Tag Archives: Green City Clean Waters

Trash along Delaware River

Here is a link to an excellent 10/5/14 Courier-Post article on trash along the Delaware Riverfront  (link).

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Tidal Delaware River Stormwater Plastic Trash Survey

I have been surveying stormwater plastic trash along the banks of Philadelphia area creeks and rivers to assess the impact of Philadelphia’s street litter on our receiving waters. My overall survey plan is shown in this map:

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This post reports on photo surveys of site 4 (General Pulaski Park) and site 5 (Penn Treaty Park).

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General Pulaski Park,  with its very limited river front, has stormwater trash  in the southeast corner of the Park along the river front, as shown in this photo.

Photo by Kelly O'Day

Penn Treaty Park is a 9.7 acre waterfront park with nearly 1,100 feet of accessible river front that can be viewed during low tide.

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Stormwater Plastic in Tacony Creek Park

Slideshow showing how Philadelphia street litter makes its way to Tacony Creek Park and the Tacony Creek. Press icon at lower right to see slides full size.

Here’s a short video of the Litter Walk from Points A to B.

 

Tidal Schuylkill Banks Trash Assessment @ Bartram’s Garden

United By Blue is a wonderful local Philadelphia company that is working hard to cleanup creek – river trash. Bartram’s Garden, along the Schuylkill River, has been one of their  cleanup sites so I decided to check out the bank trash for myself.

I 1st visited Bartram’s  on 8/10 and made a repeat visit on 9/3. Here is a slide show of my bank trash findings along the Bartram’s Garden’s 3,000 foot stretch of tidal Schuylkill River bank.
(Click any slide to start show. Press x in upper left corner to return to post)

PDF available here.

Yes Philadelphia, in addition to the Tacony-Frankford Creek, we have a Schuylkill River trash problem. Plastic bottle-food wrappers-food container litter is being carried to the River by run-off during rain storms upstream of Philadelphia and in the City.

Our plastic trash is building up on our shore lines and in the N Atlantic gyre.

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Plastic street litter is a serious water pollution problem that we must through product controls, litter prevention, street cleaning and waterway cleanups. Right now we are losing the fight against marine debris.

 

Philadelphia Litter Walk

Philadelphia has a litter problem that causes water pollution problems in our local creeks, Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers as well as Delaware bay and Atlantic Ocean. Click this image to see how much litter accumulates in 95 feet of Philadelphia streets.

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This litter photo survey was taken in the 6100 block of E Godfrey street near Adams Ave & Cresentville Road on 9/9/14.

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I counted 155 pieces of litter in this 95 foot stretch of E Godfrey St. Count them yourself and see how many pieces you find.

Into the Gyre Film Screening – Sept. 6

The Sea Education Association (SEA) has been studying plastic accumulation in the North  Atlantic for many years. Into the Gyre is a 44 minute documentary about a 5 week expedition to the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre, east of Bermuda. This brief trailer gives a taste for the full documentary.

Pa Senator Daylin Lynch is holding a free film screening and panel discussion of Into the Gyre on Saturday, September 6 from 10:45 – noon at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. RSVP information on this event notice.

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Atlantic Ocean Plastic Trash Patch and Philadelphia’s Stormwater Trash

Philadelphia stormwater carries much of the City’s plastic street litter to our local creeks, Delaware River, Delaware Bay and some of it makes it all the way to the North Atlantic Garbage Patch. This map of plastic concentrations in the North Atlantic has been constructed from 6136 surface tows conducted by the Sea Education Association (SEA) from 1986 to 2008. Dr. Kara Law’s Sept. 3, 2010 Science article is available here. (Phila. location added to original for geographic reference)

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This map shows the variation and extent of plastic debris accumulation in the North Atlantic. Some areas have 0 pieces per square kilometer (km2) while other areas have levels of 50,000 – 100,000 pieces /km2. Oceanographers attribute much of the variation to differences in ocean current velocities as shown in this map of near real time currents available here.

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This map shows color coded ocean current velocities, with blue colors near 0 meters/ sec and red for fast currents of 1 meter/sec. The impact of the Gulf Stream is quite apparent and numerous low velocity eddy areas are also apparent.

If you look at the SEA map you will see a black contour line  which is the 2 cm per second contour of the 10-year (1993 to 2002) mean surface circulation velocity. 2 cm  per second (equivalent to 0.045 miles per hour), is a very slow velocity which enables plastic debris accumulation in these low velocity eddy areas.

SEA estimates that the Atlantic plastic patch has 800 million pieces of plastic with a low end gross weight estimate of 1,210 tons (2.4 million pounds).

What is Philadelphia’s contribution to the N Atlantic plastic trash patch?

We don’t know. We do now that Philadelphia street litter plastic makes its way to the Tookany-Tacony-Frankford Creek (link, link, link) , Schuylkill  and Delaware Rivers based on visual evidence along the creek-river banks.  We know the New Jersey and Delaware River communities downriver of Philadelphia  have trash problems along their waterfronts and we know that plastic has a very long life in the marine environment, so that it is logical to assume that some of Philadelphia’s plastic litter is contributing to the N Atlantic plastic patch.

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Phila CSO’s Hurt Tacony Frankford More Than Other Receiving Waters

The Tookany-Tacony-Frankford Creek has proportionately more CSO discharges  than any other City receiving water.  This recent Philadelphia CSOCast map snapshot hows that 6 CSOs overflowed to the small TTF Creek in the prevous 24 hours compared to 6 each for the much larger Delaware and  Schuylkill Rivers and 4 to the small Cobbs-Darby Creek.

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Philadelphia is dumping excessive stormwater trash to the small, challenged TTF and Cobbs-Darby creeks.

Philadelphia Stormwater Runoff Dumps Street Litter in our Creeks

Here’s a close up view of how Philadelphia street litter is polluting our creeks and rivers. (link)

photosynth

You can see my other TTF photosynths here.

Philadelphia’s 1995 Litter – Creek Trash Mistaken Impression and Today’s Street Litter

Philadelphia, as part of Appendix C of the PaDEP-Philadelphia 6/1/11 Consent Order and Agreement (COA), is required to continue implementing EPA’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Nine Minimum Controls (NMC) (link), including NMC #7 Pollution Prevention Programs to Reduce Contaminants in CSOs.

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EPA’s 1995 CSO NMC Guidance document (Chapter 8) outlines 10 nonstructural options that EPA encouraged CSO cities to consider in addressing solids and floatables pollution prevention. These 10 NMC #7 techniques are:

  • Street Cleaning (more frequent in high litter areas)
  • Public Education Programs
  • Solid Waste Collection and Recycling (including trash receptacles, more frequent pick-ups in litter problem areas)
  • Product Ban/ Substitution (fast food packaging)
  • Control of Product Use
  • Illegal Dumping
  • Bulk Refuse Disposal
  • Hazardous Waste Collection
  • Water Conservation
  • Commercial/ Industrial Pollution Prevention

PHL_1995 _cover Continue reading