The Schuylkill and Delaware rivers are sources of drinking water for over 1.6 million
   people in the City of Philadelphia. These river systems have a combined watershed
   area of nearly 9.5 million acres, and the Delaware River alone provides drinking water
   for ten percent of the entire population of the United States.  Philadelphia's drinking
   water is provided by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), which is one of the
   oldest municipal water departments in the United States.  PWD operates three surface
   water intakes and treatment plants with a combined treatment capacity of 300 million
   gallons per day, utilizing disinfection and filtration technology.

   For thirty years, pollution control efforts on the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers have
   focused on controlling industrial and municipal facility discharges to streams and rivers,
   and applying treatment to address contamination associated with these sources.
   Currently, the most significant threats to the watershed are stormwater runoff from
   municipal and agricultural lands and other forms of non-point source pollution.

   Philadelphia recognizes that source water protection is the most viable and cost-
   effective means of handling present and emerging sources of pollution. Philadelphia has
   a deep history of protecting its raw water supply. In the mid-1800's, Philadelphia
   purchased much of the land touching  the Schuylkill watershed within City limits. This
   land today is known as Fairmount Park, one of the nation's largest urban parks.
   Philadelphia's most recent large-scale source water protection effort began in 1998 with
   the formation of PWD's Office of Watersheds. This office has undertaken a
   comprehensive approach to source water protection by integrating "wet weather"
   programs,  including combined sewer overflows and stormwater management, with its
   drinking water source protection program.

   This integrated approach has helped PWD reduce duplication and improve coordination
   both  internally and among its regulators. This large water system is working within City
   limits and regionally within its watersheds to address the most pressing water quality
   threats and to protect the drinking water supply for all of Philadelphia's residents.

   Priority  Contamination Threats

   The priority contamination threats come from agricultural practices, stormwater runoff,
   sewage overflows, and abandoned mine drainage

   Local Involvement and Developing the Protection Plan

   As required by the Safe Drinking Water Act amendments, PWD began an assessment of
   the vulnerabilities of its drinking water intakes in the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers in
   1999. In the Schuylkill study, PWD considered nearly the entire watershed its source
   water, rather than artificially demarcate its drainage area. As a result, PWD identified
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   major threats all along the river. Major contributors include agricultural practices,
   stormwater runoff, sewage overflows, and abandoned mine drainage.

   Provided that Philadelphia makes up only a small fraction of the Schuylkill watershed,
   any effort to implement protection and restoration efforts in response to the assessments
   would require a strong network of regional partners. In March 2003, PWD and U.S. EPA
   Region III teamed up to develop a watershed-based coalition to identify specific action
   steps for source water protection. This coalition is known today as the Schuylkill Action
   Network, or SAN. With 260 members and more than 80 agency and business partners,
   SAN membership facilitates grassroots action. SAN workgroups craft solutions for each
   of the primary threats to the Schuylkill. Approximately 15-20 participants serve on each
   workgroup, each offering his or her unique expertise and perspective.

   Management Measures

   In 2004, the SAN was awarded $1.1 million dollars from the  USEPA Targeted
   Watershed Initiative grant program to implement dozens of projects leveraging over $3
   million in restoration efforts over the next three years.  These projects will reduce acid
   mine drainage, complete several miles of streambank fencing to keep  hundreds of cattle
   out of streams, and reduce stormwater runoff entering the Schuylkill River. Below are
   several projects currently being implemented with grant funding.

   The Schuylkill Headwaters Association is installing limestone drains to remove heavy
   metals from two abandoned mine discharges in Schuylkill County. It is also conducting a
   study to determine the best way to handle discharge from a third abandoned mine
   system that contributes 30% of the metals found in the Upper Schuylkill River.

   The Riverbend Environmental Education Center is creating a pervious paved parking
   area that will serve as a demonstration of porous-pavement  parking lot design and as an
   educational tool for the Center.

   The Berks County Conservancy is working with farmers to install fencing,  stream
   crossings, and riparian buffer plantings on priority farms identified by the SAN
   Agriculture Workgroup to protect streams from pollution by livestock.

   The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is working with  priority municipalities
   identified by the SAN Stormwater Workgroup to improve local stormwater management
   by developing Environmental  Advisory Councils.

   The SAN is also convening meetings to organize and coordinate funding agencies and
   working to establish a Schuylkill River Restoration Grant fund that can be linked with
   restoration project needs.  More information about the SAN can be found at .

