Photo: The Nature Conservancy / Photographer Steve Weinik
Philadelphia is celebrating a major milestone in its ongoing mission to reduce water pollution.
2021 marks a decade in the Community!
To honor this 10-year anniversary, we’re recognizing local communities who helped make this achievement possible.
Green City, Clean Waters has reached spectacular feats, such as staying on track to annually reduce more than 2 billion gallons of pollution in the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers — our drinking water sources. But, our most gratifying work has been engaging more than 400,000 people — from block captains to business owners — who comprise the fabric of Philadelphia.
Established in 2011, Green City, Clean Waters is Philadelphia’s 25-year plan to restore local waterways through the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure and investments in traditional infrastructure, such as treatment plants.
Though it was created to help the city meet state and federal water quality standards, the initiative was designed to educate, engage, and inspire Philadelphians around sustainability.
Chapter 1: Engagement
We are most successful when we work with you — the communities of Philadelphia.
A neighborhood-based approach
About 60 percent of Philadelphia is served by combined sewer systems, which collect both runoff from storms and wastewater from homes and buildings. When storms overwhelm these nearly 200-year-old systems, treatment plants can reach capacity and combined sewers may overflow, releasing sewage and stormwater into local rivers and creeks. Philadelphia is solving this problem with neighborhood-based green stormwater infrastructure and improvements to traditional infrastructure, such as treatment plants.
To inform and educate residents around these green projects, the Water Department broke down these areas into four districts so that each of these regions experiencing overflows has a dedicated community outreach specialist. Through regular community engagement, they strive to make relationships with residents while explaining how, why, where, and when new green tools will be installed in their community.
Chapter 2: Residents
Supporting neighbors who help reduce waterway pollution — even in their own back yards.
Chapter 3: Business
Beautifying commercial properties and reducing stormwater bills — all while helping to restore Philadelphia’s waterways.
Chapter 4: Jobs
From at-risk youth to P.h.D recipients, green stormwater infrastructure has sparked a spectrum of careers for individuals around Philadelphia.
Chapter 5: Celebration
More than 200 people celebrated the 10th anniversary of Green City, Clean Waters on the 1400 block of American Street — the site of a significant GSI project.
Chapter 6: Partnerships
Whether City agencies or community organizations, companies or non-profits—operations large and small have helped shape the first decade of Green City, Clean Waters.