Philadelphia PA

The city of Philadelphia draws its raw water from the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The City operates three water treatment facilities; one drawing from the Delaware, Baxter WTP (formerly Torresdale); and two using the Schuylkill, Queen Lane & Belmont. Typical flows are 175, 85 and 60 MGD, respectively. All three plants use conventional treatment with anthracite/sand filtration, free chlorine addition and conversion to chloramines prior to distribution.

Public Resourcesservice area

Secure UMass Research Site

Refereed Publications and other Published Material

Modern Studies (since 1970)
Citation Notes Abstract
Eyring, A., F. St. Denis, G. Burlingame. 2008. Changes in Water Quality in Premise Plumbing: Cold Water vs Hot Water, AWWA Proceedings of the Water Quality Technology Conference data from areas served by all 3 plants: Feb-Sept 2006  
Burlingame, G.A., 2008. Addressing Emerging Pathogens: Philadelphia's Reflections on Giardia and Cryptosporidium, J. NEWWA    
Harvey, A., R. Kopansky, 2007. Maintaining Distribution Wter Quality during a Major Reservoir Repair Effort, AWWA Proceedings of the Water Quality Technology Conference including Queen Lane & Baxter WQ data  
Charlton, N.D., P.M. Kohl, 2006. Direct Comparison of Alternative Coagulants to Ferric Chloride at the Pilot Scale, AWWA Proceedings of the Water Quality Technology Conference testing on Belmont & Baxter Plants  
Consonery, P.J., P.J. Lusardi, R. Kopansky, R.L. Manning, 2004. Total Organic Carbon: A Reliable Indicator of TTHM and HAA5 Formation?, AWWA Proceedings of the Water Quality Technology Conference Study of Utilities in PA and expecially SE PA, probably includes Philly  
Burlingame, G.A., 2004. Managing Water Quality in the Aging Distribution System, J. NEWWA 118:3:143-150    
Kohl, P.M., S. Pugsley, E. Gorodetsky, 2000. The Lack of Bromate Formation During Ozonation of Low pH Waters, Proceedings of the IOA PAG Conference bromide data for the the 3 Philly plants PWD tested the ozonation process on pilot scale. The results indicated that the suppression of pH was sufficient to control bromate formation, even at elevated bromide levels and in warm water. It is believed that only small amounts of bromide enter into the ozone – bromide oxidation-reduction system at pH 6.5, and that any oxidized bromide is quickly protonated to HOBr and removed from the ozone – hypobromite system through further reaction with ammonia or organics in solution. We also speculate that the oxidation rate of bromide has a slight dependence on pH in natural waters.
Chadderton, R.A., G.L. Christensen, and P. Henryunrath. 1993. PLANNING A DISTRIBUTION-SYSTEM FLUSHING PROGRAM. Journal American Water Works Association 85:89-94.   The main objective of flushing distribution systems is to improve water quality and service. Flushing programs preserve and improve water quality and control bacterial growth. An effective flushing program anticipates and prevents water quality problems and customer complaints. The fundamental mechanics of flushing are well defined, but little has been known about how to evaluate or optimize the effectiveness of flushing programs. More than half the utilities surveyed for this article have flushing programs and use customer complaints to locate problems in die distribution system. A spreadsheet was used to order areas within a distribution system by flushing priority on the basis of complaint data. Each area could be flushed in anticipation of the peak of complaints. A general planning method or protocol was developed to assist with program organization and analysis. A review of a flushing program conducted by the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company is included.
Burlingame, G.A., J.J. Muldowney, and R.E. Maddrey. 1992. CUCUMBER FLAVOR IN PHILADELPHIA DRINKING-WATER. Journal American Water Works Association 84:92-97.   Since 1981, when the use of free chlorine was curtailed to control trihalomethanes at the Baxter Treatment Plant in Philadelphia, Pa., a seasonal cucumber flavor problem occurred. Flavor profile analysis was the only tool available to guide treatment. During 1990, the cucumber odor was tracked more than 250 mi (402 km) up the Delaware River to the Cannonsville Reservoir, and the odor-causing compound was identified as trans,2-cis,6-non-adienal. Algae growth beneath the winter ice produced the compound. Other treatment plants on the river that used free chlorine for disinfection and a final residual never had a problem with trans,2-cis,6-nonadienal. Therefore, use of chlorine was increased at the Baxter plant to control the cucumber flavor. Studies were conducted on trans,2-cis,6-nonadienal to describe its sensory characteristics and analytical detection limit.
Burlingame, G.A., R.M. Dann, and G.L. Brock. 1986. A CASE-STUDY OF GEOSMIN IN PHILADELPHIA WATER. Journal American Water Works Association 78:56-61.   Two episodes of unacceptable tastes and odors, which corresponded with levels of geosmin in the water that were much higher than the background level of 20 ng/L or less, occurred in Philadelphia during 1985. The source of one episode was found to be a localized bed of algae in the Schuylkill River. An existing taste- and odor-control program, which utilizes instrumental and sensory analyses, was largely responsible for the effective management of the episodes. Hydraulic strategies were used to reduce the treatment plant's intake of geosmin, and powdered activated carbon in the treatment train further reduced the geosmin level. Dilution of this treated water with other finished waters in the distribution system also diminished the impact of geosmin on the taste and odor of Philadelphia's water.
Cairo, P.R., J. McElhaney, and I.H. Suffet. 1979. PILOT-PLANT TESTING OF ACTIVATED CARBON ADSORPTION SYSTEMS. Journal American Water Works Association 71:660-673.   Described here are the design and operational experiences with pilot plant testing of carbon adsorption systems used in the treatment of Delaware River water at Philadelphia, Pa.
Cairo, P.R., R.G. Lee, B.S. Aptowicz, and W.M. Blankenship. 1979. IS YOUR CHLORINE SAFE TO DRINK. Journal American Water Works Association 71:450-454.   As a result of a recent contamination problem, an interim maximum level of 100 mg/L for the carbon tetrachloride content of chlorine used for water treatment has been established by the USEPA and agreed to by chlorine manufacturers
Manwaring, J.F., W.M. Blankenship, L. Miller, and F. Voigt. 1977. BIS (2-CHLOROETHYL) ETHER IN DRINKING-WATER - DETECTION AND REMOVAL. Journal American Water Works Association 69:210-213.   Arising from the National Organics Reconnaissance Survey, an investigation of drinking water in Philadelphia, Pa., discovered bis (2-chloroethyl) ether in the finished product. The source of the pollutant was a chemical manufacturing plant that cooperated with the EPA and the City of Philadelphia to remove the compound through pretreatment of the plant effluent
Pagnotto, V.A. 1973. EXPERIENCE IN PHILADELPHIA, PA. Journal American Water Works Association 65:134-137.   As computers become more and more versatile in their monitoring and operating capabilities, water- distribution systems must begin to incorporate their use for more efficient, reliable, and (in many cases) centrally controlled operations. In Philadelphia, a city with a population of 2 million, a computer is used for load dispatching. The acquisition and implementation of the system is discussed, and the observation of an experimental system is described.


