City of Philadelphia Named as National Model for Green Waterways

Philadelphia, November 17, 2011 –The City of Philadelphia was named by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as a top city for water pollution management and green stormwater infrastructure. In the report Rooftops to Rivers II, Philadelphia was named an “Emerald City” and was the only city to have accomplished all six key green infrastructure actions, which include a long-term green infrastructure plan, retention standards, reduction of existing impervious surfaces, incentives for private development, a dedicated funding source and assistance to accomplish a green infrastructure plan. The Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Green City, Green Waters plan, which was submitted to the EPA and has approval from 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.

“We are investing to make Philadelphia safer, cleaner and greener,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “We are collaborating with private partners, residents, government and non-profits to promote green infrastructure that will impact our city in the decades to come. At our schools, we are creating rain gardens. In our neighborhoods, we are installing porous streets. At our bus shelters, we are planting green roofs. Every day Philadelphia comes closer to being the greenest city in America.”

Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug was grateful for NRDC’s recognition of the PWD and the City as a whole. He noted, “Our goal is to make the city’s waterways – our precious natural resources – clean, beautiful, fishable and a destination for all citizens. Our sister agencies are our partners in making this a reality.”

The PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters plan includes the following goals:
• Implementation of green stormwater infrastructure to manage runoff at the source and reduce demands on sewer infrastructure;
• Incentivize green stormwater infrastructure for businesses and residents;
• Create a large-scale street tree program to improve appearance and manage stormwater;
• Restore waterways to reduce pollution and support healthy aquatic communities; and
• Responsibly redevelop vacant land and promote open space.

For more information regarding Green City, Clean Waters, please visit



Mayor Nutter, Officials Break Ground on Venice Island Underground Storage Tank

Philadelphia, November 1, 2011– Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Congressman Chaka Fattah, City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. and city officials, broke ground on the Venice Island underground storage tank, a $46 million, Water Department funded project that will improve water quality in the Schuylkill River.

The purpose of the project is to divert water from the sanitary sewer into the storage tank during intense rain storms, thereby reducing the amount of sewage that overflows into the river, a source of drinking water for the City.

The underground storage basin is approximately 400 feet long, 75 feet wide and 25 feet deep, and will be located under the current parking area. The above ground pump house will be approximately 90 feet long and 40 feet wide.

“This project not only provides much needed stormwater management for Venice Island but also enhances its recreational offerings,” said Mayor Nutter. “I hope this project serves as a model for how government and communities can work together to improve neighborhoods. The City of Philadelphia is taking another step forward on its journey to become the greenest city in America as described in Greenworks Philadelphia.”

The existing recreation facility at Venice Island has been demolished in order to complete this project. It will be replaced by a performing arts facility. The existing basketball courts, pool, and parking lot will be replaced, reconfigured and surrounded by landscape that demonstrates green stormwater management practices such as rain gardens, a green roof and tree trenches. These facilities were designed with community input to ensure that they meet the needs of the surrounding area.

“We are witnessing a double win for green-city development on Venice Island today – above ground and underground,” said Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02). “We have a clear example of federal-city cooperation — EPA regulation mandating that we do the right thing for clean water safety, with a recreational bonus for Philadelphia’s citizens, all joined by the vision of Mayor Nutter’s administration.”

“This is an exciting project for the Water Department as it is one of our first, large scale Green City, Clean Waters construction projects to take place. The project will be completed in approximately three years, and will be a wonderful addition to the City of Philadelphia, and the Manayunk neighborhood,” said Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug. “The community involvement in planning and development has been paramount to the success of the project, and we appreciate their assistance and dedication to seeing this project through with us from start to finish.”

The Keating Construction Company will complete the Venice Island Storage Tank project in phases by 2014.Canal restoration and enhancement projects, sponsored by the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Water Department, are also taking place and will be unveiled. For updates and information on this project, visit the following website