• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

Rain Check: PWD sharing cost with residents to install stormwater management tools

We hear a lot about stormwater management infrastructure being incorporated into plans for new developments, streetscape improvements, and park projects, but did you know that homeowners can get in on the Water Department’s Green City, Clean Waters action too?

Rain Check is a cost-sharing program geared at helping individual property owners install landscape tools that reduce the amount of stormwater that goes down the drain into the sewers. (Tenants are eligible too, provided they have the property owner's permission.) The idea is to use runoff water trees and plants or to simply absorb stormwater on site.

To participate in the program, properties must be located in the city’s combined sewer area. (Check the map to see if your property is located in the gray area to determine your eligibility.)

[UPDATED 5/31/13] The deadline to sign up for Rain Check is Saturday, June 1, but PWD's Maggie Wood said applications will be considered after that date until there are 350 participants.  All you need in order to sign up is the account number from your water bill and to answer a couple of questions about the kinds of projects you’d consider at your house. The menu of stormwater tools includes: downspout planters planted with native plants (see above), rain gardens, a yard tree, de-paving, or installing permeable paving. Rain barrels are not offered under the Rain Check program, but are provided through a different PWD program.

After you apply, here’s how it works: The Water Department will send a specialist to evaluate the outside of your house to determine which stormwater tools might work best. These assessments will take place on a rolling basis between July 2013-July 2014. Based on those recommendations, you choose which tools you would like to install. PWD, with support from the Energy Coordinating Agency, will help cover some of the cost of installing your chosen stormwater tool. 

Here's a breakdown of typical costs and how much PWD will cover:

  • Downspout planter: PWD will pay $875 and homeowners pay $100.
  • De-paving: Typically costs about $10 per square foot. PWD will pay $8 per square foot or $2000, whichever is lower. Homeowners must pay the rest. A contractor will visit the property and give an estimate.
  • Porous paving: Typically costs about $30 per square foot. PWD will pay $15 per square foot or $2,000, whichever is lower. Homeowners must pay the other half. A masonry contractor will visit the property and give an estimate.
  • Rain gardens: Typically cost about $17 per square foot. PWD will cover $16 per square foot or up to $2000, whichever is lower. Homeowners must pay the remainder. A landscape contractor will visit the property and give an estimate.
  • Yard tree: PWD will pay $100, homeowners pay $50.
 

For more information about Rain Check and other PWD programs, visit phillywatersheds.org and sign up online.


View Combined Sewer Service Area in a larger map

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.


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