CHOP honored as Philly ‘stormwater pioneer’

 Mayor Jim Kenney congratulates CHOP officials on being named 'storm water pioneers' for 2017. (Danielle Fox for NewsWorks)

Mayor Jim Kenney congratulates CHOP officials on being named 'storm water pioneers' for 2017. (Danielle Fox for NewsWorks)

The Philadelphia Water Department recognized the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a “Pioneer in Stormwater Management” today.

Stormwater runoff is a big source of pollution affecting Philadelphia waterways, with heavy rains often overwhelming sewer systems, allowing untreated sewage to get into waterways. CHOP’s Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care features a cutting-edge green roof design that filters water during storms and provides a space for families to unwind.

Addressing CHOP executives at the rooftop ceremony, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, “CHOP incorporated the Water Department’s stormwater regulations into their overall vision for this project. Not only do these gardens capture water when it rains, but they provide families a place to rest and relax when it’s needed the most.”

The Stormwater Pioneers Program began in 2014 and honors private property owners that incorporate stormwater management into projects across Philadelphia. It’s part of the City’s 25-year “Green City, Clean Waters” plan to improve the health of local waterways. With a lush rooftop garden and ground-level plaza, The Buerger Center has about an acre of vegetation that filters rainwater during storms.

Douglas Carney, The Senior Vice President of Facilities at CHOP, said the green space contributes nothing to Philadelphia storm surge.

“Both gardens use 100 percent recycled water. We capture all the water that falls on the gardens in the buildings,” he said. “In total, it’s 114,000 gallons of water, and it’s capable of capturing 100 percent of a 100 year rain storm.”

All of the planting areas in the garden have an under soil drainage system. 36,000 gallons of rainwater is used to recycle and water the plants; the remainder is held in storage tanks until it can be released at a slower rate that won’t overtax the system.

Carney said the gardens have also provided a healing space for families and staff.

“We believe in evidence based design and we ask ourselves on everything we do: How does this contribute to the healing environment?” Carney said. “How does it make the stress levels of families lower?”

Debra McCarty, Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner, thanked the CHOP team for their efforts to protect the environment by improving water quality.

“We hope others will be inspired by their example to meet stormwater regulations in a way that serves their customers and their communities,” she said.

Past Stormwater Pioneers include Stanley’s Hardware in Roxborough and Popi’s Italian Restaurant in South Philadelphia.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.