Check out the trailer for the new documentary, Tapped, which casts a critical eye on the bottled water industry. The film begins with this depressing statement:
By the year 2030, two-thirds of the world will be lacking access to clean drinking water. This is a problem every single person will be dealing with regardless of where they live in the world.
If that doesn’t shake you up, just watch the trailer below and see the images of the huge amounts of plastic floating in the ocean.
There are currently no screenings listed for Philadelphia, but we’ll keep checking back and let you know if we find any. We’re also working on hosting our own screening and discussion. For now, you can view more clips on the Tapped website and read Beth Terry’s great summary of the film at her blog, Fake Plastic Fish.
The Model Neighborhoods program is the start of PWD’s $1.6 billion, 20-year effort to clean up its troubled combined sewer overflow system and bring it in line with federal EPA mandates by 2029. But it also represents a major foray into new territory for the city utility – managing storm water not just with pipes, but with strategically-placed greenery along streets throughout Philadelphia.
Using a grass-roots nomination process guided by local community partners, in this case the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed Partnership, Inc., based at Awbury Arboretum, the Chew-Belfield Neighborhood Association, and the various block associations of this hilly region of the Northwest, PWD found the perfect block to begin with.
“The community picked the block, we didn’t pick the block,” said PWD Engineer Amy Leib. “But it wound up working well for us.”
On Sunday, October 4th, TTF and Fairmount Park were joined by a group of dedicated citizens looking to learn about Best Management Practices for Stormwater Solutions.
After a fun, interactive activity demonstrating how a watershed works, we all set off for a tour of local stormwater management projects.
Stop 1 was the Awbury Arboretum’s bioswale near the only daylighted portion of the Wingohocking Creek. The bioswale is a set of large troughs dug in the soil parallel to Washington Lane that is lined with deep-rooted, water loving plants. Dirty street runoff flows through specially designed stormdrains into these troughs, where it is absorbed and filtered by the plants and soil.
Next, we moved onto Cliveden Park. The park’s stormwater demonstration project is a bioswale/rain garden. Water moves through these stepped troughs with the dual purposes of preventing flooding in the valley below and cleansing the dirty street runoff. (See the picture below.)
The famous Ross Street was our next stop, where we discussed the plans for the new green street and brainstormed ways to expand this project and create more model neighborhoods and model neighbors throughout the city.
The next stop was at the Waterview Recreation Center, home to one of the few large porous pavement projects in the city. While we were there we watched water flow through the porous concrete sidewalk and disappeared into the infiltration pits beds below. We also checked out their flow-through planters and street tree trenches. (See the picture below.)
For our last stop we were back to Awbury Arboretum, where we modeled our lovely rain barrel and discussed various benefits and glitches you could encounter with your very own rain barrel.
The tour was a smashing success (complete with homemade apple butter and apple cider from Fairmount Park) and we are grateful to all that were in attendance!
For more information about this event, contact us.
TTF will be joining forces once again with swimmer/activist Christopher Swain for an e-waste drive on November 21 and 22 at Cedarbrook Middle School (more info here).
Christopher is currently swimming 1000 miles of the East Coast to raise awareness for clean water issues. In the days leading up to our e-waste drive, Christopher will speak to local school children about his swim and what they can do to help keep our waterways clean.
For more information on Christopher Swain or our upcoming e-waste drive, contact Katie at .
Along the beautiful banks of the Schuylkill River, on the evening of October 6th, the Coalition for Philadelphia’s Riverfronts (CPR) made their inaugural address to bikers, joggers, professionals and interested citizens about their goal of creating a greenway that follows the banks of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.
The goal of the coalition is to rescue Philadelphia’s riverfronts from development and save them to be used as recreational trails. CPR explains that not only do people tend to have a higher opinion of cities with greenways, they also provide cleaner water, commuter routes, opportunities for public health benefits due to increased recreational space and enhanced economic and commercial development.
There are many organization that have an interest and a stake in this project, the TTF included. The coalition will allow all of these organization to work together and be a more powerful voice for change.
This past Saturday, October 3rd, another exciting meeting was held on the 6300 block of Ross Street where the Philadelphia Water Department presented residents with the design for their new green street.
Ross Street has a high point in the middle of the block, causing water to cascade down toward both ends of the block where it meets with Washington or Duval. In order to best capture stormwater the PWD plans to place street tree trenches at all four corners of the block. A tree trench captures the flow of stormwater from the street and sidewalk, letting water soak slowly back into the soil. They are also offering to plant trees on the property of anyone who is interested. Street trees provide shade, improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, absorb noise, raise property values and beautify neighborhoods.
Installation is projected to begin this coming Summer (2010). For more information, contact us.
Sandy Bauer’s article in last week’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Breaking Ground with a 1.6 Billion Plan to Tame Water (article no longer available), does a fantastic job of explaining the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Waters Plan. Here at TTF, we are thrilled to be a partner on one of the first blocks to participate in the program: the 6300 Block of Ross Street.
Reverend Chester Williams, a great friend and partner of TTF, was quoted in the article:
“I love it,” said the Rev. Chester Williams, president of the Chew and Bellfield Neighborhood Club. In his view, what’s not to like about cleaner air, cooler houses, and prettier streets?
“We’re just praying that it moves a little faster,” he said.
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.