A new study by Jeffrey Featherstone, director of Temple’s Center for Sustainable Communities and a professor of Community and Regional Planning, examines how Philadelphia is tackling the problem head-on through the city’s “Green City Clean Waters Program (GCCW).”
“One of the major stormwater problems in many older American cities is combined sewer overflows (CSO) — sanitation sewers and storm sewers are connected. During high rainfall events, sewage may discharge into rivers and streams — it’s a problem happening in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and cities all over the world,” said Featherstone, who examined Philadelphia’s GCCW program as a case study for the implementation of proper green infrastructure. The study was conducted with the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds.
According to Featherstone, the Green City Clean Waters Program seeks to integrate water resources management “into the socioeconomic fabric of the city.”
“It is the centerpiece of a larger city effort to promote sustainability through improved stormwater management. Through a projected municipal investment of more than $2 billion and an innovative stormwater billing program, the GCCW expects to transform Philadelphia into a vibrant, green and sustainable city,” said Featherstone, who detailed the study of Philadelphia’s program as the only American presenter at a week-long conference hosted by the International Society of City and Regional Planners held in Wuhan, China in late October. “Instead of completely replacing the existing infrastructure with separate water and sewer systems of underground tunnels and storage tanks — which would be substantively cost prohibitive at about $17 billion — the city is embarking on a program that would solve 85 percent of the problem over a 25 to 30-year period by using low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure that would mediate the stormwater before it reaches the underground gray infrastructure.”
LID alternatives include greening methods such as green roofs, rain gardens, rain barrels, stormwater tree trenches and planters, permeable paving and concrete, and flow-through planters, systems that not only help control the flow of stormwater by returning the rainfall back to a normal hydrologic cycle but also help filter pollutants. A parcel-based billing system that emphasizes LID approaches over impervious surfaces would also assess fees on significant producers of runoff in relation to their contribution to stormwater runoff, encouraging landowners to implement sustainable stormwater management practices, said Featherstone.
The city isn’t just examining the potential economic benefits of the GCCW program but the social and environmental impacts as well — a “triple bottom line analysis,” he said.
“While there are numerous options for controlling CSO events and urban runoff, implementation of green or low impact development will provide benefits across the board — increased property values, reduced heat island effect, reduced airborne pollutants and CO2 emissions,” Featherstone said.
The green approach includes numerous additional positive outcomes, such as an anticipated 193 acres of wetlands created, a reduction in heat-related deaths by nearly 200, substantial electricity and natural gas savings due to the cooling effect of trees, a decrease of more than 1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, and the creation of thousands of green collar jobs.
According to Featherstone, Philadelphia’s stormwater management approach could work “anywhere from Manilla to Johannesburg to Beijing, anywhere that the combined sewer overflow problem exists.”
“It just requires a city with the will to do it. The true bottom line is that a greener city is simply a much more attractive place to live,” he said. “It is becoming clearer every day the interconnectedness that exists between our cities and global ecosystems. It is important for all big cities to take responsibility for their damaged ecosystems.”
For more information about the Philadelphia Green City Clean Waters study, contact the Center for Sustainable Communities at 267-468-8311 or www.ambler.temple.edu/csc.
James Duffy | Newswise Science News
Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology