Monday, April 30, 2012

Air Quality Awareness Week

April 30th through May 4th is national Air Quality Awareness Week. For anyone who has asthma, any lung disease, diabetes, or a cardiovascular problem, the enviroflash website is useful online resource that will warn you about air quality problems that are expected in the Philadelphia area. I subscribe to the service. Once a day, it tells you - via email or Twitter - what's expected in terms of both ozone and particulates, the two major culprits for anyone who needs clean air.

It helps me plan my days. For example, if I see that tomorrow's air quality is expected to be poor (orange or red or purple), I'll plan to exercise at the Y or do calisthenics in my apartment rather than bicycling on the Schuylkill Valley Bike Path. I'll avoid walking on busy streets, because the cars and trucks spew particulates into the air on those streets in addition to whatever is already in the air. If ozone is the predicted problem, I'll avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day when possible. I pay particular attention to how my lungs feel throughout the day, and take extra meds if necessary early on, rather than risk an emergency room visit that night or the next day.

If I see that the forecast is good — clean air days are indicated in green on the report, I heave a small sigh of relief and realize that I'm likely to be better off. I find it useful and would recommend it highly to anyone who wants to track the air quality in our area.

Jeanette MacNeille

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

EPA News Release: EPA Administrator Jackson and Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Sign Landmark Green City, Clean Waters Partnership Agreement

(PHILADELPHIA – April 10, 2012) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and city and federal officials, signed an agreement that represents a $2 billion investment in Philadelphia green infrastructure during an event at the Fairmount Water Works.
Over the next 25 years, the Green City, Clean Waters partnership agreement will transform many of Philadelphia’s traditional hardened surfaces to green areas to better manage potentially harmful rainwater runoff pollution. This unique federal – city partnership is designed to ensure the success of the Green City, Clean Waters Plan and to present the plan as a national model for cities embracing green stormwater infrastructure. Green infrastructure investments make our communities cleaner, healthier, and more attractive places to live and work.

"The EPA is proud to be working in partnership to support green infrastructure advances that will lead to cleaner waters and a stronger economy for the city of Philadelphia. This city has earned a place as a national and global leader on sustainable innovation and clean water protection," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "The Green City, Clean Waters Partnership promises to lead the way for communities across the nation, which can use the lessons learned through this long-term project to protect their health, safeguard their waters and boost their economies."
EPA will provide assistance to the city in identifying and promoting higher performing green infrastructure designs, convening technical expertise from around the country to advance green designs and support a green design competition, and help remove barriers to innovation in the city’s plan. EPA will also assist on research and technical assistance, and monitoring the effectiveness and evaluating benefits of the program through cooperation on water quality monitoring and modeling work that the city has undertaken.

“The Green City Clean Waters Plan is our proposal to revitalize our rivers and streams by managing stormwater in a way that provides multiple benefits. It will result in clean and beautiful waterways, a healthier environment and increased community value. The assistance of our many and diverse regulatory and public partners makes it the most cost effective investment of its kind in the country,” said Mayor Nutter. “Where other cities are challenged by very expensive commitments for tunnels, tanks and other gray infrastructure, we have worked with the state and the EPA to take this greener, more fiscally prudent approach that will realize multiple benefits.”
The city of Philadelphia is leading the development of green strategies to manage urban stormwater runoff – the 21st century’s greatest challenge to the health of our nation’s rivers and streams. Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Plan layers green technologies modeled on natural practices on top of the city’s 3,000 mile sewer network, Philadelphia’s 20th century investment in traditional “gray” infrastructure, to capture rainwater on the surface. Capturing rainwater prevents sewer overflows containing industrial and human waste from discharging to waterways during wet weather. It will transform streets, parking lots, schools, public spaces into urban landscapes that reduce sewer overflows to our waterways while enhancing our communities.

“The signing of this monumental agreement is a transformative step for urban environmental policy in the United States,” said Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. “Philadelphia and the EPA's forward-looking collaboration on storm water runoff will help strengthen economic development, protect our drinking water and should serve as a model for cities around the country.”

Green City Clean Waters is based upon an adaptive management approach that will identify and maximize green practices that achieve the most efficient and cost effective environmental goals for the City of Philadelphia.

To view the agreement visit:

EPA: David Sternberg 215-814-5548
Philadelphia: Mark McDonald 215-686-6210