Love & Water: Find Your Perfect Stormwater Project Match with PWD’s new app
Stormwater Connect Helps Lower Water Bills while Protecting our Waterways
If you own non-residential property, the Philadelphia Water Department wants you to swipe right for stormwater.
Stormwater Connect matches commercial, industrial, or multi-family property owners seeking Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) — rain gardens, underground basins, green roofs, and more — with specialized vendors. PWD and app developer, Azavea, soft-launched the app last summer to raise awareness about PWD’s Stormwater Grants program.
Urban areas are made up of impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, roofs, etc.) that prevent rain, snow, and ice from soaking into the ground. Instead, that stormwater runoff picks up litter and pollutants on its way down the drain and into combined sewer systems.
These 19th-century pipes serve about 60 percent of the city’s neighborhoods. During heavy storms, these older sections overflow. As a result, billions of gallons of stormwater and diluted sewage flow into local waterways each year. GSI tools use plants, trees, and stone to soak up, filter, or evaporate stormwater runoff.
Protecting Our Waterways, One Profile at a Time
“Stormwater Connect is an app that assists vendors in making initial connections with property owners interested in the Stormwater Grants program,” says Beth Anne Lutes, PWD’s Stormwater Billing and Incentives Manager.
“Similar to an online dating profile, the tool is used to determine whether a property owner and vendor could be a good fit in pursuing a grant project together.”
Property owners make a profile with their project needs, and vendors list their specialties. Once connected and confirmed that they meet the criteria, the “team” applies for a Stormwater Grant, which could cover up to 100 percent of construction and design expenses. Once the qualified project is complete, property owners receive credits that provide significant savings on monthly stormwater fees. For instance, an owner with a one-acre property that has 21,780 sq ft of the impervious surface would save $2,006 per year (total savings before maintenance costs).
More Green Means a Better Blue
These grants help property owners, project managers, and developers by covering the costs to add or increase stormwater management on their property. Since 2012, more than 230 grants totaling more than $158 million have been awarded to incentivize GSI on non-residential properties.
Green Stormwater Infrastructure is just one of the tools laid out in the city’s Green City, Clean Waters plan. Created in 2011, the plan’s goal is to reduce the volume of stormwater pollution entering the city’s sewer system by 85 percent by 2036. To find your perfect match, download Stormwater Connect today to help build a greener future.
Photos: Philadelphia Water