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


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