Green City, Clean Waters - City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Green City, Clean Waters is the Philadelphia Water Department's vision for protecting and enhancing local watersheds by managing stormwater with innovative green infrastructure, through its combined sewer overflow control program. The program is pioneering a broad multi-decade investment in green stormwater management practices that reduce sewer overflows to the City’s waterways, and in turn, enhances communities and the overall urban environment.

The plan commits Philadelphia to significantly reduce the negative impacts of stormwater on the effectiveness of the sewer collection system. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has developed this infrastructure management program to protect and enhance the region’s waterways by managing stormwater runoff to significantly reduce the reliance on the construction of additional underground infrastructure. In effect, PWD plans to invest in green stormwater infrastructure solutions to reseed what are currently impervious watershed hardscapes.

This resource was featured in the February 8, 2018, ASAP Newsletter.

"The Philadelphia Water Department's “Green City, Clean Waters” program brings together public and private partners to holistically address stormwater and watershed management. This program, established in 2011, employs a green infrastructure network to reduce pollution entering the city’s combined sewer system. Through the program, Philadelphia has added 837.7 acres of green space to the city, and reduced pollution from stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows by more than 1.5 billion gallons annually (2016 data). To learn more, visit Philadelphia Water’s “Big Green Map"."

The commitments made in this plan are intended to lay the foundation for a sustainable Philadelphia by greening neighborhoods, restoring waterfronts, improving outdoor recreation spaces, and enhancing quality of life. With the assistance of many public and private partners, PWD envisions greening at least one third of the existing impervious cover in Combined Sewer System drainage areas over the next 25 years, transforming them into “Greened Acres” that will filter or store the first inch of rainwater runoff each time it rains.

The Green City, Clean Waters plan represents Philadelphia’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan Update (LTCPU). Updated in June 2011, the LTCPU had been amended through negotiations with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) since its submission in September, 2009.

Green City, Clean Waters is officially supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - which is partnering with Philadelphia on this program to advance green infrastructure to control urban stormwater and pollution.

The EPA and Philadelphia are collaborating on several of state-of-the-art, higher performing green infrastructure projects in selected areas. This includes a project at a City school for greening school grounds linked to its science curriculum, adjacent Green Streets development, and a Next Generation Big Green Block development project which involves community and business engagement in an environmental justice area to extend the application of higher performing green designs.


Publication Date: June 2011

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