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Drinking Water Quality

Almost 2,000 women and men of the Philadelphia Water Department work around the clock to make sure that safe, high-quality drinking water is always on tap. Providing a safe and abundant supply of water is our commitment to all of our customers, both large and small.
  • PWD uses proven treatment practices and participates in groundbreaking research to provide drinking water that consistently exceeds EPA standards.
  • Philadelphia’s drinking water sources are the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and our pledge to our customers extends to the stewardship of our region’s water resources.
  • PWD has embraced a watershed protection approach that tracks and evaluates events and practices that may impact water quality.
  • Watershed businesses and residents also play a role in the health of our waterways. Proper disposal of hazardous wastes, household chemicals and unused prescriptions are essential to protecting our drinking water.

Meeting the Lead Standard
Currently, every three years the Philadelphia Water Department tests for lead in tap water at more than 50 representative taps of vulnerable homes in the city. We do this according to the requirement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule. The testing results are used to determine if our corrosion control treatment technique is working, so that water has minimum potential for lead to leach from plumbing materials. So far, our test results show that our treatment techniques keep lead levels to a minimum.

The Bureau of Laboratory Services

The Bureau of Laboratory Services, a state-of-the-art laboratory, performs these services for the Philadelphia Water Department.
  • Tests water in different stages of treatment from Philadelphia's drinking water and wastewater plants to make sure that treatment is proceeding properly.
  • Tests Philadelphia's drinking water at more than 65 locations around the city to make sure it is clean, not only when it leaves our plants, but when it gets to our customers.
  • Tests treated wastewater to make sure that it is environmentally safe to return to our rivers.
  • Tests our composted biosolids to make sure they are clean and safe for use on gardens and other recycling land applications.
  • Tests pipes, concrete and other materials to make sure they perform as specified. We also test materials for other city agencies.
  • Researches new practices and methods to improve our ability to provide Philadelphia with clean, safe drinking water, and to improve water standards nationally.