Mayor Nutter Opens City’s First Solar PV Installation

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, local and federal officials celebrated the completion of a new solar PV installation, the first owned by the City of Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The PWD installed a 250kW solar photovoltaic system, which was completed as a result of Philadelphia’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar America Cities program. The solar array, which produces enough energy to power 28 homes each year, also contributes to a goal of the Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan, to purchase or generate 20 percent of electricity used in the city from alternative energy sources by 2015.

“Producing solar energy at this City-owned water treatment plant reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, creates new jobs, and lowers our electricity bill. This is a smart investment that will help the city reach the goals set in Greenworks Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy for helping Philadelphia to invest in renewable energies and to build upon our momentum to become the greenest city in America.”

“Philadelphia’s leadership in deploying solar energy highlights the important role local communities can play in expanding the U.S. solar industry and bringing more renewable energy online,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This new solar energy installation will serve as a model for how cities across the country can partner with the federal government and the private sector to develop new sources of clean energy.”

The system at the PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant is ground mounted and covers more than an acre of previously unused land. The treatment plant will use all of the solar power generated on-site, and PWD owns the Solar Renewable Energy Credits. The project was made possible by $850,000 from the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the DOE and $850,000 from the PWD and technical assistance from DOE’s Solar America Cities program. The PWD, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability were instrumental in identifying the site and acquiring funding for the project.

“By installing one of the first large-scale solar projects in Philadelphia, the City is demonstrating that alternative generation is both feasible and beneficial,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department Howard Neukrug added, “Water treatment uses large amounts of electricity. PWD is proud to use clean, sustainable power generated on-site. Because this project was so successful, we’re planning to replicate it at other treatment plants.”

About Solar America Cities:
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies. The Solar America Cities partnerships represent the foundation of DOE’s larger Solar America Communities program which is designed to increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the United States. Visit Solar America Communities online at Solar America Cities is hosting its annual meeting in Philadelphia April 25 to 28.

Mayor Nutter, EPA Administrator Jackson Highlight Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Philadelphia, April 21, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz highlighted the Philadelphia Water Department’s Big Green Block initiative at Shissler Recreation Center and the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). The Big Green Block initiative, part of the Administration’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, promotes greening and stormwater management of the city blocks within the community surrounding the Shissler Recreation Center through implementing several green stormwater infrastructure systems on the property. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, Sustainable 19125, the Mural Arts Program and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

“When we talk about sustainability and about green cities in the future, water must be among the first issues addressed. We can’t be green without water. The Big Green Block initiative is an exciting example of how we can work together toward a common vision of William Penn’s green country town,” said Mayor Nutter. “I would like to thank EPA Administrator Jackson for recognizing the importance of stormwater management in America’s cities, and especially Howard Neukrug and the Water Department for their forward thinking.”

“Instead of investing in one project that treats one concern, green infrastructure allows us to protect the health of our waters, save money and make our communities more attractive places to buy homes and build businesses,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “We want to use the win-win strategies we see here with the Big Green Block Initiative and other projects throughout the city to make every community healthier, more prosperous and more sustainable.”

“Not only does this initiative fit into the Mayor’s goal of greening the city, but it establishes Philadelphia’s leadership on innovative green technologies for water management and water quality,” U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz said. “Philadelphia will set an example for large and small cities across the nation to improve and maintain water quality through green infrastructure.”

The Green City, Green Waters plan, which was submitted to the EPA and the PA Department of Environment Protection, details how the PWD will invest $2 billion over the next 25 years to update the city’s stormwater infrastructure and manage sewage and stormwater overflow.

Stormwater infrastructure updates include a range of soil-water-plant systems to intercept stormwater, infiltrate a portion of it into the ground, evaporate a portion of it into the air, and in some cases, release it slowly into the sewer system. As a result, less stormwater ultimately enters the combined sewer system.

The Big Green Block initiative includes the Shissler Recreation Center, Kensington CAPA High School and the surrounding streets. At the Shissler Recreation Center, PWD installed stormwater tree trenches in the sport/ball field along Blair Street and Hewson Street. Two additional stormwater tree trenches will be installed by PWD along Palmer Street and Montgomery Avenue. The drainage area managed by these PWD green stormwater infrastructure systems is 54,290 square feet. PWD will also plant street trees on Berks Street and Blair Street to increase tree canopy cover and shade. PHS installed two rain gardens in the parking lot of the Shissler Recreation Center.

The Kensington CAPA High School, which is adjacent to the Shissler Recreation Center, features a master plan including implementation of several stormwater infrastructure systems including a porous pavement parking lot, rain gardens, underground detention and infiltration facilities, green roofs covering 50 percent of the roof area and rainwater cisterns for reuse.

“Ensuring the sustainable future of our neighborhoods must be a top priority for all Philadelphians, and the Big Green Block in New Kensington is the gold standard for reaching that goal,” said Drew Becher, President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. “PHS is proud to be part of this effort, which includes our new initiative, Plant One Million, to increase the tree canopy in every city neighborhood and the region.”

Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug added, “We want to do everything we can to return us as close as possible to the way the nature intended the water cycle to be. Bur we need to do that in the context of a city that is fully grown, with impervious cover everywhere. We recognize that if we manage stormwater where it lands, whether on the ground or on a roof, that we can essentially not only prevent that gallon of stormwater from overflowing into our streams, but also provide additional benefits to our communities.”

