Pottstown Borough Water Authority
As part of the requirements of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Reauthorization,
the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has been
conducting assessments of all potentially significant sources of contamination to
all public drinking water sources. The Borough of Pottstown has prepared this
Source Water Assessment Public Summary to provide information to support
local and state efforts to protect the quality of its drinking water sources. The
information in this summary pertains to the water supply area for the Pottstown
Water Treatment Plant (PWSID 1460037). The water withdrawn for the
Pottstown Water Treatment Plant is treated and meets state and federal
regulations for safety and quality before being distributed to the Pottstown area.
The assessment conducted for the Pottstown Water Treatment Plant is of the
"source" (river water) rather than "tap" (drinking) water. Information on "tap"
(drinking) water quality is available from the Borough of Pottstown’s Annual
Consumer Confidence Report that can be obtained by calling 1-610-970-6545.
What is the Source of Your Drinking Water?
The source of water for the Pottstown Water Treatment Plant is surface water
from the Schuylkill River. Up to five million gallons is withdrawn from the river
per day. The water system serves approximately 30,000 customers in the
Pottstown area. The water supply intake is located in the Schuylkill River near
Stowe. Approximately 1,000 square miles of land covering portions of 11
counties including large sections of Berks and Schuylkill counties drain into the
river upstream from the intake. The land upstream of the intake is 60%
forested/greenspace, 27 % agricultural, and 13 % developed. Approximately
three million people live in the Schuylkill River Watershed.
Water Quality and Treatment Information
Water withdrawn from the Schuylkill River is coagulated, settled, filtered, and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.
Evaluation of Significant Sources of Contamination
This assessment identifies and evaluates the possibility for contaminants to
potentially enter the Schuylkill River upstream from the water intake prior to
treatment. The contaminants addressed in this assessment include those
regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as well as those that the
PADEP has determined may present a concern to human health. These sources
are then ranked to determine their protection priority to the water supplier. The
protection priority is the level of importance and potential contamination a
particular source represents the water supply. A description of the protection
priority assigned to various types of sources upstream from the Schuylkill River
Intake is provided in Table 1. Each type of source has a qualitative protection
priority rating ranging from "A" to "F". The "A" rating is considered a source of
highest protection priority, while "F" is considered lowest protection priority.
Sources with ratings between "A" and "C" are considered potentially significant
sources for protection consideration. Sources with rating between "D" and "F" are
considered to have less significance.
Table 1 Summary of Protection Priorities for Various Upstream Sources
A – C
Mainstem River &
A – C
parking lots, roofs
A – C
Facilities that store
or use hazardous
Metals, nutrients, organic
If storage tank
spilled into river
A – C
Car, truck, train, or
Note: Petroleum hydrocarbons include chemicals found in oils and greases
Organic chemicals include chemicals found in solvents, degreasers, varnishes, paints, gasoline, plastics,
insect and weed killers.
As indicated in Table 1, discharges of treated and untreated sewage upstream of
the water intake were given the highest protection priority due to their potential
to release pathogens and nutrients into the water supply. Polluted runoff from
stormwater was also given a high protection priority due to the potential impacts
of runoff from urban areas and agricultural lands that introduce pathogens,
nutrients, and sediment into the water supply. Acid mine drainage was also
considered a high protection priority due to the impacts it has on metals
concentrations in the river.
Ongoing Source Water Protection Activities
The Borough of Pottstown works closely with state, federal, and local officials to
address water quality issues. The Borough of Pottstown also participates in
various activities with water suppliers and watershed organizations that
encourage communication, cooperation, education, protection, and restoration of
the Schuylkill River and its tributaries.
Source Water Protection Needs
Overall, the primary protection areas on which to focus protection efforts include
the mainstem areas of the Schuylkill River between Reading and Stowe. Portions
of Laurel Run, Antietam Creek, Wyomissing Creek, Bernhart Creek, Pigeon
Creek, Limekiln Creek, Pine Creek, Cacoosing Creek and Tulpehocken Creek
also have protection priority. However, other parts of the watershed may need
limited attention for contaminant-specific issues (i.e. metals and acid mine
Based on these observations, the areas along the mainstem Schuylkill River
between Leesport and Stowe should be considered a priority protection corridor
and have special protective regulations and legislation to restore and protect
water quality. This includes the development of initiatives to reduce or prevent
pathogens such as
from entering the river.
Long-term protection efforts should be focused on enhancing wastewater
discharges and mitigating stormwater runoff from urban and residential areas.
These will have the greatest overall impacts on improving source water quality
and the Schuylkill River.
How to Obtain More Information
This Source Water Assessment Public Summary was completed in December
2001. Individuals interested in learning more about this water system and
watershed can contact the Borough of Pottstown at 1-610-970-6545.
How Do I Get Involved in Protecting the River and My Water Supply?
There are many ways you can help protect the river and your water supply. You
can join a local watershed organization, join a citizens advisory committee, or
write your state and local representatives or congressmen about your views and
opinions on issues. Instead of joining organizations, you can also lend a hand
when these various organizations conduct trash cleanup, stream restoration, tree
planting activities, stenciling storm drains, or conducting stream monitoring.
Even the smallest of things can help protect your stream, river, or water supply.
Just simply calling the proper authorities when you see illegal dumping, dead
fish, or other polluting activities can make a big difference (see Table 2). Below
are a list of numbers to call for various situations and a list of websites to find
more information about local watershed and environmental organizations in the
area (see Table 3).
Table 2 Who to Call to Report Various Situations
Who To Call
Fish & Boat Commission
Illegal Dumping & Related
Oil & Gas Spills / Accidents
Construction Runoff and
Improper Erosion Controls
Berks County Conservation
Table 3 Getting Involved: Places to go for More Information About Local
Watershed Organizations and Events
French & Pickering
Canal & Trails
Find Your Local