Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) recently completed a tide gate replacement project on Tinicum Outfall by the Delaware River just beyond the perimeter of PHL’s western boundary in Tinicum Township. The project benefits Tinicum Township residents by reducing the risk of flooding in their community, while improving critical infrastructure for the airport.
“This was an important project for the Division of Aviation and Tinicum Township,” said Api Appulingam, Deputy Director of Aviation, Capital Development. “We recognized the Township’s flooding concerns and developed a plan to improve critical infrastructure elements. We completed a Hydrologic & Hydraulics study within the outfall watershed to determine mitigation measures. The proposed improvements couldn’t have been completed without the collaboration between stakeholders, which was crucial in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m grateful for their efforts.”
The new installations consist of manually operated Waterman Canal Gates along with a Tide Flex Checkmate Valve and are designed to regulate tidal flushing with no major hydrology or gradient change to the existing channel bed. Since the gates can be operated by hand, the flow rate can be adjusted as needed or shut down during emergencies. When the upstream head reaches a certain limit, the valve progressively opens with increased head flow. When the back pressure exceeds the in-line pressure, the valve will close.
In addition to the gates, the project also included new trash guard installation, pipe repair and stabilization of slopes with grouted rip-rap.
The airport collaborated with several agencies, consultants and contractors on the project including the Federal Aviation Administration, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Conrail, Delaware County Conservation District, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Tinicum Township Engineers, Pat Quigley and Associates, RS&H Inc., and Atlantic Subsea Inc.
During a post-construction conference call, Herb MacCombie, Tinicum Township’s Engineer, expressed his gratitude to PHL for protecting the upstream residents of Tinicum Township from potential flooding.