Water authority in PA fined for poorly filtered drinking water

Feb. 4, 2011
Feb. 4, 2011 -- The Ephrata Area Joint Authority has paid a $10,000 fine for providing improperly filtered drinking water to residents of Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township and Clay Township last September...

Feb. 4, 2011 -- The Department of Environmental Protection announced today the Ephrata Area Joint Authority has paid a $10,000 fine for providing improperly filtered drinking water to residents of Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township and Clay Township last September.

"Water suppliers must meet drinking water quality standards and adhere to their permit requirements to ensure that safe, potable water is continuously supplied to their customers," said DEP South-central regional director Rachel Diamond.

Ephrata provides drinking water to nearly 18,000 customers by drawing water from three wells and the Cocalico Creek. One of the wells requires nanofiltration membrane treatment to reduce elevated levels of sulfates and total dissolved solids. For 19 days last September, Ephrata stopped treating the well water due to cost and maintenance issues, despite DEP's denial of a request for permission to do so.

This action caused the water to violate drinking water quality standards and put the authority in violation of its permit. The water contained unacceptable levels of sulfates and dissolved mineral solids, which can cause poor taste and odor in the water.

The authority notified DEP of the use of unfiltered well water on Sept. 20 when difficulties arose with the quantity and quality of available water from the other sources within the system. The authority stopped using water from the unfiltered well when DEP informed them of the violation. The filtration system was returned to service on Oct. 6.

For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us or call 717-705-4700.

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