   Demonstration Projects in Philadelphia

   In addition to its regional efforts, PWD has developed a series of projects within city
   limits designed to control stormwater runoff and sewer overflows, educate residents
   about the impacts of their actions on local streams and rivers, and ultimately help
   improve Philadelphia's water  supply. Below are several examples of these projects:
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   Porous Basketball Courts at Mill Creek Playground

   The Mill Creek Playground is heavily used by the community for sports, activities, and
   meetings. The basketball courts at the playground were cracked and deteriorating, with
   low spots that became puddles after storms. To improve the quality of the courts and
   reduce the volume of stormwater that flows into the area's combined sewer, the
   basketball courts were retrofitted with porous asphalt over an infiltration bed.

   Street Tree Plantings

   Trees act to reduce stormwater runoff.  Unfortunately, a densely developed urban
   environment like Philadelphia has lost much of its tree cover. Tree cover varies widely
   across the city, with some sections estimated to have tree cover as low as 2.3 percent.
   This project will target street tree planting in sewersheds—particularly combined sewer
   areas- with low tree coverage.

   Low Impact Development at PWD Facilities

   Facilities managed by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) account for more than
   400 acres of impervious surfaces within the City of Philadelphia.  Implementation of low-
   impact development techniques, including vegetated roofs, on PWD properties will
   provide invaluable demonstrations of many stormwater best management practices and
   offer opportunities for monitoring to determine effectiveness of these techniques.

   Courtesy Stables Runoff Treatment Project

   Courtesy Stables is one of several urban  horse stables in the City of Philadelphia. This
   project is aimed at correcting a suite of problems contributing to nutrient-laden
   stormwater that flows from the barnyard into a tributary of the Wssahickon Creek,
   whose confluence with the Schuylkill River is just upstream of Philadelphia's drinking
   water intake.  The intent of this project is to route stormwater from the barnyard and
   surrounding area into a grassed waterway/filter strip where nutrients and sediment will
   be removed and a portion of the water will infiltrate before  reaching the stream.

   Say/or Grove Stormwater Wetland

   A one-acre stormwater wetland has been constructed on a parcel of Fairmount Park
   known as Saylor Grove. The wetland is designed to treat an estimated 70 million gallons
   of urban stormwater per year before it is discharged into the Monoshone Creek.  The
   Monoshone Creek is a tributary of the Wssahickon Creek- a source of drinking water for
   the City of Philadelphia.  This site is located within the highest priority zone (Zone "A")
   for source water protection for both PWD's Queen Lane and Belmont intakes.

   Schuylkill River Riparian Meadow near Belmont Intake

   PWD's Belmont Water Intake is located on the Schuylkill River downstream from several
   parking lots in Fairmount Park.  This stretch of riverside parkland has been severely
   eroded by the presence of approximately  500 non-migratory geese, which contribute
   about 40 tons/year of fecal material  to the river directly upstream  of our intake. This
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   project included revegetation of the eroded streambank areas to limit geese access to
   the parking lot and cause them to move to less sensitive areas of the park.

   Sulzberger Outdoor Classroom

   Once an overgrown abandoned lot, this site has been converted into an innovative
   stormwater demonstration site. The site reduces stormwater runoff in a cost effective
   and sustainable manner that could be replicated throughout the City. From front to back,
   the site represents a transformation from a natural watershed to an urban watershed.
   The site contains three stormwater best management practices - a dry streambed (or
   vegetative swale), a trench drain in the outdoor classroom area, and reuse of roof
   drainage to water the plants and trees. An outdoor classroom for Sulzberger students
   has also been incorporated into the site, along with a watershed mural designed by the

   Earth Day 2000

   This project involved stenciling of more than 10,000 storm drains across the City. More
   than 2,000 residents took part in the project, which also included distributing  tip cards
   explaining the stencil and describing actions residents can take to reduce pollution.

   Watershed Information Center

   PWD's Watershed Information Center is a web-based central repository of watershed-
   related information for use by the Philadelphia region's stakeholders. This valuable tool
   references ways to protect our rivers and highlight the connection between human
   activity and water quality. See for more information.

   Research Projects

   PWD is also involved in several research projects as part of its source water protection
   efforts. Sources of bacteria in Philadelphia's waterways are being examined  using
   antibiotic resistance profiling  and DMA fingerprinting to determine if human or other
   sources dominate bacteria levels identified in the streams.  Once sources are prioritized,
   mitigation strategies and social marketing programs will be developed to change

    In addition, aerial infrared imaging was completed  on all hydrology in the Wissahickon
   and other PWD watersheds.  A total of 161 stream  miles were photographed. The
   purpose was  to find thermal anomalies indicative of liquid contamination of the surface
   water resulting from leaking sewer lines, ground water seeps, or unidentified surface or
   subsurface outfalls in the form of pipes, storm sewers or other inputs.