Other Written Material


Ozonation at Belmont
Citation Notes Abstract
Hann, V. 1952. Ozone Purification of Water, TAPPI, 35:9:394-397. pics of ozone plant  
Mansfield, M.G., 1950. Philadelphia Improvement Program. Journal American Water Works Association. 42:7:645-653. Ozone at Belmont started 1949 DURING the past 30 years numer- ous plans have been developed for improving Philadelphia's water supply system. These programs in- volved not only the continuation of the present or nearby sources, but the utilization of an upland source of sup- ply as well. One feature common to all plans was the necessity for some degree of treatment of the raw water to render it safe and satisfactory for domestic and industrial uses. The main objections to the plans for con- tinued use of the present sources have been the high bacterial content of the raw water, the taste, odor and color of the finished product, and the hardness of the Schuylkill River supply. Vari- ous plans for upland sources of supply also provided for treatment but to a much lesser degree than is presently required.
Taylor, E.J., 1949. Philadelphia Ozonation Plant. Journal American Water Works Association. 41:4:322-330. Belmont ozone plant THE history of ozonation which may be associated with Philadelphia dates back to 1905, when D. Rivas, then assistant bacteriologist of the Philadelphia water department, ex- perimented with a plant erected by the United Water Improvement Co. The experiments were conducted with the water of the Schuylkill River, be- low the city, at 30th and Locust Streets in West Philadelphia. The results ob- tained in bacterial reduction, coli de- struction and oxidation of organic mat- ter were excellent
Hann, V., 1947. Water Quality Improvement with Ozone, Engineering News Record    
McLaughlin, M.J., 1943. Ozonation Tests on Philadelphia Water Supply, Water Works Engineering    


