Conventional electricity production has the potential to be harmful to water quality through a variety of processes. Thermal pollution (when heated water is released into aquatic systems) and chemical pollution (chemically altered water from cleaning solutions, coal leaching, etc.) are two possible types of pollution from electric generation plants. Click here for more information.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Investing in renewable energy resources is one way to combat pollution from conventional energy production. Wind and Solar Power generate electricity without any waste or altered water flowing into our streams and creeks.
As a Philadelphia resident you can lease Solar Panels for no upfront cost from companies like Urban Eco Electric. Or, you can install your own solar panels. They can be purchased at a varietyof retailers.
Please make sure to read this article about the proposed natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale and how it could seriously damage our drinking water!
From the article:
Philadelphians tend to take their abundant, cheap drinking water for granted. However, the quality, quantity, and price tag of clean water in the Delaware River basin, source of Philadelphia’s drinking water, may be at risk due to a new natural gas extraction process called hydrofracking, or fracking. Fracking uses huge amounts of water, mixed with toxic chemicals and injected at high pressure, to fracture the Marcellus Shale, releasing the shale’s natural gas. The Marcellus Shale formation stretches from Ohio through Pennsylvania to New York and is believed to contain enough natural gas to fuel the U.S. for 13 years. But fracking creates polluted wastewater (“frac water”) which is several times saltier than the ocean and contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Municipal wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped for this level of pollution, and according to Sierra Club testimony before Congress, “a technological solution may be years away.”
Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC has applied to the Delaware River Basin Commission for approval of a major hydraulic fracturing project for exploration and development of natural gas wells in New York and Pennsylvania. This could have some major consequences for Philadelphia’s drinking water. However, public comment on this plan is welcome. Written comments should be mailed to Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. They also may be faxed to “Attn: Commission Secretary” at (609) 883-9522 or emailed to . All written comments should include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter, along with “Chesapeake Withdrawal” in the subject line.
More information, including the entire plan, is available on the DRBC website.
Check it out this short film about the bird habitat we helped create at Cedarbrook Middle School!
We’ve tallied up the data from our clean-up at Wall Park, and it is astonishing to see all that we picked up from the creek and its banks in just a few hours! We collected:
1402 pounds of trash, including:
- 205 food wrappers/containers
- 156 plastic bags
- 152 glass bottles
- 90 plastic bottles
- 87 beverage cans
- 59 lids/caps
- 45 cups/plates/knives/forks/spoons
- 42 cigarettes
- 31 straws/stirrers
- 20 cigar tips
- 9 toys
- 7 pieces of clothing
- 7 pull tabs
- 5 plastic tarps
- 4 car parts
- 2 bicycle tires
- 2 paper bags
- 1 55-gallon drum
- 1 balloon
- 1 bait container
- 1 fishing line
- 1 light bulb
- 1 lighter
Some of the most peculiar items we found were: beer cans from the 1970’s, pottery shards, wire cables, a circuit board, a four-pronged light-bulb, a gigantic tarp, rubber gloves, and full cans of iced tea.
Thanks again to all the great volunteers who came out to make the day a success!
TTF is thrilled to announce that we are a finalist for the Tom’s of Maine Corporate Sponsorship program. We are one of 50 national finalists competing for five $20,000 prizes. And WE NEED YOUR HELP! The prizes are entirely determined by an online voting process. Please go here and vote for TTF’s project, “Eyesores to Assets: Reinventing a Vacant Lot.” You can vote EVERY DAY until October 30! Please share this information with everyone you know and help us create a much-needed green space in Philadelphia!
On September 19, 2009 at Wall Park in Cheltenham Township, over 40 residents participated in a stream cleanup event that removed over 1,400 pounds of trash from the Tookany Creek and its banks. The event was a cooperative, volunteer effort by citizens from across the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford watershed. TTF hosted the event as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, a worldwide, annual project led by Ocean Conservancy. Local organizations, including the Cheltenham Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), the Arcadia University Environmental Network, Cedarbrook Middle School, and TTF came together to make the day a success. PA CleanWays provided tools and supplies for the volunteers.
