It’s official! Philly is taking the next step to becoming the “greenest city in America.” Yesterday, the Philadelphia Water Department and the PA Department of Environmental Protection signed the groundbreaking Green City, Clean Waters program agreement.
Green City, Clean Waters is a 25-year, $2 billion plan to green the city’s manmade surfaces and prevent rainwater runoff from overflowing Philly’s combined sewer system. In a combined sewer system, stormwater and sewage flow together into a treatment facility. During heavy rains or snow melts, this combined system can be overwhelmed, resulting in serious flooding and waterway pollution.
Porous paving, rain gardens, sidewalk planters, and stormwater tree trenches will be just some of the ways rainwater will be captured and managed in Philly. The plan also includes updated wastewater treatment facilities and pipe renewal and replacement.
The project’s plans aren’t new and in fact, state and city agencies have already been working with local organizations and communities to implement these green stormwater solutions. The agreement does set a specific timeline though, monitoring the city’s progress at five, 10, 15 and 20 years into the project.
Green City, Clean Waters, which will work with Mayor Nutter’s GreenWorks program, is considered to be the most comprehensive plan in the nation. All cities with combined sewer overflows are required by the federal Clean Water Act to create long term control plans.
To learn more about the Philly water system and the Green City, Clean Waters plan, read our January 2011 cover story or watch the video below for a visualization of the changes to come!