Philadelphia is rejecting the infrastructure of tunnels and sewage treatment plants for the green capture of storm water, water department officials said.
A $1.6 billion plan will create an oasis of rain gardens, green roofs, thousands of additional trees and porous pavement among other ambitious ideas to be carried out over 20 years, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.
The new infrastructure will stall, if not absorb, the flow of billions of gallons of rainwater into the city’s sewer system — which often overwhelms the system.
The Philadelphia Water Department says the project will create jobs, increase property values, improve air quality, reduce energy use and even reduce deaths from heat stroke.
“This is the most significant use of green infrastructure I’ve seen in the country, the largest scale I’ve seen,” said Jon Capacasa, regional director of water protection for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the final say on whether the plan passes muster.
Regulators and environmental experts are still examining the 3,369-page plan, the newspaper said.