Green City, Clean Waters
The Philadelphia Water Department is pioneering an approach that uses nontraditional “green infrastructure” to limit, and eventually reverse, the negative impacts of past stormwater practices in its most recent Long Term Control Plan Update, called "Green City, Clean Waters). These methods outlined in the plan have capital costs similar to grey infrastructure, but, unlike sewer pipes, the Water Department will attempt to use the landscape itself to manage stormwater. These methods also produce benefits—cooler air and air quality improvement—that grey infrastructure cannot. The Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities supports PWD's efforts to protect and enhance our region’s waterways by managing stormwater runoff in a way that significantly reduces our reliance on construction of additional underground infrastructure.
The use of green stormwater infrastructure is rapidly increasing in Philadelphia. The Mayor’s six year plan to make Philadelphia the greenest City in America, GreenWorks Philadelphia “recommends that the natural link between land and water be reconnected so that green stormwater infrastructure becomes the City’s preferred stormwater management system.” As such, the City will establish and standardize green stormwater infrastructure into the planning, design, and construction of capital work on the City’s streets and develop a corresponding manual. To do this the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities is working with the City's Water and Streets Departments to produce a Design Manual for Green Stormwater Infrastructure for the City of Philadelphia.