The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published a source water assessment for our water system in May 2003. The assessment concluded that the aquifer is susceptible to some risk of contamination from a variety of origins. Highway, railroad and barge accidents pose potential contaminant releases. Underground storage tanks and business activities in the area are also identified as potential contaminant sources. In 2009, the Sewickley Water Authority published our source water protection plan, which was developed by Spotts, Stevens, and McCoy, Engineers and Environmental Consultants. The plan continues to be used as a tool to protect our source water.
From 2000 to 2009, the Sewickley Water Authority worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that contaminants from an abandoned underground gasoline storage tank in the area did not impact the water quality of our wells. Specifically, Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a gas additive used from the 1970s to the early 1990s, was the primary threat to our wells. During 2004, the DEP installed a groundwater pumping system to protect the wells and 31 monitoring wells. Later a final approved cleanup plan was implemented by the DEP, which included remedial measures at the spill site including a groundwater pumping system, the operation of a soil vapor extraction system, oxygen enhancement, and treatment with ozone and peroxide to remove contaminants. Over a period of several years, the DEP continued monthly sampling of the monitoring well points to track the migration of contaminants in the groundwater. Over the years, sample results indicated that the remedial measures were successful. In 2009 the DEP closed project after the remedial efforts were complete and the monitoring sample results showed that the Sewickley Water Authority’s wells were not impacted.