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Green City Clean Water Program Essay

1802 words - 7 pages

Introduction
“Nationwide, water utilities find themselves under increasing pressure as they confront a new
set of complex environmental, demographic and financial challenges while also trying to meet expanded customer expectations for a safe and affordable water supply; the collection and high level treatment of wastewater and stormwater; flood protection; and clean, attractive, fishable, swimmable rivers and streams” (Green City Clean Water, 2011).
The city of Philadelphia is having a problem with its waterways, ecosystems and water quality. Urbanization has contributed to the degradation of Philadelphia’s waterways, ecosystems and water quality issues. The city posed a possible solution for the problem of combined sewer overflow, which they call Green City Clean Water. Green City, Clean Waters, and it works in tandem with the Mayor’s Green Works Philadelphia vision in order to reinvent Philadelphia as a green, sustainable city of the future. This paper will investigate the city of Philadelphia Water Department’s (PDW) plan for green infrastructure, which includes wastewater treatment facility enhancements and pipe renewal and replacement.

The Problem
The city of Philadelphia’s problem with its waterways, ecosystems and water quality is divided into four major categories: stormwater management, degraded waterways, aging infrastructure, and source water quality. When it rains, some water is absorbed through pervious surfaces such as vegetated areas with uncompacted soil, sand, or gravel that allow for the infiltration of water. Stormwater also flows over impermeable surfaces such as rooftops, sidewalks, and streets that block natural infiltration. Impermeable cover impairs the problem of stormwater when runoff flows directly into the nearest storm drain without being mitigated. If untreated before entering our waterways, this contaminated water can have a detrimental effect on water quality. Stormwater runoff from the Philadelphia region, whether served by separate stormwater sewers or combined sewers, impairs the streams and rivers of the city.
Multiple, interrelated sources contribute to waterway degradation in Philadelphia's streams. One interrelated sources that contributes to waterway degradation in Philadelphia's streams is erosion. As a result of the increased volume of runoff in urban areas, the collective flow of stormwater becomes large in volume and de-stabilizes streambanks. In turn, natural stream banks become eroded, making it very difficult for natural vegetation to become sufficiently rooted. Erosion is a self-reinforcing process; as stream channels become wider and deeper, they confine more and more of the stormwater stress within the channel itself, rather than distributing the force of stormwater out over the floodplain. (Self-Reinforcing Processes in and Among Organizations, 157)
Given Philadelphia's history as one of America's earliest-developed cities, the age, physical condition, and efficiency of its infrastructure...

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