On Thursday, April 22nd, 2021, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) celebrated the Fifth Annual Excellence in Green Stormwater Infrastructure Awards. The ceremony is a way to recognize and honor the projects and people that make the environmental, social, and economic benefits of green infrastructure possible. This year was a special occasion, as we celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Green City, Clean Waters, Philadelphia’s nationally renowned green infrastructure plan.

Industry leaders, partners, project planners and stakeholders from across the region gathered virtually this year to celebrate the achievements of green stormwater infrastructure projects and the people that came together to make it all happen. This year, the focus was on recognizing excellence in GSI Public Projects, Innovation, and a new Best of Green City, Clean Waters Award that recognizes past and present public or private green stormwater infrastructure projects that exemplify the environmental, social, and economic goals of Green City, Clean Waters. The final results were all determined by public online polls, with the winners being announced during the ceremony.

Tonight’s finalists and their projects show how green infrastructure can benefit both the environment and our economy while instilling equity within our communities.”

­-Andrew Sawyers, Director of the Office of Wastewater Management U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Andrew Sawyers EPA Headshot

Andrew Sawyers, Environmental Protection Agency

ACF Environmental, Ferguson Waterworks, and Fabco Industries were honored with the award for Excellence in Green Stormwater Infrastructure Innovation for the Green City Inlet Filter StormSack made specifically for Philadelphia Water Department (PWD).

When the City of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program was looking for a solution to manage tens of thousands of acres of impervious areas through the implementation of decentralized green stormwater infrastructure system, they turned to one of Fabco’s leading stormwater innovation partners, ACF Environmental/Fergson Waterworks, who was then tasked by PWD to design a series of inlet filter devices to overcome the challenges of the past. The new unit needed to have improved durability and performance to meet both design and maintenance goals.

fabco industries stormsack bmp geotextile stormwater filter bag wide angle

PWD StormSack Ready for Installation

As the project got started in 2018, one of the first developments from this collaborative effort between ACF Environmental/Ferguson Waterworks and the team at Fabco Industries was an innovative filter bag. It featured a unique two-stage, geotextile filter bag that combined the high treatment flow rates required in the streets of Philadelphia with extreme strength for long life and effective maintenance. With this game changing filter bag in hand, the focus of the team shifted to the physical drain inlets where the bags would be installed. New supporting frames, hardware and mounting systems would be needed to install and hold these unique filter bags in the complex system of storm drain inlets to maximize effectiveness.

With many years of first-hand experience, ACF Environmental contacted Fabco Industries for help. As an industry leader in catch basin insert products and a proponent of decentralized treatment methods, Fabco saw this as an opportunity and began to conceptualize its plans.  How could a frame be constructed to support the weight of the new bags while remaining light enough to lift by maintenance crews? How would the frame be anchored for both strength and easy maintenance? How would the design deal with drain size variations? These questions led the engineers and design team at Fabco to see a product that did not yet exist.

Guided by the work done by ACF Environmental and PWD’s long term experience as well as following the standards set by GSI and Fabco’s engineers, designers and fabricators delivered a family of three simple insert filters that met the design parameters of the project.

Using feedback from all members of the team, including feedback from key program maintenance consultants like AKRF, we developed a safer, more efficient process for inlet maintenance by producing a high-performance, long-lasting and cost-effective set of inlet filters,” said Rob Woodman, National Manager of Urban Green Infrastructure, Ferguson Waterworks/ACF Environmental.

Collaboration is a crucial element of innovation.”

Rob Woodman Headshot

Rob Woodman, ACF Environmetal/Ferguson Waterworks

The new PWD StormSack catch basin insert filter units are now used by PWD maintenance for in-house and sub-contracted maintenance related activities in existing green stormwater infrastructure assets, specified by local design engineers, and installed by site work contractors for projects on the street and public park retrofit projects.