Keep Philly Green & Water Clean Campaign

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

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.

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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