DAILY GRINDER: Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You About the City’s Crumbling Sewer System

Another of the city’s water mains has broken. This time, it’s on Ridge and Manayunk avenues in Manayunk. But hey, don’t say we didn’t warn you, Philly. Remember when we told you, like, three years ago that the city’s sewer system was crumbling? No? Oh. Well, we wrote about it in a Sept. 23, 2009, cover story.

Philadelphia’s sewers can no longer handle the demands of this urban sprawl. The combined system, which was designed more than a century ago, has reached its limit and threatens to wreak environmental havoc on our water supply. Heavy rains over time have inundated the sewers and when swollen to capacity, they spew raw sewage into streets, streams and basements throughout the city, causing flooding.

It’s a problem environmentalists and property owners have long wrestled with, and now a higher authority, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has stepped in and handed down some commandments to deal with the pressing issue: Thou shalt reverse the devastation wrought by widespread development, and thou shalt do so in 20 years. With limited federal funding.

In response to EPA demands, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has unleashed an ambitious $1.6 billion proposal to turn city streets into “green” stormwater-conservation machines.

Hey, speaking of $1.6 billion, whatever happened to that proposal, eh? We encourage you to contact the Philadelphia Water Department at 215.685.6300 for more information.

Residents across the country are hiring private security to deal with scaled-back police budgets. In the Frankford section of our own city, the Daily News reports, residents are patrolling with cuffs, guns and uniforms. That’s what you gotta do when the murder rate is at 215, and we’ve got half a year to go. Hey, remember when PPD Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey got a raise? Just sayin’. [Philadelphia Daily News]

Republicans in swing states are UP IN ARMS over voter fraud … which, by the way, HAS NEVER BEEN PROVEN TO BE A SERIOUS ISSUE IN THIS COUNTRY. We’ve reported this before, of course. But now that CNN is reporting on it, it is really, really true, people. On last night’s episode of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed a clip of CNN reporting that Pennsylvania, which is currently battling its voter-ID law in court, admits there is no evidence to prove that “in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID Law.” Seriously, this law makes us feel like we’re taking crazy pills.

Take it away, Jon:

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3 Responses to “ DAILY GRINDER: Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You About the City’s Crumbling Sewer System ”

  1. Just a quick clarification. The sewer system is different than the fresh water distribution system (water mains) that you are referencing. Mains bring clean water to your house, sewers take waste water away from the house and street to be treated (then released back into the rivers).

    The 1.6 million dollar plan (Green City, Clean Waters) is focused on the sewer system, and is building off of the very strong foundation of traditional pipes, inlets, etc… As areas develop and urbanize, these systems need to be expanded to handle the increased capacity. Instead of expanding underground, PWD has decided to use a primarily green approach to increase the capacity of the system. This approach was formally approved by the PA DEP in 2011 and is a year into implementation. Check out the big green map to see planned and built projects related to this investment. http://www.phillywatersheds.org/biggreenmap

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