Stormwater & Flood Prevention Program
Stormwater runoff from almost all developed areas of Southeastern Pennsylvania, whether served by separate stormwater sewers or combined sewers, is causing impairment to the streams and rivers of the region. Water bodies within the City of Philadelphia are suffering from streambank and channel erosion resulting in the exposure of sewer lines and decreased stream baseflow due to reduced groundwater recharge. PWD’s vision is one in which streams support healthy aquatic communities, meet uses designated by the State, and are reconnected to their natural floodplains where feasible.
Why Change Philadelphia’s Stormwater Management Practices?
The primary goals of Philadelphia’s stormwater management program are to prevent flooding, improve and preserve the water environment in the Philadelphia area, and to fulfill the City’s obligations under federal and state stormwater regulations. Recent studies carried out by the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds have shown that stormwater runoff from almost all the developed areas of the City, whether served by separate stormwater sewers or combined sewers, are causing impairment to the aquatic and riparian habitats of streams and rivers in Philadelphia. These water bodies are suffering from streambank and channel erosion resulting in the exposure of sewer infrastructure, and decreased stream baseflow due to reduced groundwater recharge. The streams do not support healthy aquatic communities, do not meet uses designated by the State, do not serve as amenities to the community, and occasionally cause property damage due to flooding. In addition, stormwater is an important source of pollution to the drinking water intakes on the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.
These problems are not unique to Philadelphia. Stormwater regulations are changing around the country to address these and similar problems. In general, these newer approaches to stormwater management require controls to improve the quality of stormwater prior to discharge, controls to reduce the effects of stormwater caused erosion and siltation, and measures to increase groundwater recharge. The new stormwater regulations in Philadelphia will ensure that Philadelphia has an up-to-date and effective stormwater program that can be coordinated with the changing regulations occurring in the upstream municipalities.
How Can I Meet the New Requirements?
The Philadelphia Stormwater Management Guidance Manual has been created to assist developers in meeting the requirements of the Philadelphia Stormwater Regulations. The manual is intended to lead developers through the requirements and expectations of PWD in terms of stormwater management. The manual provides guidance for the entire site design process, beginning with initial site design considerations, through the post-construction stormwater management plan submittal elements, and ultimately the acquisition of stormwater plan approval. Tools are provided to assist in completion and submittal of a stormwater management plan consistent with the intent of the City. They include flowcharts to guide the developer through the process, worksheets to assist with calculations, and checklists to ensure the plan is complete. These tools work together to address stormwater management on the development site from concept to completion.
The Manual will be updated as needed and/or new stormwater management practices (SMPs), products, technologies and engineering information becomes available. Any proprietary products mentioned in the Manual do not constitute any product endorsements by the City, and are named only as examples.
The Philadelphia Stormwater Management Guidance Manual in its entirety and in sections is available for download.
What Other Changes Have Occurred as a Result of the New Stormwater Management Regulations?
Implementing the Stormwater Management Regulations necessitated a clarification of the development review process. This led to a multi-agency effort to create a more transparent and streamlined development review process. A flowchart depicting the general steps in the Development Review Process is provided as a downloadable file, below:
Where Can I Get More Information on Stormwater Management in Philadelphia?
Contact numbers that may be of help in the development process at PWD include:
|Division||Contact Person||Phone Number|
|PWD Development Review Coordinator and Act 537||Leonard Bernstein||(215) 685-6367|
|Projects Control||Brian Mohl||(215) 685-6339|
|Water Main Records||Richard Williams||(215) 685-6270|
|Stormwater||Christine Marjoram||(215) 685-4949|
|Design||Mark Waas||(215) 685-6309|
|Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control||Jovan Como||(215) 685-6363|
|Industrial Waste Unit||Keith Houck||(215) 685-4910|