Mayor Nutter Issues Statement on Partnership with EPA

Philadelphia, May 31, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement regarding the leadership and partnership of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“The Clean Water Act was a defining piece of American legislation that created a greener, more sustainable nation. Reflecting on the 40th Anniversary of this legislation, we are reminded how vital it is to protect our water sources now and for future generations.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the leadership of Administrator Lisa Jackson, has worked in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a state-of-the-art stormwater management system that will save billions of taxpayer dollars. The EPA signed an historic agreement allowing Philadelphia to implement Green City, Clean Waters, our city’s 25 year, $2 billion plan to invest in stormwater infrastructure. This plan creates affordable, green solutions that will uphold important quality standards set forth under the Clean Water Act.

“The EPA and Administrator Jackson have been stalwart partners with cities across the nation as we work to build a more competitive and more sustainable America. In the 40 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, they continue to collaborate with cities and municipalities to create the green infrastructure that will be a foundation for our nation’s growth for decades to come.”

Mayor Nutter Cuts Ribbon On Wastewater Geothermal Heating Project

Philadelphia, April 12, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia-based NovaThermal Energy have partnered to be the first site in the United States to deploy a commercial scale geothermal system that provides building heat using domestic wastewater. Mayor Nutter, Novathermal Energy partners, City and U.S. Department of Energy officials and community partners held a ribbon-cutting and tour at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant where the project has been implemented.

“I am proud to say that Philadelphia is taking another groundbreaking step in becoming the greenest city in America,” said Mayor Nutter. “Partnering with a Philadelphia-based company and using innovative technology, we have achieved a win-win for energy efficiency and economic development. We will be able to save on costs and energy resources at a City facility while commercializing a technology that can be used in large commercial and industrial buildings throughout the country.”

The project demonstrates the City’s commitment to incubate new businesses, deploy clean energy technology as part of its Greenworks Philadelphia goals, be a leader in resource recovery and explore new markets for revenue.

“This project is another example of PWD’s commitment to diversify our energy portfolio as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,” remarked Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug. “The development of technology that essentially recycles wastewater by extracting its energy for reuse is innovative and demonstrates PWD’s national leadership in resource recovery.”

Commercialization of this technology is designed to significantly reduce energy use in large commercial and industrial buildings throughout Philadelphia and the United States. This project is one example of the Department’s long-term plans to add resource recovery to its facilities environmental protection portfolio.

The City of Philadelphia incurred no costs or outlay of expenses for this project, made possible through funding provided by the City of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Pilot Energy Technology Grant program, which is supported by federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Energy. Ben Franklin Technology Partners of SE Pennsylvania additionally contributed with a grant to support measurement and verification technical assistance.

The project consists of a 1 million BTU/hr unit located in the building’s basement from which heat is directly accessed from the adjacent sewage channel. While the technology can be scaled to a much larger size, this project serves to prove the technology’s energy savings in the U.S. context. At the Southeast Plant, NovaThermal Energy will demonstrate its ability to provide heat at approximately 50% of current cost, realizing $216,000 of savings over 15 years.

About the Philadelphia Water Department
The Philadelphia Water Department serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater and storm water services. The Department’s mission is to plan for, operate and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively.

About NovaThermal Energy
NovaThermal Energy’s wastewater geothermal energy efficiency technology saves up to 60% in building heating and cooling costs. The system combines a water source heat pump with a patented filtration device to transfer heat energy directly from sewage, using wastewater flows as a heat source. NovaThermal taps into the existing municipal sewer infrastructure, eliminating the land area and cost of geothermal piping or borefields, making the system feasible and affordable for buildings with large energy load requirements.

NovaThermal Energy is a Philadelphia-headquartered company, bringing its proven energy efficiency technology to market in the United States. The company holds an exclusive license for this Chinese technology, and is the US patent holder for improvements to the system.

Mayor Nutter, EPA Administrator Jackson Sign Landmark Partnership Agreement

Philadelphia, April 10, 2012 – Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, joined by U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and city and federal officials, signed an agreement that represents a $2 billion investment in Philadelphia green infrastructure during an event at the Fairmount Water Works. Over the next 25 years, the Green City, Clean Waters partnership agreement will transform many of Philadelphia’s paved, non-porous surfaces to green areas to better manage potentially harmful rainwater runoff pollution. This unique federal-city partnership aims to ensure the success of the Green City, Clean Waters Plan and to present the plan as a national model for cities embracing green stormwater infrastructure. Green infrastructure investments make our communities cleaner, healthier, and more attractive places to live and work.

“Green City Clean Waters Plan is our proposal to revitalize our rivers and streams by managing stormwater in a way that provides multiple benefits. It will result in clean and beautiful waterways, a healthier environment and increased community value. The assistance of our public partners makes it the most cost effective investment of its kind in the country,” said Mayor Nutter. “Where other cities are challenged by very expensive commitments for tunnels, tanks and other gray infrastructure, we have worked with the state and the EPA to take this greener, more fiscally prudent approach that will realize multiple benefits.”

EPA will provide assistance to the City in identifying and promoting higher performing green infrastructure designs, convening technical expertise from around the country to advance green designs and support a Green Design Competition, and help remove barriers to innovation in the City’s Plan. EPA will also assist on research and technical assistance on monitoring the effectiveness and evaluating benefits of the program through cooperation on water quality monitoring and modeling work that the City has undertaken.

“The EPA is proud to be working in partnership to support green infrastructure advances that will lead to cleaner waters and a stronger economy for the city of Philadelphia. This city has earned a place as a national and global leader on sustainable innovation and clean water protection,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The Green City, Clean Waters Partnership promises to lead the way for communities across the nation, which can use the lessons learned through this long-term project to protect their health, safeguard their waters and boost their economies.”

The City of Philadelphia is leading the development of green strategies to manage urban stormwater runoff – one of the 21st century’s greatest challenges to the health of our nation’s rivers and streams. Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Plan layers green technologies modeled on natural practices on top of the city’s 3,000 mile sewer network, Philadelphia’s 20th century investment in traditional “gray” infrastructure, to capture rainwater on the surface. Capturing rainwater prevents sewer overflows containing industrial and human waste from discharging to waterways during wet weather. It will transform streets, parking lots, schools, public spaces into urban landscapes that reduce sewer overflows to our waterways while enhancing our communities.

“The signing of this monumental agreement is a transformative step for urban environmental policy in the United States,” said Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. “Philadelphia and the EPA’s forward-looking collaboration on storm water runoff will help strengthen economic development, protect our drinking water and should serve as a model for cities around the country.”

Green City Clean Waters is based upon an adaptive management approach that will identify and maximize green practices that achieve the most efficient and cost effective environmental goals for the City of Philadelphia.

The agreement can be found at

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

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

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.”