The substantial effort we made here on Saturday morning was part of an even larger, global effort. International Coastal Cleanup Day is the brainchild of the Ocean Conservancy, an environmental ocean advocacy group dedicated to the health of the earth’s waterways. By sponsoring organizations on every continent to host local waterway clean-up events, the Ocean Conservancy shares credit for removing over 100 million pounds of marine litter from of 170,000 miles of beaches and inland waterways over the last 20 years. Last year, nearly 400,000 volunteers collected more than 6.8 million pounds of trash in 100 countries and 42 US states – the largest volunteer effort of its kind!
1,400 pounds of trash were removed from the Tookany Creek and its banks at Wall Park
Center in the Park’s Senior Environment Corps hosted a wonderful event on Friday, September 19: their annual Environment Day. TTF was proud to be able to come out and meet with community members and celebrate all of the Senior Environment Corp’s hard work. For those of you who don’t know, the Senior Environment Corps is a dedicated group seniors who, among many other things, monitors the water quality in our local waterways. If you want to lean more, you can go to the SEC website, or check out this great documentary about them, Knee Deep.
In addition to the Senior Environment Corps, there were plenty of local organizations representing Philadelphia’s environmental and senior communities, including: Friends of the Wissahickon, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadephia Water Department, Philadelphia Senior Center, The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Hansberry Garden and Nature Center, and Center in the Park. Speakers included John Armstead from the EPA, who talked about some of the connections between the environment, economics and health, and Drew Brown from Philadelphia Water Department, who explained the water cycle and some of our specific water issues in Philadelphia.
Thanks to everyone for a great event!
Ashley and Katie work the TTF Display Table at Environment Day
Katie and Fred Lewis, Volunteer Coordinator for Senior Environment Corps and TTF Board Member
On Saturday, September 12th, Urban Studio, a program of Green Village Philadelphia, held a charette to involve stakeholders from local environmental organizations and community groups in the process of designing an innovative rain collection system.
The goal of this meeting was to break away from the standard rain “barrel” and design something more functional that appeals to the needs of a greater population. The group developed a set of design criteria that included things such as reasonable cost, space efficiency and ease of installation. The group was then broken into teams and given an hour to design three new rain collection systems.
The new designs tended toward aesthetics, dual-function and modularity. The most common designs were water holding benches and flow-through planters.
Proposed designs will be presented at an interactive workshop on Thursday, October 8th, from 6 – 9pm at 1205 North 4th Street 1st Floor, as part of Design Philadelphia’s annual design celebration.
On Wednesday, September 9th, the residents of Ross St held a meeting to discuss plans to make their block the first green street in the Awbury/Cliveden Neighborhood. The meeting started out with a brief presentation by Chris Metcalf from Urban Eco Electric. UEE is offering to lease solar panels to residents and reduce their energy bills.
Joanne Dahme of the Philadelphia Water Department presented information on the proposed green streets initiative and community members responded with a series of questions about how these changes were going to affect them. Questions ranged from the possibility of price increases in water bills to the creation of green jobs related to the installation of the green street.
Ross Street is the first street in this neighborhood slated to receive stormwater detainment features such as Tree Trenches and bump out gardens, which are designed to capture storm water at the source. The PWD estimates that each project with take 6-8 weeks and cost between $200,000 – $250,000. The money will come from government stimulus package as well as rate-payer dollars.
Overall the meeting was very positive. As one hesitant community member pointed out, “Change is scary.” While this can be true, this project is a very exciting new initiative. Another resident aptly stated that “It is not about the cost of the project, but the worth. This project is not only good for the current residents, but will help to protect the environment, and beautify the neighborhood for generations to come.”
A follow up meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on October 3rd where the structural designs will be presented. Please contact us for more information.
The New York Times has a great new series on water pollution. One article, “Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering,” has some startling statistics:
The Times’s research also shows that last year, 40 percent of the nation’s community water systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act at least once, according to an analysis of E.P.A. data. Those violations ranged from failing to maintain proper paperwork to allowing carcinogens into tap water. More than 23 million people received drinking water from municipal systems that violated a health-based standard.
As one citizen quoted in the article asked, “How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?”
There is also an innovative tool that allows readers to check on violations around the country. The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed looks good, but there are plenty of violations in the state of Pennsylvania. You can also check out the levels of atrazine (a weed killer) in your drinking water. Pennsylvania seems to be doing a good job in this regard.
This series looks like it is going to have lots of fascinating features, and we’ll be sure to keep mentioning them here!