Philadelphia has announced a $1.6 billion stormwater reuse plan, according to a report by The Philadelphia Inquirer (www.philly.com). The plan would leverage rain gardens, green roofs, additional trees, porous pavement, and other techniques to absorb – or at least stall – the billions of gallons of rainwater that overwhelm the city’s sewer system every year.

The plan, devised by the Philadelphia Water Department (www.phila.gov/water/), offers a contrast to the highly engineered tunnels and sewage plant expansions cities have traditionally opted for, according to the Inquirer.

The plan is currently under review by regulators and environmental experts to determine its feasibility. The Inquirer reports that experts say the plan is based on sound and proven theory, but will be breaking new ground when regarding scale.

In Philadelphia, the Inquirer reports that stormwater is an issue because it flows through the same piping system as wastewater from residential and commercial sources. As such, the system is prone to overflow when it rains.

Like many cities, Philadelphia is under orders to come up with a plan to reduce the overflows, which amount to 14 billion gallons a year. The Inquirer reports that officials have ruled out separating the stormwater and sanitary lines, as is already the case in newer sections of the city, as this would involve reconfiguring 1,600 miles of pipes and digging up every yard and front walk.

To ready the full Inquirer report on this story, click here.