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City of Philadelphia

Drinking Water Quality

We treat water from our rivers to the highest standards. The quality of your water is monitored at every step of the process to ensure safety when it gets to you.
  • 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

Water providers like the Philadelphia Water Department are required by law to test at least 50 "Tier 1" homes, defined by the EPA as homes with lead services lines or lead solder installed after 1982, every three years. This testing is designed to ensure that corrosion control treatment is working.

To date, BLS experts have tested for lead levels in accordance with the requirements of the federal Lead and Copper Rule, issued in June 1991, for nearly a quarter century. The most recent Lead and Copper Rule tests were conducted at 134 homes during 2014, and Philadelphia Water was found to be in compliance with EPA's standards.

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.