Philadelphia’s historic Wingohocking Watershed is a large area in Northwest Philadelphia that extends roughly from Gowen St in the north to I St in the South and from Wolston Ave on the east to Germantown Ave on the west. The Creek was encased in combined sewers in the late 1800s, early 1900s to help solve gross water pollution caused by 1,000’s of homes, farms and businesses discharging raw sewage and wastewater into the local creek and its tributaries. The combined stormwater and wastewater sewers, large for their construction period, have proven to be too small by today’s standards.
In the 1920 – 30s, Logan area businesses and homeowners threated a tax revolt if something wasn’t done about the chronic flooding in the Logan area. The City responded by increasing capacity for the lower portion of the Wingohocking Watershed; unfortunately the Germantown – E Mt Airy – Ogontz area sewer capacities were not increased, resulting in our upper watershed flash flooding problems.
The City expended substantial capital costs to build the combined sewers. After spending these large sums of money, the City encouraged development in the area, including on the historic flood plains of the Wingohocking Creek. In fact, Belfield Ave and Sprague Street were built right over the former Wingohocking Creek. Today’s flash flooding is the natural flooding of the Creek during major rainstorms.
The Wingohocking watershed is the City’s largest combined sewer area, with annual discharges of 1.5 billion gallons of combined sewage to the Frankford Creek at the I St and Ramona Ave outfall, called T14 by the Water Department.
How will the City solve our flooding and combined sewage overflow problems? The City and the Germantown – E Mt Airy and Ogontz neighborhoods are at a critical juncture point where we need to adopt plans to resolve both the flash flooding and the combined sewer overflow problems. We need to learn from past Wingohocking mistakes and make sure that our decisions do not just repeat the mistakes of the past.
As a retired environmental engineer, I have been studying my watershed for years. Please join me for 2 more talks on the Wingohocking Watershed flooding and combined sewer problems and learn about available options to address both issues, either separately or in a joint – integrative approach. My goal is to inform my Germantown – E Mt Airy – Ogontz neighbors of our water problems and help all of us to understand the options we and the City have to solve them.
The May 26th (7:oo – 8:00 PM) ZOOM talks will give you the facts and information you need to understand our water challenges and opportunities and to be prepared to add your voice as the City prepares to decide the future of our watershed.