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14 Years of Helping to Manage Stormwater in Philadelphia

10.11.2022

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) launched its parcel-based stormwater billing program in 2010. This program was designed to more equitably charge customers for stormwater management costs incurred by PWD by basing the stormwater charge on both the total property size and amount of impervious surface area. The program also encourages better stormwater management on private property by allowing commercial property owners to reduce their bill by implementing infrastructure that reduces the amount of run-off that enters the stormwater system. The program was rolled into PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, which was launched in 2011.

Azavea has been involved with this program since 2008, building a variety of applications to support the program, PWD customers, and the public-at-large.

Credit and Appeals Tracker

The first tool we built for a PWD was an internal system to manage applications to the credits and appeals programs. This internal software is used every day by PWD staff to track these applications through the review process and was in place before the program went live in 2010.

Parcel Viewer

Photo Attribution: Justin Wolfe via the Philadelphia Water Department Parcel Viewer websitehttps://stormwater.phila.gov/parcelviewer/

When the stormwater billing program first launched, we also built a public-facing application that allowed customers to view a map of their property, the factors that go into calculating their stormwater bill, and the stormwater bill calculation itself. The initial version has since been retired and a new version was deployed several years ago.

Credits Explorer

Launched in 2015 to help customers who were interested in implementing stormwater management best practices, this tool allows customers to draw infrastructure on their property. It then provides an estimate of how much the customer’s stormwater bill will be reduced by implementing the infrastructure. You can learn more about this application by reading a case study we put together with the WaterNow Alliance.

Stormdrain Markings

Two circular graphics stating "keep it clean!" and then information to report dumping or clocks. One of the graphics has a fish icon and says "Drains to Delaware River" and the other has an otter icon and says "Drains to Schuylkill River". These are stormdrain markings designed by the Philadelphia Water Department.

In an effort to educate Philadelphians on stormwater management, PWD started a program for volunteer groups to place new markers on storm drains in 2019. Azavea supported this program by building an application to track the marker status of each storm drain as well as to manage the volunteer marking events. You can see more of the watershed-specific markers here.

Stormwater Connect

Launched this past July, Stormwater Connect is the latest application we built for PWD. The application supports PWD’s Stormwater Incentives Program by bringing together customers who are interested in stormwater management infrastructure with vendors who are capable of implementing these changes on their property. Customers can fill out a profile of management practices they are interested in. Vendors who offer those services can see which customers are interested and get in touch with these customers. Read more about the program on PWD’s blog.

Azavea looks forward to continuing our partnership with PWD and we are proud of our contributions to the Green City, Clean Waters program. Through these programs, more than 2,800 stormwater management practices have been built across the city, which keeps more than 2.7 billion gallons of water out of Philadelphia’s rivers. We are excited to help PWD increase the impact of this program.