As the City of Philadelphia faces the need to manage the quality and volume of combined sewer overflow events, it must make major investments in upgrading its urban stormwater system. As a consequence, property owners face increasing stormwater bills as the city is forced to raise rates to pay for its capital investments. However, the Philadelphia Water Department has a commitment to maintain affordable rates and, therefore, has pledged to research, develop and implement Green Stormwater Infrastructure that maximizes capture and treatment of stormwater at increasingly efficient costs.
Furthermore, commercial property owners are given the option to invest in green stormwater infrastructure and receive a credit on their bills, thus saving money over the long term, while doing what’s right for the environment. Consequently, property owners need to understand their return on investment for these capital expenses, so they can make an informed decision.
The Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! national design competition seeks to generate innovative, cost-effective designs that can aid public, private and nonprofit property owners in seeing the return on capital investments, illustrate public/private partnership solutions, and serve as prototypes for green stormwater infrastructure throughout Philadelphia and the country.
The competition is composed of three design challenge categories, each of which focuses on a real urban retrofit site within a Philadelphia neighborhood: 1) Industrial: Warehouse Watershed; 2) Neighborhood: Greening the Grid; and 3) Commercial: Retail Retrofit.
The property owners (or representatives) for the three categories have an interest in pursuing the implementation of innovative green stormwater designs that may emerge from this competition. PWD is also committed to helping implement cost-effective designs for these sites. In order to increase the potential for implementation, the following questions need to be addressed: what is the cost of the initial investment; how long will it take to recover that investment; and what will the cost of maintenance be over the life of the system?
Winning designs will address these questions through the lens of innovative solutions which consider the design of a shared stormwater management system which can, at minimum cost, maximize the collection of stormwater from private and public parcels, as well as the public right of way. Two panels of jurors will choose the winning design in each of the three design challenge categories. Each winning team will receive a cash prize of $10,000.