Historical Material
Citation Notes Abstract
Melosi, M.V. 2000. The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in America from Colonial Times to the Present; excerpts on Philadelphia.    
Baxter, S.S., V.A. Appleyard. 1962. Centralized Load and Quality Control Systems at Philadelphia. Journal American Water Works Association   The Philadelphia Water Depart- ment started operation in 1801, and has been in continuous operation since that time. It grew from a sys- tem which supplied only part of the original city with an area of only 2 sq mi, to a system which now supplies water to two million people in an in- dustrial city which covers 130 sq mi.
Hamilton, H.L. 1962. Corrosion Control Planning in Philadelphia. Journal American Water Works Association   In. 7 years, the Philadelphia Water Department has developed and fully integrated a corrosion control program into its design, construction, and opera- tional activities. Corrosion control fea- tures are incorporated into all new plans where required; inspectors have been specially trained to make sure that corrosion control facilities are properly installed; and a programed study of the existing transmission and distribution system has been under- taken to correct the existing problems. The development of such a broad project in a water system serving the fourth largest city in this country has been a major accomplishment.
Appleyard, V.A. 1958. Automated Developments in Philadelphia. Journal American Water Works Association. 50:1:7-14.   The word automation has become X an extremely popular one in Amer- ica today. Webster's definition of auto- matic with reference to machinery or mechanical devices is "self-acting or self-regulating." Of recent origin, the term automation is being used to cover much more than single devices. A re- cent definition of automation which is very good is : "The system and method of making processes automatic by the employment of self-controlling, self- acting machines for performing the nec- essary operations." By this definition, it is obvious that automation has ex- isted in water works for over 30 years. For instance, if a whole water works system consisted of only a pump and tank - as on a typical farm system - and the pump was controlled by a float or pressure device, then it could be said that complete automation was accom- plished. Public water systems, how- ever, are not usually this simple and elementary in their design and opera- tion. There are filter plants today that are practically fully automatic as are many pump stations. But nowhere does complete automation exist, where the whole process, from source to sink is completely automatic.
Arnold, G.E. 1955. History of Steam-operated Pumps at Philadelphia. Journal American Water Works Association. 47:1:49-59.   In 1799 the Philadelphia city council passed an ordinance authorizing a loan of $150,000 for the erection of steam pumps on the Schuylkill River at the foot of Chestnut Street and at Center Square, now the location of City Hall. The installation at Chest- nut Street and the river was used to pump water through a tunnel to the reservoir for the other steam pump, located in an ornate marble building in Center Square. The boilers for both engines were wooden boxes 9 ft high, 9 ft wide, and 15 ft long. The firebox inside the boiler was of wrought iron. The Schuylkill pump had a ca- pacity of 1,474,560 ale gallons * of water per day, with a consumption of 70 bu of bituminous coal. The Center Square engine had a capacity of 962,- 520 ale gallons a day, with a consump- tion of 55 bu of coal. The total cost of both pumping stations was $275,- 861.10.
Schaut, G.E., 1929. Philadelphia's Water at its Worst. Journal American Water Works Association. 21:4:531-541.   Where a surface stream is the starting point in a purification process involving sedimentation, filtration and chlorination it is quite common to find organisms in the water even after chlorination which ferment lactose and are not members of the colon-group. In thç case of Philadelphia all of its water comes from two rivers, the Schuyl- kill with a colon index of 26,900 per 100 cc. and the Delaware, with 27,500. Eighty per cent of the water is double filtered with the slow sand type as final filter
Siddons, J.S.V. 1919. Settling Basin Efficiency at Philadelphia. Journal American Water Works Association. 6:2:157-159   The Torresdale filter plant, located 10 miles above the center of the City of Philadelphia on the Delaware River, includes a series of slow sand units (final filters) which total 48f acres in area and 120 preliminary or roughing beds each having an area of 1200 square feet. A covered filtered water basin of 50,000,000 gallons capacity receives the filtered and treated water prior to its flow into a tunnel leading to the Lardner's Point Station, from which the filter delivery is pumped into the city distribution system