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“Current” water musings: New Independence Seaport Museum CEO, Biden’s EPA appointments, Take Water Dept’s survey, and more
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“Current” water musings: New Independence Seaport Museum CEO, Biden’s EPA appointments, Take Water Dept’s survey, and more

Here’s what’s happening this week in Philly water news & notes

Independence Seaport Museum announces new leadership

New year, a new chief operating officer for the Independence Seaport Museum. Peter Seibert will replace retiring CEO John Brady, effective Feb. 17. Brady is expected to remain in an advisory capacity during the transition. 

Seibert, a Harrisburg native who earned his degrees at Penn State, previously served as CEO and executive director of Buffalo Bill Center, the largest museum in the state. An accomplished historical author as well, Seibert’s arrival comes as the Independence Seaport Museum is prepared to honor the centennial anniversary of the Return of the Unknown Soldier aboard cruiser ship, Olympia. 

“[The Independence Seaport Museum] is a great institution and has both extraordinary collections and wonderful stories to share with everyone, not just in the Philadelphia region but across the country and around the world,” said Seibert. “My first task will be to listen and learn from our board, staff, volunteers, and the community about their ideas for our future and then work to develop plans to bring those dreams to reality.”

Fairmount Water Works is now a National Historical Landmark that serves as an interpretive center, telling the story of water in the world. It’s said that the organization’s original director Ed Grusheski was instrumental in creating that environment. | Image courtesy: Jeff Fusco

Grusheski’s lasting impact on Fairmount Water Works

Last month, Fairmount Water Works announced the passing of its first director in Ed Grusheski, who was instrumental in transforming the organization into a leading institution when it came to the conservation and ongoing education about Philadelphia’s waterways. 

Grusheski, 74, also served on various boards, most notably the Global Water Alliance, a consortium of individuals and organizations committed to meeting United Nations goals and standards when it came to the improvement of water and sanitation around the world. 

But after reading about the life of Grusheski, we were enamored by not just his love for water but for his devotion to the quality and consistency of water here in Philadelphia. In an Inquirer obituary, Grusheski’s friend Ron Hovey was quoted as saying: 

“If you went to his home, and he loved to entertain, you would not be served bottled water, you’d get Philadelphia’s finest. And he’d tell how it was safer than bottled, which doesn’t have as many regulations on it — and no plastic goes into the ocean.”

EPA announced leaders of Biden-Harris team

Late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced departmental appointees under the Biden administration. In the Office of Water, Radhika Fox has been appointed as principal deputy assistant administrator. Fox previously served as CEO of national water policies nonprofit, US Water Alliance and also directed policy and governmental affairs for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in San Francisco. 

Locally, Temple graduate Sincere Harris joins the EPA under the Biden administration as a White House liaison after being named as Biden’s Senior Adviser in Pennsylvania in 2020. Previously, Harris worked out of Harrisburg for the Commonwealth under the role of assistant deputy for legislative affairs.

The Philadelphia Water Department wants to give you prizes for your feedback on their work. | Image courtesy: Southwest CDC Globe Times

PWD announces Customer Assistance Program Survey

In an effort to improve its outreach in communities and neighborhoods throughout the city, the Philadelphia Water Department has reintroduced this survey, with a chance for residents who complete the survey to win prizes. 

Prizes vary but perhaps the most significant is a consultation with PWD providing tips on water conservation in your home. Participation is voluntary but the survey is open to everyone 18-and-over including City workers, although those employed by the city are not eligible to win prizes. 

Taking part in the survey does opt residents into receiving emails from the city water authority, which can be unsubscribed to at any time. For more information, visit phila.gov/water.

Featured photo: Matt Fischetti for Visit Philly

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Kerith Gabriel
Kerith Gabriel started out as a sports writer over a decade ago for the Philadelphia Daily News. He left sports to focus on issues that deeply affect Philadelphians but really, he just loves telling a good story, regardless of genre. When he’s not prowling for a story, you can most likely find him playing soccer at Penn Park, or doing the dad thing around town. Email him at kerith.a.gabriel@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter via @sprtswtr. View all posts by Kerith Gabriel

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