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City of Philadelphia

News

Rate Change Public Hearings Set Through May 2
Apr 23, 2018

Customers, elected officials, and the Water Rate Board were recently informed that we need to raise the rates charged for our services. Increased rates will ensure we have the resources needed to better maintain one of the oldest water systems in the country.

As part of a rate-setting process that puts a priority on transparency, we are holding official Public Input Hearings across the city.

These hearings are held with the Water Rate Board, an independent five-member board created by voters to oversee rate changes. For new rates to be set, the department must show the board that the increase is justified.

Any testimony made by residents at hearings will become part of the public record.

Learn more about the rate increase and why we're requesting it here, and check out the full schedule of upcoming hearings here.


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Rate Change Needed to Replace and Maintain Critical, Aging Infrastructure
Mar 14, 2018
The Philadelphia Water Department today filed a notice of proposed changes in rates. Updated rates are being requested so that we have the resources needed to better maintain more than 6,000 miles of water mains and sewers within one of the oldest water systems in the country.

This past winter season was especially challenging, with 625 water main breaks in just over three months.

The rate changes must be approved by the independent Water, Sewer and Stormwater Rate Board. This involves providing documentation showing the rates are fair and justified.

In the coming months, we will testify before the board at technical and public hearings. Customers are encouraged to participate by attending the public hearings and providing input.    

Hearing dates and locations are listed here.  

Read the full announcement here to see how your bill could be impacted.

Customers are also encouraged to view a detailed information package explaining how rates are used and why the increase is needed.

If you are concerned about paying for water, learn more about new programs that can help many customers get lower bills that stay the same each month by visiting our customer assistance page or calling (215) 685-6300. 
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PWD submits comments on DRBC Natural Gas Regulations
Mar 05, 2018
The Philadelphia Water Department provided comments to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on amendments to its Administrative Manual, Special Regulations Part 440 and supporting guidance regarding high volume hydraulic fracturing activities in the Delaware River Basin. Read the Comments.
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Read our new 2018 Guide for Customers
Feb 21, 2018
Use our new Guide for Customers to get the most out of PWD services—from knowing what the pipes in your home are made of to keeping your water flowing with timely payments. You’ll also find information about a variety of PWD customer assistance programs, our green infrastructure investments, and more. Read the guide.
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High Rate of Cold Weather Customer Service Requests
Jan 17, 2018
The Water Department understands we have significant wait times on our phone lines due to increase in service requests from cold weather. We encourage customers to reach us on Twitter and Facebook through direct messages. We will temporarily monitor these from 9 am – midnight, 7 days a week to intake all customer service requests. Read more information in our press release.

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Cold Weather Tips: Avoid Frozen Pipes + Costly Repairs with Cheap Fixes
Nov 22, 2017
Winter weather can create problems for your home plumbing, including frozen and burst pipes.

Cold air blowing through drafty windows or exposed pipes in unheated areas can also damage your meter.

Most fixes can be done by spending a few dollars at the hardware store, and you can even guard against extreme temps by letting your basement faucet drip overnight, so don't delay - act now and avoid costly repairs!

Check out our cold weather tips video here, and scan our quick tips sheet here.
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Get a jump on spring with green projects + enter fall-winter raffles
Nov 17, 2017
Did you know Philadelphia residents can save money on outdoor landscaping and other green projects by signing up for our Rain Check program?

Hundreds of homes across the city have used Rain Check to build rain gardens, depave concrete patios, replace asphalt driveways with beautiful, rain-absorbing hardscape projects, and more. Thousands have also received a free rain barrel or deeply discounted downspout garden planter featuring native plants.

Right now is also the best time to get started.

By taking one of our free workshops with the Pa. Horticultural Society during the fall and winter, you can get a jump on plans for spring greening projects and be at the front of the line when the weather warms.

We’re also offering two new incentives to encourage Rain Check participation this winter.

Head to the Rain Check page to learn more or register for a workshop now.
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New Help Available for Customers Struggling with Water Bills
Jun 20, 2017
The City of Philadelphia is now offering a new affordability program that reduces the cost of monthly water bills for low-income Philadelphia Water Department customers and those with special hardships.
The Tiered Assistance Program, or TAP, provides customers with significant savings by offering a set monthly bill based on their income. Applications are now available.
TAP offers many new benefits:

• Customers do not have to be behind on their bill
• Expanded eligibility—approximately 60,000 customers are now eligible
• More ways to apply: Online, in-person and by mail
• Income-based, consistent monthly bill
• Past due amounts are suspended and not enforced while customer are enrolled in the program
• Only a single application is required to be considered for several assistance programs and discounts

Struggling with your bill? Learn more or start your application.
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4th District Water Town Hall with PWD and Councilman Jones
May 02, 2017

A Water Town Hall will be held for residents of City Council’s Fourth District on Thursday, May 11th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sharon Baptist Church, located at 3955 Conshohocken Ave.

