A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Return to the Womb Tour

Following a visit to the original Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago (Amman, Jordan), I am visiting  Philadelphia, PA to check out the birthplace of the modern US water industry - the Fairmount Water Works.  Fairmount boasts the first municipal water works in the US. This is a beautiful place to visit on the shore of the Schuylkill River at the foot of the hill where the Philadelphia Art Museum is now located (built on the former water storage reservoirs for Philadelphia).

The interpretive center for the water works is simply excellent. It chronicles the history of the water system which was built to deal with Yellow Fever. The water works were constructed to be more than just the water treatment plant on the outskirts of town like most US water treatment plants. No, this place was literally a destination resort. Consider the commemorative plate collection. When was the last time you saw your water/wastewater treatment plant embellishing a plate hung on a wall? Would make a nice companion for those commemorative presidential plates.

Philadelphia is proud of their water legacy. They even tackle the issue of tap water versus bottled water with aplomb. While the Fairmount water works are no longer in use, the interpretative center does a great job of linking watershed protection and their current drinking water supply.  They describe floods on the Schuylkill river dating back to the late 1700s that are linked to deforestation. Nothing really changes with land use and drinking water through time that is for certain.

There are so many things to see and do at the interpretative center, including some excellent hiking trails, again linked to the concept of clean water as a destination resort as opposed to an industrial facility. But what is the linkage to greywater you ask? Yes, greywater is even addressed, but one has to visit the WC to see the goods.

Put this place on your *must see* when you visit the City of Brotherly Love. It is much better than the Rocky statue or LOVE park.
* * *
The streets are safe in Philadelphia, 
it's only the people who make them unsafe.
~Former Mayor Frank Rizzo

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