Baxter Water Treatment Plant Meadows

Clear Well Meadow Rehabilitation

At Philadelphia's Baxter Water Treatment Plant, a meadow installation protects 65 acres of underground, clear-water storage vaults. It also benefits stormwater management, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity along the Delaware River and Delaware Estuary Complex.

At this site, a 35-year history of inattention allowed heavyweight, woody vegetation to become established. This vegetation, much of it invasive, was compromising the structural integrity of the vaults, making a lightweight cover essential.

SED Design developed a meadow plant community concept, an implementation strategy and an ongoing management strategy for the Philadelphia Water Department. Selected native warm-season grasses and wildflowers are adapted to the site conditions and provide superior natural value and reduced maintenance costs compared to the turf alternative. Because of drinking water concerns, the implementation and ongoing management plans succeed without the use of herbicides.

This lightweight meadow implementation effectively protects the vaults while providing economic, ecological and aesthetic benefits.