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Stormwater Planter

A stormwater planter is a specialized planter installed in the sidewalk area that is designed to manage street and sidewalk runoff. It is normally rectangular, with four concrete sides providing structure and curbs for the planter. The planter is lined with a permeable fabric, filled with gravel or stone, and topped off with soil, plants, and sometimes trees. The top of the soil in the planter is lower in elevation than the sidewalk, allowing for runoff to flow into the planter through an inlet at street level. These planters manage stormwater by providing storage, infiltration, and evapotranspiration of runoff. Excess runoff is directed into an overflow pipe connected to the existing combined sewer pipe.  

Stormwater Planter at Columbus Square

The stormwater planters at Columbus Square are the first of their kind to be installed by the Philadelphia Water Department, converting a portion of Reed Street into a Green Street. The Office of Watersheds worked with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and many community partners to design a series of streetside stormwater planters that capture runoff from the contributing street and sidewalk areas.

A stormwater planter manages runoff through infiltration and evapotranspiration (or detention and slow-release when underlying soils do not allow for infiltration). The stormwater planters benefit our streams and rivers by reducing stormwater flows into the overburdened combined sewer system, while benefiting the community through greening a significant sidewalk area and enhancing neighborhood aesthetics.



1300 Reed St. Philadelphia, PA

South Philadelphia

Lead Agency

Philadelphia Water Department


Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
Streets Department
Columbus Square Park Advisory Council
Passyunk Square Civic Association
Green Club of the Christopher Columbus Charter School