issues

The Waterways Restoration Team (WRT) is a multi-crew unit dedicated to performing stream cleanup work throughout the city including large trash and debris removal, and the restoration of eroded streambanks and streambeds. The WRT serves the 100 miles of stream systems that define our City’s neighborhoods. The Waterways Restoration Team works in partnership with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, local Friends of the Park groups as well as our watershed partnerships to maximize resources and build positive relationships with our communities. Click Here to learn more.

Started in 2006, the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Floatables Skimming Program uses specially designed boats to collect and remove litter and debris from the waterways of the Delaware & Schuylkill Rivers. PWD currently operates two of these ships, the R.E. Roy and a smaller pontoon boat. Click Here to learn more.

Watershed Partnerships

The Philadelphia Water Department is proud to partner with locally based nonprofits dedicated to the preservation and restoration of our city’s historic watersheds. Through hands on education, community clean-ups, stormdrain marking and more, these groups strive to bring new life into their respective watersheds, through energizing the surrounding community

  • Schuylkill Action Network: SAN is dedicated to protecting and restoring Schuylkill Waters through partnerships with organizations, businesses and governments.

  • Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership: TTF is dedicated to restoring and maintaining the health and vitality of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek and its watershed.

  • Friends of the Wissahickon: The mission of the Friends of the Wissahickon is to preserve the natural beauty and wildness of the Wissahickon Valley and stimulate public interest therein.


Do you know which of Philadelphia's seven watersheds you live in? Use our map and find out!


Want to learn more about the watershed groups in your community? Click Here