Target 8: Stormwater Management
Manage Stormwater to Meet Federal Standards
Managing stormwater is a basic government function. If not controlled, runoff in urban centers causes flooding, erosion, areas of stagnant water and sewer backups that spill into basements. The 19th and 20th century solution was a network of drainage pipes that moved the rainwater—and industrial, household and human waste—away from homes, streets and businesses and into rivers and streams. Greenworks Philadelphia recommends that the natural links between land and water be reconnected and that green infrastructure—trees, vegetation and soil—become the City’s preferred stormwater management system. If the United States Environmental Protection Agency revises its applicable regulations, 3,200 acres of green space and pervious surfaces will be created in Philadelphia by 2015 to meet the city’s stormwater needs. Philadelphia can manage its stormwater while creating healthier neighborhoods by planting thousands of new street trees; increasing the amount of green and open space; using pervious pavement on parking lots and playgrounds; building green roofs; and distributing rainwater collection barrels to homeowners. Click here for more information about the Water Department’s Watersheds Program.

Increase the Number of Green Roofs
Philadelphia is second in the nation, after Chicago, in the amount of roof area that is “green.” (Green roofs use plant materials to soak up stormwater and reduce internal building temperatures. They also help reduce urban island heat effect.) But more must be done. First, the tax credit for green roofs should be modified so that only those projects that capture the first inch of rainwater qualify. Second, the tax credit should be extended to residential developers and home owners. Third, the City’s Plumbing Code should provide guidance on green roofs and allow roofs that meet the stormwater regulations to be disconnected from the sewer system. Click here for more information about the Water Department’s Watersheds Program.
Create Green Streets
About 40 percent of Philadelphia’s impervious area consists of public streets or rights of way. Greenworks Philadelphia therefore supports “Green Streets” programs that manage stormwater within city blocks. Treatments range from increasing tree cover and installing sidewalk planters to using bioswales (low gradient water basins that can capture rain and runoff and slowly release it), rain gardens, corner bump-outs and underground infiltration areas on adjacent lands or pervious pavement/concrete. Click here for more information about the Water Department’s Watersheds Program.


Expand the Rain Barrel Program
PWD operates a pilot program that gives more than 200 rain barrels to residents each year to connect to gutter downspouts and collect rainwater that would otherwise go into the sewer system. Residents can attach hoses to the bottoms of the barrels and use the water for gardens and lawns. Click here for more information about the Rain Barrel Program.