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Aqua customers in southeastern Pennsylvania asked to conserve water in aftermath of Ida

By George Solis

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    PHOENIXVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Crews are working around the clock to get things running at full capacity at the Aqua America plant in Phoenixville, Pa. after last week’s storm caused remarkable damage.

“We hadn’t seen flood on the Schuylkill like this since 1869,” said Marc Lucca, president of Aqua Pennsylvania. “I can only imagine how bad it must be for people who have this kind of damage at their homes.”

Lucca said of the two plants that sit next to the Schuylkill River and Pickering Creek, Pickering East is now back up and running. Pickering West, however, is another story.

“The Pickering West treatment plant is larger than East. It would provide anywhere from 25 to 40% or more of the drinking water that serves southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Lucca.

“You wouldn’t have been able to stand. Not only that, the velocity of the water would have swept you away,” added Lucca about the height of the floodwater.

The plant serves roughly one million customers in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware counties.

While repair work is still underway, utility officials are asking customers to cut back on water use.

“Anyone that can conserve water is going to contribute to the recovery of our drinking water system across all the people we serve in southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Lucca.

To help two communities still partially under a boil water notice in Chester County, Aqua has set up water stations for pickup in Charlestown and East Whiteland townships.

While not related in Lower Bucks County, officials noted points of low to no pressure in their water utility because of conditions on the river and also issued its own boil water advisory.

Utility companies are testing waters and expect to have results in the next few days to determine whether or not boil water advisories can be lifted.

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