News & Politics

Why a New Water Plan May Make Phili One of the Greenest Cities Yet

We're talking about storm water here ... and it's hot!

Finally, a city that really wants to work with nature and not against it. The Phili Inquirer reports:

Philadelphia has announced a $1.6 billion plan to transform the city over the next 20 years by embracing its storm water - instead of hustling it down sewers and into rivers as fast as possible.

The proposal, which several experts called the nation's most ambitious, reimagines the city as an oasis of rain gardens, green roofs, thousands of additional trees, porous pavement, and more.

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Like most cities, Phili has an issue when it rains too much. Overflow "gushes from 164 pipes directly into the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and Tacony, Pennypack, and Cobbs Creeks. Bacteria levels skyrocket." So, in looking for solutions to having to pay to treat stormwater and to deal with overflows of toxic waste, the city has gone away from the typical route of building new tunnels and massive infrastructure and instead chosen an incredibly ambitious and incredibly green plan that will hopefully be followed through on. They've also projected some added benefits:

The Water Department says the city's greening would result in more jobs, higher property values, better air quality, less energy use, and even fewer deaths - from excess heat.

Here's how it would work:


Tara Lohan is a managing editor at AlterNet.