Why Does Tookany – Tacony Creek Have So Much Litter?

What is it about the Tookany – Tacony Creek that causes the Creek litter in the Tacony to be so much worse than it is in the Wissahickon or  Pennypack Creeks? Excessive street litter by Philadelphia residents, inadequate street cleaning by the Streets Department, inadequate floatables control by PWD are similar through out Philadelphia. 

PWD’s Tookany – Tacony Creek Sewer System Configuration

The way PWD’s Tookany – Tacony Creek sewer system is configured causes large quantities of littered stormwater to be discharged at just a few outfalls along the Creek rather than many points along the tributaries to the Creek. This stormwater consolidation to just a few outfalls causes an excessive litter load to be dumped at a few points.This results in unsanitary, unsightly conditions that are unfair to the Tookany – Tacony Creek neighbors who happen to live near the PWD outfall or visit the Tacony Creek Park in the Friends Hospital area.

Let’s take a look at the location of PWD’s Tookany – Tacony Creek outfalls and the results of my creek trash photo surveys in the map below: (Click image to enlarge)


There is a relationship between the PWD outfall locations and the location of Tookany – Tacony Creek segments with excessive creek trash conditions. 3 segments have particularly bad  creek trash conditions:

  1. Rock Creek below PWD’s T-01 CSO
  2. Mill Run below PWD’s T-088-01 MS4 outfall
  3. Tacony Creek from Roosevelt Blvd to Friends Hospital – below PWD’s T-08 CSO

Let’s take a look at the drainage areas for the 3 outfalls s (T-01, T-088-01, T-08) with the worst downstream creek trash condition: (Click image to enlarge)


T-01’s drainage area is approximately 260 acres discharging into the very  small Rock Creek at  one point just south of Route 309 (Ogontz Ave).

T-088-01’s drainage area is approximately 450 acres discharging into the very  small Mill Run creek at one point, just east Cheltenham Ave

T-08’s drainage area is approximately 1,950 acres discharging into Tacony Creek, just north of Roosevelt Blvd. While the Tacony Creek is larger than the Rock Creek and Mill Run segments, the discharge of littered PWD stormwater from such a large area is a major cause of the creek trash problem visible from Roosevelt Blvd to Friends Hospital.

The configuration of PWD’s  sewer system contributes to the Tookany – Tacony Creek Trash problem because it carries littered stormwater flow from large areas to single points discharges along the Creek where the litter is caught along the rough banks and vegetation.

Generic City-wide PWD and Streets Department solutions will not completely solve the Tacony Creek problem. Tookany – Tacony Creek residents and Tacony Creek Park visitors need a Tookany – Tacony Creek Trash Plan need tailored to the specific issues in Tookany – Tacony Creek.

One response to “Why Does Tookany – Tacony Creek Have So Much Litter?

  1. Gratitude Connections

    Reblogged this on Talk n Trash.

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