Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin | 26 November : 14

Photo is from Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Soak it up, Philly!

Philadelphia has made a big commitment to reduce runoff by managing rain where it falls through green infrastructure/LID.

In June 2011, the Green Cities, Clean Waters plan was approved by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD). Since then Philadelphia has been transformed into a leader in innovative rainwater management. The 25-year plan is ambitious: large scale implementation of green infrastructure across the city to eliminate overflows from the combined sewers which serve 75% of Philadelphia’s residents.

Unlike large pipes, which are visible to residents only during construction, most types of green infrastructure are on top of the ground. Community buy-in and support for projects is key to their success.

To obtain that buy-in, the PWD is working with a wide range of community groups and nonprofits on the Soak it up, Philly! campaign, which builds excitement about green stormwater projects. The goal is to inspire community members to undertake stewardship of plantings and take action on their own properties.

PWD has launched a video series which helps to educate Philadelphians who may never have contemplated runoff-related issues. An online tool allows community members to propose project sites for green infrastructure. An interactive map of projects and active social media accounts (find them on facebook or twitter) also help build community awareness and support.

(Click here to find out more about Philadelphia's commitment to green infrastructure... )

POLL: Do you think more cities should follow Philadelphia's example?

Contribute to the bulletin!

Let us know if you have a green infrastructure project or story that should be featured in the blog, a news item you'd like to share, or an event that Umbrella subscribers would be interested in. Email us or contribute to the thread in The Umbrella.

Latest news

Municipal liability: learn all about it. The next Umbrella webinar is this Friday at lunchtime, by Laura Zizzo, expert in climate change law. She will discuss past and future class action lawsuits related to flooding and legal considerations for municipalities in light of climate change. Register now!

REEP Green Solutions honours RAIN Superheroes. At their 15th anniversary gala this month, REEP Green Solutions honoured RAIN superheroes who have gone above and beyond to manage stormwater on their properties. These profiles celebrate homeowners and local businesses that have solved stormwater problems and improved their community's resiliency to extreme weather events in the process.

Storm runoff a risk for fish. Contaminants from untreated rain runoff are killing fish next to Seattle's busiest highways. Water filtered through a simple mixture of gravel, sand and compost has proven to be much cleaner and better for aquatic life.

Invasive species in stormwater ponds. The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority has removed approximately 2,000 goldfish from a storm management pond in Cobourg. The invasive species were likely released by homeowners, and had the potential to escape the pond and impact native fish in Brock Creek or Lake Ontario.

Permeable streets popping up in U.S. cities, big and small. Boston has installed a a 508 square foot porous alley in order to improve the water quality of the rivers flowing into the harbour. At the same time, Davenport, Iowa (pop. 100,000) has installed a two-block-long permeable street, designed to stand up to extreme cold, snow, and flooding.

Welcome new Umbrella members! There has been a lot of interest lately in the online community at The Umbrella. If you're a new member or an existing one, sign in and start sharing, through blogs, discussions, events, or documents in the library.

Useful sites

Where can you find Low Impact Development? Credit Valley Conservation’s LID map is a great tool for tracking the spread of LID across Ontario. Explore or add your own LID sites to the map today. 


Legal responsibilities and risk management in a changing climate. 28 November, 2014. 12-1pm EST. Webinar. Laura Zizzo discusses municipal liability related to stormwater management, with Canadian case studies. Register here.

Engaging the community about stormwater management: the Kitchener-Waterloo experience. 12 December, 2014. 12-1pm EST. Webinar. Cheryl Evans chronicles the community engagement program undertaken in partnership with the stormwater utilities in the Cities of Kitchener from 2011 to 2014. Register here.

The Umbrella is an online community designed for knowledge-sharing about green stormwater infrastructure. Its members are municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. The Umbrella is managed by Green Communities Canada. Submit an item for an upcoming issue or provide feedback on the bulletin.

Copyright © 2014 RAIN Community Solutions, All rights reserved.


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