1. Phone Number

Philadelphia Water Department - Baxter Intake
Public Summary
Introduction
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 Philadelphia Water Department has prepared this Source Water
Assessment Public Summary to provide information to support local and state efforts to
protect the quality of the City of Philadelphia’s drinking water sources. The information
in this summary pertains to the water supply area for the Philadelphia Water
Department’s Baxter Water Treatment Plant. The water withdrawn for the Baxter Water
Treatment Plant is treated and meets all state and federal regulations for safety and
quality before being distributed to Northeast Philadelphia and Lower Bucks County.
The assessment conducted for the Baxter Water Treatment Plant is of the “source” (river
water) rather than “tap” (drinking) water. Information on “tap” (drinking) water
quality is available from the Philadelphia Water Department’s Annual Consumer
Confidence Report that can be obtained by calling 215-685-6300 or visiting the website at
www.phila.gov.
What is the Source of Your Drinking Water?
The source of water for the Philadelphia Water Department – Baxter Water Treatment
Plant is surface water from the Delaware River. An average of 190 million gallons is
withdrawn from the river per day. The water system serves approximately 750,000
customers in Northeast Philadelphia and Lower Bucks County. The water supply
intake is located in Torresdale section of Philadelphia. Approximately 8,106 square
miles of land covering portions of 3 states, 30 counties including large sections of
Montgomery, and Lehigh, Bucks, and Mercer counties that drain into the river upstream
from the intake. The land upstream of the intake is 70% forested/greenspace, 17%
agricultural, and 10% developed. Approximately 4 million people live in the Delaware
River Watershed.
Water Quality and Treatment Information
Water withdrawn from the Delaware River is coagulated, settled, filtered, and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. In addition, the Baxter Water
Treatment Plant participates in the Partnership for Safe Water program. This program is
an intensive voluntary program nationwide by water suppliers that strives for
optimized water quality well beyond that required by state and federal agencies.
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 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 for the water supply. A description of the
protection priority assigned to various types of sources upstream from the Baxter Intake
is provided in Table 2.2.9-1. 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.
As indicated in Table 2.2.9-1, 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.
Ongoing Source Water Protection Activities
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has an active source water protection
program that works closely with state, federal, and local officials to address water
quality issues. PWD also participates in various activities with upstream dischargers,
businesses, communities, 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 focus of PWD’s protection efforts to protect and improve their
water supply should include continued support of efforts for the ongoing improvements
of the industrial and municipal discharges the tidal areas of the Delaware River between
Trenton and Philadelphia/Camden. Non-point source protection should be focused in
the Pennypack, Poquessing/Byberry Creek, Rancocas Creek, and Neshaminy Creek area
as well as portions of the Muscentong, Pohatcong, and Lehigh Rivers. However other
parts of the watershed such as the Pennypack and Poquessing Creeks may need special
attention for contaminant specific issues that do not match with the general overall
priority areas or sources.
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 Delaware River.
How to Obtain More Information
This Source Water Assessment Public Summary was completed in June 2002.
Individuals interested in learning more about this water system and watershed can
contact the Philadelphia Water Department at 215-685-6300 or access information from
the internet at
www.phila.gov/departments/water
or www.phillywater/Delaware.org.

Table 2.2.9-1 Summary of Protection Priorities for Various Upstream Sources
Source
Protection
Priority
Description
Priority Area(s)
Contaminants
Treated Sewage
A – C
(Moderate –
High)
Wastewater
discharges from
wastewater treatment
plants
Camden to
Trenton
Pathogens, bacteria,
viruses,
Cryptosporidium
,
nutrients, sediment,
organic chemicals
Untreated Sewage
A
(High)
Combined and
sanitary sewer
overflows/discharges
Camden to
Trenton
Pathogens, bacteria,
viruses,
Cryptosporidium
,
nutrients
Urban/Residential
Runoff
A – C
(Moderate –
High)
Stormwater runoff
from roads, parking
lots, roofs
Pennypack Creek
Poquessing Creek
Byberry Creek
Neshaminy Creek
Pathogens, bacteria,
viruses,
Cryptosporidium
,
nutrients, metals,
sediment
Agricultural Runoff
A – C
(Moderate –
High)
Stormwater runoff
from croplands,
pastures, livestock
Neshaminy Creek
Pohatpocong
River
Musconetcong
River
Lehigh RIver
Pathogens, bacteria,
viruses,
Cryptosporidium
,
nutrients, sediment
Acid Mine Drainage
C
(Moderate)
Discharge from
abandoned coal
mining areas
Lehigh River
Metals
Industrial Facilities
C
(Moderate)
Facilities that store or
use hazardous
chemicals
Camden to
Trenton
Metals, nutrients, organic
chemicals
Above Ground
Storage Tanks
C
(Moderate)
If storage tank spilled
into river
Camden to
Trenton
Petroleum hydrocarbons,
metals, phosphorus
Landfills
C
(Moderate)
Leaching of
contaminants into
streams
Camden to
Trenton
Petroleum hydrocarbons,
metals
Spills and Accidents
A – C
(Moderate –
High)
Car, truck, train, or
pipeline accident
spilling benzene
Watershed wide
Petroleum hydrocarbons,
organic chemicals
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.
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 2.2.9-2). 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 2.2.9-3).

 
Table 2.2.9-2 Who to Call to Report Various Situations
Situation
Who To Call
Phone
Dead Fish
Fish & Boat Commission
PADEP
717-626-0228
800-541-2050
Illegal Dumping & Related
Pollution Activities
PADEP
Environmental Police Unit
800-541-2050
215-685-6300
Sewage Spills
PADEP
PWD
800-541-2050
215-685-6300
Oil & Gas Spills / Accidents
PADEP
PWD
800-541-2050
215-685-6300
Soil Erosion and Runoff from
Construction or Farming
PADEP
Bucks Co. Conservation District
610-832-6131
215-345-7577
Table 2.2.9-3 Getting Involved: Places to go for More Information About Local
Organizations
Information About
Phone Number
Website Address
Philadelphia Area Watershed
Organizations
215-685-6300
www.phillywater.org/delaware
Friends of Pennypack Park
(215) 934-7275
jryanpark9@aol.com
Fairmount Park Friends Groups
Delaware Riverkeeper
(215) 369-1188
www.delawareriverkeeper.org
Neshaminy Creek Watershed
(215) 598-7791
myersrich@juno.com
Friends of Tacony Creek Park
215-745-8903
Poquessing Creek
(215)-972-6275
friendsofpoquessing.org/
Cobbs Creek Environmental
Education Center
(215) 471-2223
www.cobbscreek.org
Darby Creek Watershed
Association
(610) 789-1814
Pennypack Ecological Restoration
Trust
(215) 657-0930
www.libertynet.org/pert
Chester Ridley Crum Watershed
Organization
www.ctic.purdue.edu/crcwa/home.html
Trout Unlimited – Bucks Co.
(215) 453-7689
http://members.aol.com/troutubuck

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