Philly Water Department Calling for Developers to Go Greener

Let's hope this helps clean up the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.

The Philadelphia Water Department has recently enacted new green infrastructure and stormwater regulations that developers must follow if they want to build anew or redevelop existing properties, reports NewsWorks.

Just off the top of our head, we can name at least two projects that are set to include these features:  Temple University’s Liacouras Walk and Wachman Plaza redesign and the Ralph Brooks Park and Smith Playground redevelopment, the latter of which got some bonus funding thanks to Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin whose benefit concert raised $300,000 for the project.

According to NewsWorks, the new rules are in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and will, hopefully, help “bolster the health of the Schuylkill, Delaware, Wissahickon and all water systems flowing in the city.” This is where the stormwater runoff tweaks come in.

So, what is stormwater anyway? Well, when it rains, there is one of two things that will happen with that water: 1) it’s absorbed by soil and/or soft gravel, which helps minimize its level of pollution; or 2) it hits impervious surfaces (like rooftops, sidewalks, or streets that obstruct natural infiltration) and runs off the streets and into the nearest storm drain. PWD’s PhillyWaterSheds website goes on to explain how gross stormwater directly affects us:

If untreated before entering our waterways (including the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, which we use as sources of drinking water), this contaminated water can have a detrimental effect on water quality.

The more impervious surfaces there are in the city, the more polluted stormwater enters the sewer system, increasing the total volume of water the city’s infrastructure network must handle.

Yikes.

Below, a visual of natural rain infiltration and urban runoff from Phila.gov.

Image via Phila.gov

Image via Phila.gov

 

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