Leadership changes are underway at the Philadelphia Water Department!

We wanted to share some news from City of Philadelphia Deputy Managing Director Michael Carroll regarding the appointment of Sarah Stevenson as Acting Commissioner along with a few words from our department's new head, too.

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A native of the Fairmount neighborhood and a current South Philadelphia resident, Stevenson has been part of the PWD team since 2009.

Statement from Deputy Managing Director Michael Carroll:

"As you may know, Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty retired after 37 years of City service on Friday, April 5th. Debra had a groundbreaking career with the Water Department. During her career with PWD, Debra embodied the dedication and passion of public service, starting as a sanitary engineer at PWD’s Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant, to achieve the position of Water Commissioner in 2016, becoming the first woman to hold this title in the 200-year history of the department."

"While a permanent appointment has not been made, Sarah Stevenson will serve as Acting Water Commissioner effective Saturday, April 6. Sarah has been with the City for ten years. Sarah started with the City Law Department in 2009 and spent five years in the Regulatory Affairs Unit representing the Water and Streets Departments. In 2014 Sarah was appointed PWD’s Enforcement Director and in 2016 was appointed Director of Government Affairs & Policy. Prior to joining the City, Sarah worked for the Committee of Seventy where she focused on municipal policy and election law."

"Sarah attended Springside School, the University of Pennsylvania (BA), and Villanova University (JD/MPA). Because Deb led an exceptional department focused on its pledge to provide top quality tap water and the environmentally sensitive management of wastewater and stormwater – in addition to responsive customer service – I am confident that PWD will operate without missing a beat. That is the mark of great leadership."

Welcome from Acting Commissioner Stevenson:

"It was a pleasure to serve Commissioner McCarty during her time leading the Department, and I am honored to help the City ensure we continue to operate smoothly during this transitional period."

"I look forward to providing the future Commissioner with everything needed to successfully lead our more than 2,000 employees and achieve our core missions: providing top-quality drinking water for 1.6 million people and protecting our waterways."

Honoring Commissioner McCarty's Legacy:

City Council made an official resolution honoring retired Commissioner Debra McCarty on April 4. Read the Resolution ›

About the Job

As Acting Commissioner, Stevenson will take responsibility for managing all units and staff at the Water Department, which provides integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater services for the City of Philadelphia (as well as some suburban wholesale clients).

Responsibilities include oversight of three drinking water treatment plants, three wastewater treatment plants, and a contract-operated biosolids facility.

The Commissioner is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of the 3,200 miles of water mains, 3,700 miles of sewers, 79,000 inlets, 25,000 fire hydrants, and various pumping stations throughout the city.

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