Water Sources: Southeastern PA
Depending on where you live, your water is provided by Philadelphia Water Authority, Pennsylvania American Water Company or Aqua Pennsylvania. Below, source information for all water authorities. PAW and PWD both post a Position Paper on Industrial Gas Drilling on their websites. AquaPA, however, remains decidedly mum on the subject.
The Philadelphia Water Department
The Philadelphia Water Department and Water Revenue Bureau serve the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater services. The utility’s primary mission is to plan for, operate, and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively. PWD has three water treatment plants that process untreated river water.
Depending on where you live, you receive drinking water from one of these plants. The Queen Lane Plant is located in East Falls and its water comes from the Schuylkill River. Its intake is located along Kelly Drive. The Belmont Plant is located in Wynnefield and its water also comes from the Schuylkill River. Its intake is located along Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The Baxter Plant is located in Torresdale and its water comes from the Delaware River. Its intake is located at the plant on the Delaware River.
Excerpted from the PWD White Paper (February 2011):
Natural Gas Drilling – because it is a new technology in the Delaware River Basin with still evolving regulations around all aspects of water quality protection – has our full attention. At this point in time, we believe that the current regulatory framework, if enforced, is adequate to protect our water supply from immediate threats. We are watching, monitoring and evaluating upstream activities.If something appears to be immanently dangerous to our water supply, we will raise alarms.
The Water Department has communicated and is in continual discussion with the Envirnmental Protection Agency (EPA), the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), and the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) concerning our water supply concerns relating to Marcellus Shale drilling. We have shard with our regulating partners that we expect complete respect by the natural gas industry of current and future regulations designed to protect our water resources and public health.
However, the longterm impacts from drilling on the water quality of the Delaware Basin are not well understood. In particular, the impacts of wastewater discharge on drinking water quality – even under the improved regulations under the state’s wastewater treatment requirements – are not known. With this in mind,PWD is requesting the following actions before drilling is allowed to take place in the basin.
- Advanced notification of accidents and spills relating to Marcellus Shale (i.e., a commitment by all dischargers, facilities and transporters of wastewater from fracturing to join Delaware Valley Early Warning System).
- Baseline monitoring to observe long-term impacts with funding support from the gas industry.
- No discharges of wastewater from fracturing above Philadelphia’s intakes on the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.
- Restoration and reforestation of all lands that are impacted by gas drilling and related activities, including access roads, when drilling is complete, as required on state game lands and forests.
- A cumulative impact study of the long-term implications of natural gas drilling for Philadelphia’s drinking water supply.
- A task force to help guide items 1-5. The task force should represent a diversity of stakeholders including the gas industry.
- A commitment by DEP and DRBC to consider the recommendations from the cumulative impact study and update regulations accordingly.
Rest assured, we will continue to be a leader in watershed protection and to uphold our pledge to our citizens to provide them with safe, top quality drinking water and to protect and preserve the water resources of our region.
The Pennsylvania American Water Company
Founded in 1886 as the American Water Works & Guarantee Company, American Water has been serving customers and communities for 125 years, and is the parent company to our nineteen state subsidiaries serving approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada.
Water Treatment Procedures: Water withdrawn from the Schuylkill River is coagulated, settled, filtered, and disinfected with chlorine prior to distribution to customers. Drinking water quality meets or exceeds all state or federal requirements. In addition, the Norristown Water Treatment Plant participates in the Partnership for Safe Waterprogram. This program is an intensive voluntary program nationwide by water suppliers that strives for optimized water quality well beyond that required by State and Federal agencies. SOURCE: http://www.amwater.com/paaw
Local Source Water Intakes: The source of water for the Pennsylvania American Water Company ‘s Phoenixville Municipal Water Works is surface water from the Schuylkill River. An average of three million gallons is withdrawn from the river per day. The Schuylkill River Water Intake serves approximately 16,600 customers in Montgomery and Chester counties. The water supply intake is located in the Schuylkill River just upstream from the mouth of the French Creek near Phoenixville. Approximately 1,218 square miles of land covering portions of 11 counties including large sections of Berks, Schuylkill, Montgomery, and Chester counties drain into the river upstream from the intake. The land upstream of the intake is 52% forested/greenspace, 37 % agricultural, and 11 % developed. Approximately three million people live in the Schuylkill River Watershed.
