The Philadelphia Water Departments’ Green City Clean Waters initiative celebrated its five year anniversary in June. The initiative is a 25 year plan to transform the health of the city’s creeks and rivers by utilizing green infrastructure and building living landscapes. Through partnerships with private developers and a grant program, jointly administered by PIDC, the Philadelphia Water Department aims to reduce the stormwater pollution entering our waterways by 85 percent, while adding 9,000 greened acres to Philadelphia and saving the city $5.6 billion dollars. The Green City Clean Waters initiative has already exceeded expectations by creating over 837 greened acres, enough to keep 1.5 billion gallons of polluted rainwater out of our rivers annually.
Infrastructure Solutions Services Inc.(ISS), a Blue Bell, PA based company that designs, builds and maintains stormwater management systems, has been awarded the first Greened Acre Retrofit Program (GARP) grant to construct two stormwater basins at the Red Lion North Industrial Park. PIDC sold ISS the last industrial property at the park as the site for this innovative project. These basins are designed to store, infiltrate and slow stormwater runoff from the 30 industrial properties located in the Red Lion North Industrial Park. This project allows multiple commercial property owners to tie into a shared facility, which reduces design and construction costs and increases the economic value of the project. Furthermore, it transforms a site that was infeasible for industrial development into a green tool that enhances the city’s water quality and reduces flooding.
Along with the Stormwater Management Incentives Program (SMIP), GARP is a catalyst for transforming large commercial properties that burden the city’s sewer system into properties that promote and maintain green stormwater management practices. Not only do the grants fund green infrastructure, they also mitigate the economic impact of the Philadelphia Water Department’s stormwater initiatives by awarding stormwater management credits to businesses. Applications for SMIP and GARP grants can be submitted year round with awards being announced at the end of each fiscal quarter. Visit PIDC’s website to apply.
The Green City Clean Waters Initiative is using public-private partnership to address the city’s stormwater runoff problem. Rather than digging new tunnels and creating new storage tanks to hold runoff, this plan is adding green to our sidewalks, schools and parking lots, while keeping water affordable, enhancing public space and increasing property values.
The collaboration between the Philadelphia Water Department, PIDC and ISS represents the partnerships that are creating sustainable urban growth in Philadelphia.