Keep Philly Green & Clean

The “Keep Philly Green & Water Clean” campaign elevates green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) as a key environmental issue among Philadelphia’s municipal leadership and residents. Philadelphia, through its implementation of the Green City, Clean Waters plan, is a national leader in green infrastructure such as rain gardens, tree trenches, and green roofs to reduce stormwater that pollutes our rivers and streams. But maintaining Philadelphia’s leadership requires a citywide commitment to GSI.

We need you - Philadelphia’s residents and civic and community leaders - to get involved and speak up to make Green Stormwater Infrastructure successful.

What is Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI)?

  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure is a nature-based solution to water quality issues that urban stormwater runoff causes and provides greater benefits than conventional (or “Gray”) stormwater solutions.
    > Learn more about green stormwater infrastructure

Why do we need Green Stormwater Infrastructure?

  • Stormwater -- surface water generated during a rainstorm or when snow melts -- runs off roads, parking lots, and roofs, picking up oil, dirt, and other pollutants as it makes its way to storm drains. Sixty percent of Philadelphia’s storm drain system is a combined system that mixes with household wastewater. Most large storms cause untreated sewage to overflow directly into local rivers and creeks.  
  • GSI tools reduce pollution and flooding events by naturally slowing and filtering rainwater before entering the stormwater system.

The Economic, Social, and Environmental Benefits in your Neighborhood

  • GSI creates jobs and strengthens the economy. If we increase reliance on GSI, we can expect an additional 1,000 jobs per year and $2 million per year in local tax revenues over the next 25 years.
  • GSI reduces crime and blight, improves public health, and enhances recreation.
  • GSI mitigates the impacts of climate change by creating a localized cooling effect.
  • GSI helps keep rivers and streams clean enough to fish, boat, and swim.

How is Green Stormwater Infrastructure already being used in Philadelphia?

  • In 2011, Philadelphia began implementing a plan called Green City, Clean Waters to reduce stormwater pollution by focusing on green practices. In only 8 years, 948 public and private GSI projects have been constructed in Philadelphia. This means that rainfall on 679 acres is managed with GSI.
  • The expansion of GSI in Philadelphia has created 92 acres of new or improved green and open space, creating vibrant communities with spaces to recreate.


Photo Location: DiSilvestro Playground at the South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center. Photo Credit: Ground Reconsidered

Without Green Stormwater Infrastructure we could see:

  • A loss in Philadelphia’s status as a national leader in GSI.
  • Fewer jobs in the green economy.
  • A degradation of the rivers and creeks we use for fishing, boating, and swimming.
  • Increased temperatures and poorer air quality as climate change intensifies.

Other Ways You Can Take Action & Join the “Keep Philly Green & Water Clean” campaign

  • Educate your neighbors, local businesses, civic association or community development organization about the importance of GSI in your neighborhood. 
  • Ask your City Council Representative to support GSI projects in your community.
  • Use the hashtag #KeepWaterCleanPHL
    • Tag photos of GSI in your neighborhood and spread the word about why a green Philly with clean water matters to you.
  • Sign up to receive updates and action alerts from PennFuture.
    • We’ll keep you informed and ready for action with updates about this issue.
  • Elevate the importance of GSI by participating in community meetings.
  • Speak up for GSI in your parks and recreation centers through the Rebuild Initiative.
  • Write letters to the editor about the importance of addressing stormwater. Contact the campaign for samples.
  • Explain why green space is important to you by submitting a blog through the website.

Learn more about green stormwater infrastructure in your neighborhood.Visit Philadelphia Water Department’s “Big Green Map”:

Visit Philadelphia Water Department’s “Big Green Map”:

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