Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc. (TTF) was recently awarded a $260,788 2022 Growing Greener grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) for a stormwater retrofit project at Congregation Adath Jeshurun (AJ) in Elkins Park, Montgomery County. This watershed improvement project is one of ten Growing Greener projects in the Southeast Region that were awarded a total of $2,119,504 to aid in protecting waterways and watersheds.
The Congregation’s campus slopes toward Leech’s Run, a Tookany Creek tributary, which flows through the property’s eastern edge at the end of the parking lot. Through the Growing Greener grant, TTF will implement a set of features around the building, including the retrofit of an inlet in the parking lot to include a bioretention parking island, impervious reduction, subsurface storage, and a rain garden.
This Growing Greener project is being implemented in partnership with Cerulean Environmental and Grist Engineering consultants, both small business enterprises in the greater Philadelphia area. Susan Harris, Principal Owner of Cerulean and TTF Project Manager, will lead implementation.
“We’re excited to be working with Congregation Adath Jeshurun, a new partner, to protect our shared waterways through this Growing Greener grant. Every project provides an opportunity to manage more runoff to benefit our waterways and educate the community about the possibilities of nature-based solutions. It is wonderful that AJ is joining the local faith leaders who are already partners in stewarding our Earth,” said Julie Slavet, Executive Director of Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership.
Stormwater runoff is the primary source of water pollution in Southeastern Pennsylvania. TTF’s retrofit at AJ will reduce runoff volume, decrease infiltration, improve water quality, and assist with future flood prevention. While the project will reduce stormwater infiltration into the AJ Preschool, it will also filter and treat the water before it flows into Leech’s Run, ensuring that cleaner water flows into Tookany Creek.
“In 2021, Congregation Adath Jeshurun began a journey toward more sustainable practices for our building, operations, and personal behaviors. We assembled a group called L’olam (meaning “forever” and “for the world” in Hebrew). We signed up with Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability to qualify for the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, which we were awarded in 2022 for our implementation of sustainability and climate-centered projects in our community that will lead to a more healthful, equitable, and sustainable world for all,” stated Rav Shai Cherry, Rabbi of Congregation Adath Jeshurun.
The proposed features around the Congregation’s building will mitigate stormwater runoff in addition to representing a high-visibility project with community participation that can be replicated throughout the region.
“We completed an LED lighting upgrade, qualified our Early Learning Center as an Eco Healthy Endorsement by the Children’s Environmental Health Network, planted a pollinator garden, and re-activated our recycling. L’olam has sponsored educational programs for climate change science, the purchase of renewable energy, and water conservation in Israel. Congregation Adath Jeshurun is committed to reducing our impact on the environment and being a ‘Green Light among the Nations’,” said Rav Cherry.
Rav Cherry said, “AJ is excited about this project because it will reduce the infiltration of water into the lower level of our building, eliminating the potential for mold and structural damage. Managing the volume of stormwater from our property will reduce erosion along Leach’s Run, and contribute to the overall health of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed.”