This public forum is the second in a series of Water Town Halls for Philadelphia City Council Districts and will feature Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty.

The Philadelphia Water Department wants to hear from residents about their interests, issues and concerns. This Water Town Hall is an opportunity for customers to speak directly with Water Department and Philadelphia Water Revenue Bureau staff about issues such as:

Residents can also find out about the services the Water Department provides and how they can volunteer for cleanups, become stewards of their environment, and more!

Look out for future Water Town Hall dates here and on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone who requires special arrangements for persons with disabilities may call the Philadelphia Water Department at 215-685-6300.

Invite friends to this Town Hall on Facebook now.

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Flood Risk Management Task Force: Manayunk Public Meeting
Apr 28, 2017

Members of the Manayunk community and Philadelphia residents are invited to join City officials for a special meeting highlighting ongoing efforts to protect neighborhoods from the impacts of flooding and storms:

Thursday, May 11 at 6 PM - 8 PM
Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center
7 Lock St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19127

The talk is being hosted by the City of Philadelphia’s Flood Risk Management Task Force, a group featuring the Philadelphia Water Department and a wide range of City agencies and departments involved in flooding-related issues.

This public meeting will address questions such as:

• Why and when does Manayunk flood?

• What can residents and businesses do to better prepare themselves?

•What is the Task Force doing about flooding?

Community members and businesses are invited to join us for answers and to get a look at A Guide to Flooding in Philadelphia, a new resource providing residents with practical information about a variety of issues, from home flood-proofing to tips for safe post-storm recovery.

Read more on the Watersheds blog.

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'Crowd and the Cloud' Episode on WHYY Overlooks Free On-Demand Tests for Lead Pipes
Apr 18, 2017
The Philadelphia Water Department was recently made aware of an episode of the American Public Television series ‘The Crowd and the Cloud’ which aired on local stations and attempted to address the issue of lead sampling in Philadelphia.

PWD, a public utility operated by Philadelphia citizens to provide drinking water for more than 1.5 million residents, was never contacted by the show’s producers.

Alarmingly, the information presented contains many factual inaccuracies that may prevent customers from accessing free services PWD offers to ensure top quality water.

Because providing our customers with safe, clean drinking water is our core mission, Philadelphia does more than follow EPA and Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (PADEP) regulations for the testing of lead in tap water.

In addition to routine water quality monitoring, source water protection, and effective water treatment that ensures the water coming into homes meets or exceeds all state and federal quality standards, we offer free on-demand testing year-round for customers with concerns about lead in their tap water.

Any customer concerned about lead should call 215-685-6300.

Our Bureau of Laboratory Services (BLS) division will schedule a visit to your home so that a sample can be collected from the tap.

If we test your tap water and find lead levels higher than 15 parts per billion (15 ppb), the City will offer help in locating possible sources of lead in your plumbing. Customers concerned about lead pipes should have a licensed plumber inspect their home plumbing to identify any potential sources of lead.  

Read more about our programs for customers with lead plumbing.
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Yellow “Water Update” Cards NOT from Philadelphia Water Department
Mar 29, 2017
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has received reports from some customers about yellow “Water Update” postcards being left at their homes with a message requesting further contact.

These postcards are not being issued by PWD and are a product solicitation for a privately owned company based in Delaware. Residents should call our hotline at 215-685-6300 if they have questions.

Correspondence or direct service from the PWD by mail or in person can be identified in the following ways:
• PWD logo or letterhead
• PWD identification cards
• PWD-issued uniforms
• Company vehicles with the PWD logo

See our media alert for examples. 

PWD values its relationship with the citizens of Philadelphia and we strive to keep customers informed of any instances where companies are distributing potentially confusing materials that may be designed to appear as if they are from a local utility.

Providing safe, top-quality drinking water for our 1.5 million customers is one of our highest priorities and we take this commitment very seriously.

We encourage residents view our latest Drinking Water Quality Report..
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Philadelphia Water Department Backs Bill to Increase Awareness of Lead in Plumbing
Jan 05, 2017

The Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services held a hearing on November 16, 2016 to hear testimony on three lead safety bills.

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) provided testimony in support of Bill No. 160687, which updates rules about what landlords must tell renters regarding the presence of potential hazards like lead paint to include plumbing that contains lead.

To make this information easy to access, customers can now find the November 2016 testimony and links to our lead safety programs here.

