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City of Philadelphia


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.

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.
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!   
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.
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.
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.

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 for more information.
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.
Green Patches on the Schuylkill River aka Duckweed
Sep 21, 2016
The green areas on the river are Duckweed (Lemna minor), a free-floating aquatic plant. Duckweed is naturally occurring, typical to low-flow and/or stagnant water conditions, and not harmful to the health to of the river. Duckweed can have an earthy smell, however PWD has received no odor complaints.
Duckweed can be found in healthy water bodies around the country. It is more synonymous with low flow conditions providing areas of habitat for this species to persist. Despite being churned up by the recent heavy rainfall, the Schuylkill River is healthy.

It is important to keep in mind that the Schuylkill Watershed covers a drainage area of over 1,900 square miles—most of that is above Philadelphia. Schuylkill River flows during most of this summer have been lower than normal. Over the past week, we have seen heavy rainfall saturate the watershed, increasing river flows. The heavy rain fall has flushed the duckweed from upstream tributaries and areas along the Schuylkill River down river.

The Duckweed is likely to separate as it flows over the dam and into the Delaware River. The Delaware River is a much larger river system than the Schuylkill with considerably more flow and tidal impacts. It is highly likely that the Duckweed will become more dispersed as it moves down into the Delaware River and eventually out to the bay.

Philadelphia Water Department scientists continuously monitor the rivers to ensure they are healthy and our drinking water is safe.
Registration Open for Philly Fun Fishing Fest, September 10
Aug 16, 2016
The Philly Fun Fishing Fest will be held at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

This catch-and-release event is free and open to the public, with no fishing licenses needed. Bait and tackle is provided on a first-come, first-served basis for those who need it.

The fishing contest will take place from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by an 11:30 a.m. awards ceremony featuring prizes in a variety of categories. Prizes are provided by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Plano Tackle. Registration and more information can be found on the Philly Fun Fishing Fest page.
Interest Free Loans Now Available for Lead Service Lines
Aug 08, 2016
Philadelphia Water is now offering zero-interest loans for customers who want to replace a service line made of lead.

An estimated 10 percent of Philadelphia homes may be connected to the City water main by a lead service line.

In the City of Philadelphia, water service lines are the responsibility of the homeowner. If you have a water service line made of lead, you may qualify for the Homeowner’s Emergency Loan Program (HELP).

Learn more about this program or call 215-685-4901 to see if you qualify. Leave a message with your contact information and a representative will return your call.

More information about lead pipes, including tips on finding out if you have a lead service line, is available here.

More: How to Tell If You Have a Lead Service Line
Invite Us to Your Group to Learn About Lead
May 03, 2016

To help our customers understand risks associated with lead pipes in homes, Philadelphia Water is offering to make a presentation to any civic or community organization interested in learning more. Our biggest priority is making sure Philadelphia residents always receive top-quality drinking water.

To schedule a presentation, please email or call 215-685-6300. We will work to accommodate your schedule, but please provide ample time to arrange the presentation. Philadelphia Water can also translate education materials into a variety of languages to meet the needs of your community.

See a preview of the presentation.
Resources for Customers with Lead Plumbing
Apr 05, 2016
Does your home have a water distribution pipe made of lead? Not sure? See our page created to help customers concerned about lead in plumbing and make sure you are taking advantage of Philadelphia’s lead-free, affordable public drinking water. Get info on daily drinking water tips, testing for lead, identifying and replacing lead pipes and more. We are here to help.
Take Part: Meet Our New Commissioner and Get the Inside Scoop on Contracting Opportunities
Mar 08, 2016
Philadelphia Water is hosting its Contractor Seminar series on March 22, 2016 at Venice Island Performing Arts Center in Manayunk from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

This special event will give contractors the opportunity to meet with Debra A. McCarty, the first woman to lead the department in its 200-year history. She was appointed Commissioner by Mayor Kenney in January.

Contractors will also learn about the City's procurement processes and will have opportunities to network with other local businesses. These seminars are designed to provide important information to contractors about Philadelphia Water contracting opportunities, including details on industry best practices, specifications on projects, and minority, women, and disabled business enterprise (“M/W/DSBE”) inclusion goals and requirements.

This seminar is highly recommended for all contractors interested in doing business with Philadelphia Water as well as businesses interested in meeting with existing prime contractors.

RSVP and Sign Up Here Now!
Concerned About Lead? Tips for Safe, Clean Tap Water + How to Get Tested
Feb 03, 2016
News about how untreated water in Flint, Michigan is causing high lead levels in homes has renewed concerns about public drinking water in many other cities across the U.S., including Philadelphia.
Unlike Flint, we treat our water and follow all state and federal laws to prevent lead pipes in homes from rusting. Whether your home has lead plumbing or not, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the cleanest, freshest water possible.

We also go above and beyond requirements for lead testing, and offer individual help for customers concerned about lead pipes.
See our fact sheet to read about smart flushing practices and find out how you can get your water tested.

Customers concerned about lead exposure should also read the Philadelphia Department of Public Health fact sheet on lead in water and where lead exposure comes from in the city.
Information in Response to Lead Questions
Jan 25, 2016

Dear Water Department Customer:
Drinking water has recently been the topic in the national and local news. And we wish to assure our customers that Philadelphia Water holds its pledge to provide safe, high quality water as its most sacred bond with our citizens.

We view protection of public health as a core part of our mission and work closely with the Philadelphia Department of Health, in addition to participating in research conducted by national water research foundations. We are leaders in drinking water best practices and we have a stellar track record of providing reliable, top quality water that meets or does better than all federal standards for public health.

Please read our full response and more information on drinking water quality in Philadelphia.

Smart Winter Deicing Tips to Protect Rivers, Creeks and Pets
Jan 22, 2016
As snow piles up in the winter, we often turn to salt or other solutions to melt snow and ice as an important public safety measure that saves lives on our roadways every year. Still, it's important to know that all deicers can be harmful to our drinking water supply and the environment when overused, so the best strategy is to read the labels and use as directed only when needed. 

Read the latest Watersheds Blog post to get smart deicing tips.
Water Department Tips Following Snow Storms: Help Us Help You
Jan 21, 2016
Philadelphia Water is asking citizens around Philadelphia to assist us after the major snow storm expected the weekend of January 22, 2016. Major snow events with high accumulation totals present risks many people may not be aware of, and we ask for your assistance in making sure that we can be ahead of any potential problems.

Read our latest blog on snow tips or read the official press release
Philadelphia Water Requests Rate Increase Over Two Years
Jan 08, 2016
Philadelphia Water filed a rate change request today with City Council and the City’s independent Water Rate Board in order to fund critical investments in aging infrastructure, including the replacement of dozens of miles of water mains and sewers per year. The proposed increase is 11.7 percent over a two-year period beginning July 1, 2016, raising the typical residential bill $8 per month. View detailed information on our Rates page.
Mayor Kenney Names McCarty to Lead Philadelphia Water
Jan 05, 2016
Mayor Jim Kenney named Debra McCarty as the new Commissioner of Philadelphia Water on Jan. 1, 2016. McCarty, the first woman to hold the title of Commissioner, was serving as Deputy Commissioner and Director of Operations and replaces Howard Neukrug.
An engineer with over three decades of experience at department, McCarty has held a number of leadership roles with Philadelphia Water and is a respected member of the water utility industry.

Read more about Commissioner McCarty's appointment on the Watersheds Blog.

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.