Water works

A new stormwater system in the NE is expected to keep close to 60 million gallons of polluted runoff from entering the Pennypack Creek watershed each year.

A smart investment: A ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the completion of Sandmeyer Regional Stormwater System last Thursday. The project was funded by a $1.6 million stormwater grant from the Water Department. JOHN COLE / TIMES PHOTO

By John Cole

Rain is a good thing. Properly managing millions of gallons of stormwater runoff is a great thing.

Last Thursday, a ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the completion of Sandmeyer Regional Stormwater System, 10011 Sandmeyer Lane, with members of the community who helped make this possible.

The project, located at the former Budd plant site, was constructed by 20 business owners, the Philadelphia Water Department and the private firm Infrastructure Solution Services.

“I am really excited to be able to recognize a project that truly embodies our vision for a city where public and private partners collaborate to protect our rivers and streams, making them healthier than they have been in generations,” said Debra McCarty, Water Department commissioner.

A $1.6 million stormwater grant from the Water Department funded this project.

Sandmeyer Regional Stormwater System is expected to keep close to 60 million gallons of polluted runoff from entering the Pennypack Creek watershed each year.

“The special nature of this work, where the city of Philadelphia has managed to blend economic development, community growth, environmental integrity and sustainability around a single project, a single initiative and that’s Green City, Clean Waters,” said Michael DiBerardinis, city managing director. “The Water Department has one of the most innovative and creative stormwater management programs not only in big cities in America, but around the world.”

McCarty explained that, earlier this decade, Philadelphia launched “Green City, Clean Waters” in an effort to reduce stormwater pollution entering the sewer system.

“This project is the definition of thinking big,” said McCarty. “Both in terms of the environmental impact and the long-term financial maintenance planning that made this investment a no-brainer for local business owners.”

The effort was strongly supported by City Councilman Brian O’Neill, whose district the new stormwater system is located in.

O’Neill lauded the work that McCarty has done during her time at the PWD, and believes this will help combat “crippling water rates” for residents of Philadelphia.

“The Water Department has become, over the last 10–15 years particularly, problem-solvers,” said O’Neill.

He explained that this project was a “win-win for everybody.”

The investment is already paying off, according to Miles Munz, vice president of business development, Infrastructure Solution Services.

He stated that those at ISS have already calculated an estimate of how much water they’ve captured in the past couple of weeks.

So far, Munz said it has been enough to fill “four and a half Lincoln Financial Fields to the top row, almost 21 Comcast towers up to the antenna and almost eight Wells Fargo Centers up to the roof.”

McCarty added that this basin soaks up 1.3 million gallons of runoff every time there is an inch of rain. ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com