PWD Commissioner Debra A. McCarty presented the testimony and made clear the department’s commitment to educating and empowering customers when it comes to the issue of lead:

“We want our customers to understand the steps they can take to improve the quality of the drinking water in their homes. We take the safety of our customers very seriously, and drinking water quality has been and will remain a top priority for the Water Department.”

The bill includes language about rental properties where the water supply is connected to the City water main by a pipe made from lead. This pipe is called a service line, and runs from the water main in the street to the customer’s water meter, most often found in the basement. (See our fact sheet about checking for lead service lines.)

As of December, 2016, Bill No. 160687 has been referred to City Council for passage.

During the November testimony, PWD also updated City Council on its many lead safety programs and highlighted new information for residents available on the department’s website.

The official testimony submitted to City Council, without links, is available here.

Those interested in water testing, replacing lead service lines or scheduling a community presentation about lead can call 215-685-6300.

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New Winter Perks for Philly Residents Seeking Discounted Landscaping and Free Rain Barrels
Dec 22, 2016
Did you know Philadelphia residents can save money on outdoor landscaping and other green projects by signing up for our Rain Check program?

Hundreds of homes across the city have used Rain Check to build rain gardens, depave concrete patios, replace asphalt driveways with beautiful, rain-absorbing hardscape projects, and more. Thousands have also received a free rain barrel or deeply discounted downspout garden planter featuring native plants.

Right now is also the best time to get started.


By taking one of our free workshops with the Pa. Horticultural Society during January and February, you can get a jump on plans for spring greening projects and be at the front of the line when the weather warms.

We’re also offering two new incentives to encourage Rain Check participation this winter.

Learn more about our our winter offers here or head right to the Rain Check page to register for a workshop now.
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Winter Tips: Act Now to Prevent Frozen Pipes!
Dec 09, 2016
With temperatures expected to dip into the low 20s next week, now is a good time to make sure your home's plumbing is ready for winter. Leaving an outside hose on or failing to cover a drafty window near your water meter can lead to frozen or burst pipes and costly repairs.

Take a minute to check out these cold weather tips and protect your home before the deep freeze sets in!   
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Call Centers are Again Fully Operational
Nov 28, 2016
The Philadelphia Water Department and Water Revenue Bureau call centers are now fully operational following an outage yesterday. However, due to yesterday’s outage, call volume may be higher than normal. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank our customers for their patience.
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Drought Watch Declared November 23: Learn More
Oct 31, 2016
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) declared a drought watch for the entire Delaware River basin on Wednesday, November 23.

The Philadelphia Water Department is not experiencing adverse water quality or water supply issues related to the conditions associated with a drought watch.

Since the summer, the Philadelphia Water Department, regional environmental agencies and partners have closely monitored streamflow and reservoir levels in the Delaware River basin amid below-average precipitation.

Read our full statement regarding the November 2016 drought watch declaration here.
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Public Hearing on Discounted Community Garden Stormwater Rates
Oct 25, 2016

A public hearing on proposed stormwater rates changes for Philadelphia’s community gardens will take place on Tuesday, October 25:

PWD Presentation to Rate Board
And Public Input Hearing
Tuesday, October 25, 2016,
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
100 N. 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1495 

On June 28, 2016, Mayor James F. Kenney signed an ordinance passed by Philadelphia City Council that allows community gardens a special discounted rate for stormwater services. The ordinance directs the Rate Board to establish a special discounted stormwater charge, in an amount up to and including 100%, for approved community gardens.

As a result, the Board may exempt community gardens from paying a monthly stormwater charge, as long as the gardens meet the criteria in the ordinance.

Read more about the hearing and proposed changes on our Watersheds Blog. You can also learn more about this proposal here.

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Learn About Navigation on the Schuylkill River Through Photography
Oct 05, 2016
A network of locks, dams and canals, once made the Schuylkill River a hub of transportation and commerce. The Fairmount Water Works presents Falling Waters: the Legacy of the Schuylkill Navigation, a photography exhibit that artfully documents the remaining parts of the 200 year old navigation system. 
The exhibit is free and open to the public, and runs through December 30th. Visit fairmountwaterworks.org for more information.
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Phone Issues Resolved
Sep 27, 2016
Philadelphia Water and Water Revenue Bureau have addressed the phone issues previously reported. We thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.
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Contact Us

Report a Problem:
(215) 685-6300

Billing and Account Questions:
Water Revenue Bureau
(215) 686-6880
8:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.

Mail Payments to:
Water Revenue Bureau
P.O. Box 41496
Philadelphia, PA 19101-1496

Please visit the Water Revenue Bureau website for in-person bill pay locations.