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Friday, October 24, 2014

Certified Water Treatment Officials did not know that they were required to maintain the minimum disinfectant concentration

DEP Fines Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority for Failure to Maintain Minimum Disinfection of Drinking Water

PITTSBURGH -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has imposed one of the largest civil penalties in the last 20 years for violations of Safe Drinking Water regulations in the southwest region of the state. The $114,000 fine was brought against the Wilkinsburg Penn Joint Water Authority (WPJWA) for failing to maintain adequate disinfection of water the Authority delivered to its customers in November 2013.

“Safe Drinking Water regulations require that community water systems maintain a minimum disinfectant concentration in the water entering the distribution system,” DEP Regional Director Susan Malone said. “On at least fifteen occasions during November 2013, WPJWA failed to meet this requirement. In addition, the regulations require that a community water system notify the department within one hour and notify its customers within twenty-four hours. WPJWA did neither.”

Failure to maintain adequate disinfection is a violation that poses a threat to the health of those who receive and consume water supplied by community water systems, and timely notice allows the department and customers to take steps to protect public health. Due to the serious nature of these violations, DEP imposed a fine and outlined steps the Authority must take to ensure a similar incident does not occur in the future.

According to WPJWA, the violations occurred because its Certified Water Treatment Officials did not know that they were required to maintain the minimum disinfectant concentration. To address this claimed shortcoming, the Authority will provide 15 hours of disinfection training to the nine Certified Water Treatment Officials it employs. The training must be completed by Feb. 28, 2015.

WPJWA serves a population of approximately 120,000 individuals through approximately 40,000 connections. Its main office is located in Wilkinsburg.

For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us or call 412-442-4000.

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