5826 McMahon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Porous Concrete, Underground Infiltration Beds, Flow-through Planters, Trees in Trenches

The Philadelphia Water Department’s stormwater project at Waterview Recreation Center demonstrates a number of ways to capture stormwater in an urbanized area, filter it, and allow it to seep slowly back into the land, recharging the groundwater and helping to reduce sewer overflows during rainstorms.

1. Porous Concrete Sidewalks: Porous concrete sidewalks were installed over the infiltration beds and aid in capturing stormwater from the walkways and surrounding land. The sidewalk surface looks like a normal sidewalk, but water flows right through it to the infiltration beds below. (See photo on the left.)

2. Underground Infiltration Beds: Specially designed storm drains capture street runoff and distribute stormwater throughout gravel infiltration beds located beneath the sidewalks in front of Waterview Recreation Center. The rainwater seeps into the underground gravel beds and then into the surrounding soil. Captured water remains in the system until it has soaked completely into the earth.

3. Flow-through planters: Planters by the main entrance catch rainwater from the roof downspouts. The below-grade planters fill with rainwater to a pre-determined level, and the excess overflows into pipes connected to the original storm lateral pipe. (See photo on the right.)

4. Trees in Trenches: Trees planted in trenches along the edge of the sidewalk absorb an enormous amount of water, filter it, and breathe clean water back into the air. (See photo on the left.)