Drinking Water in Beaver Borough
With the nation’s attention recently focused on Flint, Michigan’s water supply, many of our residents may wonder about Beaver’s water supply. The primary concern in Flint has been the high lead level in household tap water. Flint lead levels have exceeded action limits established by United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Pennsylvania, communities receive further lead level oversight and guidance from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Borough of Beaver works closely with DEP on all water quality issues.
Beaver Borough’s water is drawn from an aquifer source below the Ohio River through 5 wells located along the northerly side of the Ohio River. The source water has high mineral content (a.k.a. “hard water”) that forms deposits called “scale” within pipes. The “scale” tends to line or coat the inside of pipes. Chlorine is the only chemical added to Beaver’s source water for disinfection purposes. There is no detectable level of lead in Beaver’s source water.
In order to oversee water and waste water operations, Beaver established the Beaver Borough Municipal Authority (BBMA) in 1957. That entity exists today although operations and management have been contracted through the Borough. BBMA owns the wells, water works (pump house), 3 million gallon reservoir, and water supply lines throughout the Borough. There is no lead in any of BBMA pumps, wells, tanks, or water supply lines.
The water service lines between BBMA supply (main) lines and the resident’s homes/businesses are the responsibility of the property owner. Newer homes use copper water service lines; however, some older homes may have lead service lines. Possible sources of lead contamination are lead solder connections, old brass fittings that contain lead and the lead water service lines. The high mineral content (“hard water”) present in Beaver’s water discourages lead leaching from resident’s pipe and solder connections (due to hard water forming deposits within the pipes). The BBMA is currently considering the use of a treatment compound that produces a natural coating on the inside of the distribution pipes to further reduce the possible leaching of metal from the pipes.
On a regular basis, the BBMA tests household tap water for lead and other possible contaminates and test results to date have been within EPA and DEP standards. Those reports are available for viewing on our website (www.beaverpa.us). Lead and copper tests will next be performed this summer. Additionally, individuals may choose to have their household water tested. Water samples can be analyzed at a local water laboratory.
Borough of Beaver will continue to closely monitor water quality to insure a safe source of drinking water for the future.
Daniel J. Martone, PE/PLS
Beaver Borough Municipal Authority Engineer