Mayor Nutter Signs Ordinance to Amend Approval Process for the Transfer of Public Park Land to Non-Park or Recreation Use

Commission on Parks and Recreation to review all transfer proposals and 
City Council to identify substitute land for park use

Philadelphia, April 15, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed Bill #110002, which establishes a review process of all requests for City-owned land park land to be transferred for a non park-recreation use. This ordinance, which amends Chapter 15-100 of the Philadelphia Code, will ensure a thoughtful review of any proposed conveyance or transfer of park land.

In addition, the new ordinance requires the City’s Commission on Parks & Recreation to conduct an alternative analysis identifying substitute park land that would replace the transferred land, should the transfer request be approved

Once the Commission reviews City Council’s analysis, it will provide recommendations to City Council and the Mayor. City Council will hold a public hearing on the transfer request and consider the Commission’s recommendation before approving or denying the request.

This new predictable and transparent assessment process will protect community resources that improve the health and well-being of residents. In July, 2009, Mayor Nutter asked the newly formed Commission on Parks & Recreation to submit proposed legislation that would improve protections for City-owned park land. Council Blondell Reynolds-Brown and Councilman Brian O’Neill introduced Bill #110002 to City Council, which passed it with a 17-0 vote.

“We want to ensure that all requests to transfer publicly-owned park land undergo a fair and collaborative review process so residents continue to have access to valuable recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Nutter. “Through this new ordinance, I’ll work with City Council to consider alternative land use options to replace transferred park land so we can provide the same level of public access to green space.”

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown said, “This ordinance represents another milestone in our collective efforts to protect park and recreation land on behalf of the people of Philadelphia. “The Commission on Parks and Recreation put a tremendous amount of work into this effort and I was proud to lead the charge in City Council to make its vision a reality”.

Nancy Goldenberg, Chairman of the Commission on Parks & Recreation said, “This is a significant accomplishment not only for the Commission but for the citizens of Philadelphia. We now have a consistent and transparent process to foster the protection of our parks and recreational land.”

On November 4, 2008, a voter-approved amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter established the Commission on Parks and Recreation. In addition, the Fairmount Park Commission (FPC) and the Recreation Department were combined to establish the Department of Parks and Recreation. The goal of the newly established Commission and the merger of the FPC and the Department of Recreation, was to create a more public, transparent, and accountable management of Philadelphia’s parks and recreation facilities. To read the ordinance, visit

Mayor Nutter Announces Results of 4th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup

Philadelphia, April 4 –Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Philadelphia Streets Department announced results of last Saturday’s 4th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup. A total of 12,574 volunteers participated in cleaning and greening projects across Philadelphia. This year’s Cleanup included 252 projects- the most ever registered for a Philly Spring Cleanup and volunteers removed a total of 1,240,360 pounds of trash. The theme of this year’s Cleanup was “Keep Up the Sweep Up”.

The Mayor was joined by elected officials, community leaders, 2011 Miss America Teresa Scanlan and hundreds of volunteers at a Saturday morning kickoff announcement at the Laura Sims Skate House in Cobbs Creek Park. He then traveled to Cleanup sites across Philadelphia to meet with volunteers and assist them with their projects. Volunteer projects included trash and debris removal, tree plantings, mulching and weeding, tire removal, and water cleanups.

“I want to express my appreciation to the thousands of volunteers who joined us on Saturday to show their love for our great city,” said Mayor Nutter. “Together, we rolled up our sleeves to make our city shine, block by block, in neighborhoods across Philadelphia and this year turned out to be another remarkable effort. The Philly Spring Cleanup is reflective of the great things that happen when neighbors, families and friends come together in support of a common goal to keep Philadelphia healthy and sustainable for many generations to come.”

Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson said, “The Philly Spring Cleanup was a tremendous success for the fourth year in a row. The Streets Department worked long and hard with volunteers to keep up with the scale of items placed out for pick up. As we ‘Keep Up the Sweep Up’, I urge residents to stay engaged in a year-round effort to keep our city beautiful.”

2011 Philly Spring Cleanup in numbers:

General figures

  • 252 project sites (the most projects ever registered for a Philly Spring Cleanup)
  • 12,574 volunteers1,240,360 pounds of trash removed
  • 149,860 pounds of material recycled
  • 1,104 blocks cleaned
  • 3,750 recycling bins distributed
  • 255 Recycling Rewards signups
  • 7,280 tires removed
  • 28 parks and 17 recreation centers cleaned

Supplies distributed

  • 44,204 trash and recycling bags
  • 3,884 brooms
  • 14,907 gloves
  • 1,226 shovels
  • 1,952 rakes
  • 1,011 gallons of paint
  • 1,422 paint brushes
  • 140 graffiti removal kits

City assistance

  • 103 rubbish and recycling crews
  • 8 tire trucks5 front end loaders
  • 3 trailers

The 4th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup’s theme- “Keep Up the Sweep Up”- is a rallying call to Philadelphians to be part of a year-round beautification effort. The first Philly Spring Cleanup in 2008 was recognized by Keep America Beautiful (KAB) as the largest single day, citywide Cleanup on record in the United States. KAB also designated this year’s Cleanup as a Great American Cleanup National Kickoff Event.

Dow, Target and Waste Management were the lead sponsors of the 4th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup. In addition, RecycleBank, Covanta, Republic Services, Inc. and Big Belly Solar provided sponsor support. City partners include Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee, Greater Philadelphia Cares, the Department of Parks & Recreation, City Year, The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Services, UnLitter Us, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Philadelphia Recycling Rewards.

For more information on the 2011 Philly Spring Cleanup, please visit