City of Philadelphia Stormwater Incentives/ Grants

The City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has created a suite of subsidies, grants and rebates for both residential and non-residential properties to encourage more stormwater retention and green infrastructure practices.  The Stormwater Management Incentives Program and the Greened Acre Retrofit Program offer a reduced  price for qualified non-residential customers and contractors to design and install stormwater best management practices which reduce stormwater pollution and enhance water quality.  

For non-residential properties, the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation offer incentives for construction and for retrofits in the form of grants to stimulate investments in green infrastructure BMPs.  Applicants for the grants must capture at the least the first inch of runoff from the property’s impervious surfaces to be eligible, and competitive applications will manage at least the first 1.5 inches of runoff.  

The city has multiple approaches based on use, which allows it to scale and target different incentives to what each type of property owner is likely to be trying to do (i.e., retrofit multiple properties on a large scale versus install a small rain garden on a single residential property).

Grant recipients also receive credits towards Philadelphia’s Stormwater Management Service (“SWMS”) charge. (For non-residential customers, this charge is a utility user fee that represents the cost to the city to manage stormwater and is based on both the square footage of impervious area covering the property relative to the total square footage of the property.)

Commercial properties are eligible for subsidies for both retrofits and new construction of practices (such as green infrastructure) that retain more stormwater than required by regulation.

Property owners also get discounts on their stormwater user fees for reducing impervious surfaces on their properties, which continues over time if the green infrastructure is maintained. Residential property owners can participate in the city’s RainCheck program, which provides subsidies for green infrastructure such as rain barrels, rain gardens, and porous pavers.

Interestingly, property owners must file a deed restriction in the form of an Operations and Maintenance Agreement to ensure that the green infrastructure will remain in place and be properly maintained for a period of at least forty-five years; thus, subsequent owners of the properties will be bound by the condition of the grant.  


Publication Date: 2016

Related Organizations:

  • City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Funding program

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