   Contingency  Planning

   PWD has taken steps to ensure that there is an adequate backup or alternative supply of
   drinking water for the City in the event of contamination or other interruption to the water
   supply.  This  includes maintaining large reservoirs and off-river  holding basins that can
   hold more than a week's supply of water.  Patrols by security personnel also ensure the
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   safety of these areas. In response to the events of September 11, 2001, Philadelphia
   has also received a grant from EPA to develop new security measures.

   In 2004, PWD deployed the Delaware Valley Early Warning System (EWS), an
   integrated monitoring, communication, and notification system used to provide water
   suppliers and industrial  intake operators with advanced warning of water quality events
   in the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. The EWS includes a partnership of water
   suppliers,  industrial intake operators, and emergency responders from various agencies,
   utilities, and industries throughout the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.

   Through the telephone and internet-based notification systems, EWS users receive
   valuable information about upstream oil and chemical spills, sewage discharges, dam
   breeches, and other water quality events. When a notification is entered into the
   system, a time of travel  model is generated to indicate the time at which an event will
   reach downstream intakes.  Together with the real-time monitoring network these tools
   provide valuable information for water suppliers and industrial intake operators to
   determine the extent and severity of an event in order to respond promptly and

   Since system deployment, the EWS has become one of the most successful,
   technologically sophisticated, and sustainable systems  in the world. The EWS has also
   become a central emergency response and management system for the Delaware and
   Schuylkill watersheds. The  system  will continue to expand to include new users, add
   water quality monitoring stations, and enhance telephony and website functionality. In
   2006 the initial website will be completely redesigned, new functionality will be
   incorporated, and advanced monitoring technologies will be deployed and  demonstrated.

   The  Philly River Cast system was deployed in July of 2005, as a public spin-off of the
   EWS utilizing data from the real-time monitoring network to predict the suitability of the
   Schuylkill  River for recreational contact between Fairmount Dam and Flatrock Dam.  The
   River Cast website ( provides recreational users with a red,
   yellow, or green light for recreational contact based on established state and federal
   fecal coliform standards for recreational contact. Real-time turbidity, stream flow, and
   precipitation data is used to  automatically determine fecal coliform concentrations for the
   river based on historical relationships observed between these  parameters. Since
   deployment, the website has been visited by approximately 50,000 users and has  been
   utilized as a decision support tool for major recreation events such as triathalons and

   Measuring Program Effectiveness

   In May of 2002, PWD received the U.S. EPA Region 3 Source Water Protection Award
   for its leadership and commitment to protecting drinking water sources.  U.S. EPA
   Region 3 recognized several source water protection projects, including the goose
   diversion project, public education campaigns, and stormwater  runoff treatment wetland
   at Saylor Grove.  In June of 2003, PWD was also awarded the American Water Works
   Association's Exemplary Source Water Protection Award deeming it a national model for
   water suppliers. The SAN was cited as a model for coalition-based watershed protection
   in the 2005 Trust for Public Lands report "Ten Strategies for Successful  Sourcewater
   Protection: Path to Protection.".
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   Restoration efforts by the City have been particularly successful in reducing the goose
   population and restoring natural vegetation to the area. Through public education efforts,
   PWD has succeeded in eliminating feeding of geese within the area. Overall, as a result
   of source water protection efforts and improved pollution treatment facilities, 42 species
   of fish have returned to the once lifeless Delaware River. In the Schuylkill, the number of
   American shad and river herring has increased considerable in recent years, indicating a
   return of these native species.

   PWD has worked cooperatively with rural, suburban, and urban communities to mitigate
   land use and human impact on the Delaware and Schuylkill watersheds.  Through
   innovative and varied projects within Philadelphia, PWD hopes its program can serve as
   an example of a successful source water protection  program for communities across the

   For further information, contact:

   Christophers. Crockett, Ph.D., P.E.
   Manager - Watershed Protection
   Philadelphia Water Dept.
   Office of Watersheds
   1101  Market St, 4th Floor
   Philadelphia, PA 19107
   Phone 215-685-6234
   Fax 215-685-6043
Office of Water (4606M)                        816F10043                               January 2010