The source of water for the Pennsylvania American Water Company’s Norristown Water Treatment Plant is surface water from the Schuylkill River. Up to 18 million gallons is withdrawn from the river per day. The water system serves approximately 81,000 customers in the City of Norristown and various parts of Montgomery County. The water supply intake is withdrawn from the pool created by the Norristown Dam on the Schuylkill River at Norristown. Approximately 1,800 square miles of land covering portions of 11 counties including large sections of Berks, Schuylkill, Montgomery, and Chester Counties drain into the river upstream from the intake. The land upstream of the intake is 47% forested/greenspace, 38 % agricultural, and 14 % developed. Approximately 3 million people live in the Schuylkill River Watershed. Water Quality and Treatment Information
Pennsylvania American Water Position on Marcellus Shale Drilling
Pennsylvania American Water understands the significant potential that the Marcellus Shale gas formation represents for the citizens of Pennsylvania. Economic opportunity for communities, well-paying jobs, independence from foreign oil and an affordable energy source are important benefits, and Pennsylvania American Water joins others who want to see gas drilling successfully deliver these benefits. However, the opportunities must be balanced with concern for the environment, especially the state’s drinking water resources.
Therefore, we believe that appropriate protections are necessary, so that gas-drilling companies and associated industries act responsibly and strictly adhere to all federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. Without strict protection and regulatory compliance, water supply and quality could be adversely affected, placing the financial risk and burden on Pennsylvania American Water and its customers for additional measures to address drilling’s effects.
Pennsylvania American Water is committed to providing quality, reliable water service to customers and will do everything in its power to prevent the degradation of our sources of drinking water. On a daily basis, our certified plant operators monitor the raw source water at our treatment facilities. In addition, where drilling is proposed near tributaries that supply our primary water sources, we conduct water sampling on a frequent basis to establish baseline data prior to any drilling activity.
Pennsylvania American Water relies on regulatory agencies, such as the DEP, Delaware River Basin Commission and Susquehanna River Basin Commission, to review permit requests from gas drillers and to properly allocate both surface and groundwater sources to all users within the basin, so that ample quantities of water are available for all users.
Pennsylvania American Water strongly supports the need for greater transparency and information-sharing in regard to Marcellus Shale drilling permits. Current laws and regulations do not provide for water suppliers to be alerted or have the opportunity to provide input during the review of permits in close proximity to our sources of supply. We have publicly supported the need for regulations and/or legislation that notifies and enables water suppliers to express comments and concerns – during the permit review process — about the potential impact on water sources.
Furthermore, we have met with and provided input to legislators on provisions to help protect drinking water sources. These recommendations include setback requirements, prohibition of drilling under reservoirs, and mandated emergency response and contingency plans in place before drilling occurs. We have also recommended to DEP that water source replacement plans be submitted as part of the permit application process.
In the meantime, we are staying in close communication with DEP personnel and monitoring media reports to understand where drilling might occur in our watersheds. Pennsylvania American Water will continue to work cooperatively with regulatory agencies, legislators and municipalities to ensure that proper safeguards are in place to protect our water resources. Again, Pennsylvania American Water realizes that the Marcellus Shale gas reserves offer significant positive economic potential, but we must strike the right balance by ensuring that this opportunity can be achieved while protecting the environment for the next generation of Pennsylvanians.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water utilities serving almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Maine, Missouri, New York, and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.
Aqua strives to provide its customers with quality, reliable water service. As part of this service, Aqua expanded its wastewater capabilities to better serve its growing customer base. In 2005, Aqua Wastewater Management Inc. was formed when Aqua America acquired Concord Wastewater Services and Golden mechanical Inc. These new, unregulated businesses gave Aqua the ability to use its own sludge hauling and collection system maintenance services for its wastewater treatment facilities in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The following year, the company completed several acquisitions, the largest being Perna Wastewater Management. This acquisition made Aqua the largest wastewater and septage hauling company in eastern Pennsylvania. In 2007, Aqua expanded its service territory to five states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland) serving thousands of residential, industrial, commercial and municipal clients.
Water Treatment Procedures: Source water is coagulated, settled, filtered, and disinfected with chlorine prior to distribution to customers.
Local Source Water Intakes: According to Aqua’s 2009 Main Division Water Quality Report, “Main Division” water is pulled from “rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs springs, and wells. Source water assessments were completed in 2002 and 2003 for the Chester, Ridley, Crum, Pickering, Perkiomen, and Neshaminy creeks, the Schuylkill River, and wells in the Main Division.” Contaminants that may be present in source water include: Microbial Contaminants… Inorganic contaminants such as salts and metals… Pesticides and Herbicides… Organic Chemical Compounds, including synthetic and volatile organic compounds… RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINANTS, which can be naturally occurring (radon) or the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.
AquaPA Position on Marcellus Gas Drilling
While Aqua holds no official position on Marcellus Shale drilling, they appear to be in favor of drilling and eager toreap the economic benefits of accepting and treating frack wastewater.
“Many historic small towns across Pennsylvania are experiencing an economic resurgence due to Marcellus Shale exploration,” Aqua Pennsylvania President Karl Kyriss said. “Having a modern infrastructure, especially a dependable public water supply, is critical for communities such as Emlenton to take advantage of opportunities for growth and development.”