Tag Archives: TTF Watershed

Why is Tacony Creek Trash Worse than Wissahickon and Pennypack?

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 the entire City. 

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. The result is an unsanitary, unsightly situation that is 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)
Slide1

There is a relationship between the PWD outfalls and the Tookany – Tacony Creek segments with excessive creek trash conditions, with 3 segments having the worst 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 (T-01, T-088-01, T-08) with the worst downstream creek trash condition:

(Click image to enlarge)

Tacony_vulnerable_outfalls

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.

PWD’s Green City, Clean Water’s program will help but will not completely solve the Tacony Creek trash problem. Tookany – Tacony Creek residents and Tacony Creek Park visitors need a Tookany – Tacony Creek Trash Plan tailored to the specific issues in Tookany – Tacony Creek.

Documenting Role of PWD Outfalls on TTF Creek Trash

Visit this page to see documentation on TTf Creek trash problem.
KOD_Report_covers

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How I Determined That PWD Outfalls Are Major TTF Creek Trash Source

One year investigation  in one chart….
How_to

You can find complete documentation on my learning curve here.

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)

Slide1

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)

Tacony_vulnerable_outfalls

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.

Time to Rebrand PWD’s Stormwater Program!

Philadelphia is becoming an oasis of rain gardens, green roofs, treescapes, and porous pavements. Source: StormwaterPa

PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters (GC,CW) is a wonderful program that will help clean our waterways and improve many of our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, GC,CW does not address street litter, a major stormwater pollution problem in the Tookany-Tacony Creek (here, here, here).

Philadelphia’s stormwater inlets are trapped so that some of the street dirt and litter is captured in the inlets which are cleaned by PWD staff. Some of the street litter, especially plastic bags and food wrapper, pass through the inlet traps and wind up in small creeks like the Tookany – Tacony Creek where they are caught by natural trash traps (link).

PWD and many others (TTF Watershed, StormwaterPa to name just 2) are doing a great job raising awareness to our stormwater problems and progress is being made. Street litter, the orphan of stormwater management, is not being discussed, mentioned or addressed  by these hardworking people. Why?

Street litter is a tough, tough problem that has been with us for decades, make that centuries. We have our clean neighborhoods and our littered neighborhoods.  If you live in the Wissahickon watershed, you have a clean creek. If you live in the Tacony, you have a littered creek. Upstream litter leads to creek litter.

Removing creek trash from the Tookany – Tacony Creek requires more than stormwater flow reductions, it requires litter and flow reductions. PWD could build on its impressive GC,CW program roll-out by adding CLEAN to the tag line. It’s time for PWD to shift to the City’s real mission:

Clean_GCCW_3

Creek View of Storm Water Trash in Tacony Creek

Too much of Philadelphia’s  street litter passes through PWD’s storm sewers and is discharged to our creeks and rivers.  This slideshow gives you a Creek View of storm water litter in Tacony Creek from Roosevelt Blvd to Friends Hospital as seen on 9/23/13.

Click any slide to start. Use Escape Key to return to Blog. Follow photo location on map. Use arrow to advance slides. arrow 

Tacony Creek Trash: Roosevelt Blvd to Friends Hospital, Are We Making Progress?

There has been a great deal of volunteer clean up activity along Tacony Creek, particularly between Roosevelt Blvd and Friends Hospital.  Trash around the Whitiaker Ave  Bridge over the Creek, the focus of several cleanups, is better than a year ago.

What about Tacony Creek? Is it any better than a year ago? I’m not so sure that it is any better even though there has been extensive efforts to remove trash by PWD, TTF, Scattergood Foundation, United by Blue and others.

Here is a slideshow of my 9/23/13 photo trash tour along the Creek.

Tookany – Tacony Creek Trash Update: 7/16/13

update_7_16_13_final_1

You can view a PowerPoint slideshow of the update here: update_7_16_13_slide_show

Rock Creek Trash Debris Jam Movement

Rock Creek Debris Jam: 3/15/13

Rock Creek Debris Jam: 3/15/13

Rock Creek Debris Jam: 6/6/13

Rock Creek Debris Jam: 6/6/13

Cheltenhams’s Rock Creek is a tributary to Tookany Creek which in turn is a tributary to the Tacony Creek.  I have written several posts about how Philadelphia and Cheltenham litter ends up in Rock Creek (hereherehere).

Trash from Philadelphia Water Department’s T-01 CSO outfall and the Cheltenham malls gets caught on rocks, bank vegetation and debris jams. These 2 photos show what happened to the Rock Creek debris jam just downstream of Ogontz Ave between March and June of this year.

I’m not sure how the debris jam was cleared, high water flow or a work crew? Either way, creek trash that was being caught in the jam will now flow farther downstream to the next snag point.

Here’s a slide show of the photos so that you can compare March and June photos.

Potential Role of PWD Outfalls in Tookany – Tacony Creek Trash Problem

Have you ever wondered why the Wissahickon Creek is so clan and the Tacony Creek is so dirty?

watershed_comparison

After conducting numerous field surveys, I’m beginning to understand the Tookany – Tacony Creek trash situation. I’ve found 10 Philadelphia Water Department stormwater outfalls with evidence of  trash in the outfall channel or immediately downstream of the outfall, making hte outfall a suspect for trash discharge to the Tookany – Tacony Creek.

This pdf documents my concerns about the discharge of floatable trash from PWD outfalls:  Potential_role_of_10_outfalls