Mayor Nutter Unveils Philadelphia’s First Porous Green Street

Philadelphia, May 10, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Councilman DiCicco and Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler unveiled the city’s first porous green street, recently installed on the 800 block of Percy Street in South Philadelphia. The permeable paving material, which will replace impervious asphalt when repaving projects are undertaken, reduces the amount of stormwater that enters the sewer system and will potentially mitigate the impact of ice on city streets following winter storms. The Green Street initiative is component of the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Green City, Clean Waters program, the City’s innovative and environmentally sustainable plan to improve the operation of our sewer infrastructure through a green approach.

“Today’s porous street unveiling is one of a number of innovative methods that will move Philadelphia toward becoming the greenest city in America. These streets will reduce the number of pollutants that enter our waterways and will create safer driving conditions in hazardous weather. The Green Street initiative is another way we are planning for our future,” said Mayor Nutter. “I would like to thank the Streets and Water Departments for working together on this project.”

Councilman DiCicco added, “I am delighted that the first city street paved with permeable asphalt is in the First Councilmanic District. I would like to thank the Administration for working with community groups such as the Bella Vista Town Watch to repave this block, which needed repairs, with pavement that will protect our city’s rivers and streams.”

Porous materials, including porous asphalt, are specially designed systems that allow water to soak through an otherwise impenetrable surface, eliminating stormwater runoff from the site. Porous asphalt is as structurally strong as conventional asphalt, but it also includes voids or spaces that allow water to pass through the material. This porous surface includes a layer of stone underneath, which provides temporary storage for water as it slowly soaks into the ground. This soaking prevented polluted runoff from passing into nearby storm drains and into the City’s sewer system. Porous pavement also reduces snow removal requirements and creates less potential for ice on roadways.

“Replacing the city’s streets with porous asphalt is a long-term goal that requires coordination and collaboration between the Water Department and Streets Department. I would like to commend them for providing high-quality services to Philadelphia’s residents ensuring that Philadelphia’s streets are green,” said Deputy Mayor Cutler.

Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Howard Neukrug added, “The hard work and dedication of the employees from the Philadelphia Water Department and many other City departments and agencies is shown here today. While one porous asphalt street will only have a small impact today, our vision for the future included hundreds of miles of porously paved streets, which will significantly reduce stormwater overflow on our sewer system here in Philadelphia.”

Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson said, “The Streets Department is excited to partner with the Water Department to demonstrate that storm water can be effectively and responsibly managed in the most challenging of environments including on city streets which primarily were used to channel water to the sewer. The unique properties of porous asphalt may result in quicker melting of snow and ice from the street. This benefit could mean that less road salt will be needed to keep the street clear and safe in the winter months. Less road salt means less cost and less pollution of our rivers.”

For more information about Green City, Clean Water, please

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