About PWD

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The Water Department, which began water system service in 1801, supplies water to the City of Philadelphia and a portion of Bucks County. It provides wastewater service to the City and to 10 municipalities and authorities located in Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks counties. The water system serves approximately 1.7 million people and the wastewater system serves approximately 2.2 million people.


The primary mission of the Philadelphia Water Department is to plan for, operate, and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively.

In fulfilling its mission, the utility seeks to be customer-focused, delivering services in a fair, equitable, and cost-effective manner, with a commitment to public involvement. Having already served the City and region for nearly two centuries, the utility’s vision for the future includes an active role in the economic development of Greater Philadelphia and a legacy of environmental stewardship.

Philadelphia Water, Wastewater & Stormwater System

  • Our water service area is 130 square miles. The City obtains approximately 57% of its water from the Delaware River and the balance from the Schuylkill River. The Samuel S. Baxter Plant is on the Delaware River. The Belmont and Queen Lane Plants are on the Schuylkill River.
  • The combined rated treatment capacity of these plants is 546 million gallons per day (MGD).
  • The combined maximum source water withdraw capacity from the two rivers that supply these plants is 680 MGD. The excess source water capacity enables higher than normal withdrawal on either river should conditions limit the withdrawal from one river.
  • The storage capacity for treated and untreated water in the combined plant and distribution system totals 1,065.5 million gallons.
  • PWD provides up to 35 MGD of water to Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority.
  • Our wastewater service area totals 360 square miles. 130 square miles are in the City and 230 square miles are in suburban areas.
  • The wastewater system consists of three water pollution control plants , 21 pumping stations, approximately 3,657 miles of sewers, and a privately managed centralized biosolids handling facility.
  • The wastewater system has effectively and significantly improved the water quality of the Delaware River, thereby fostering both public and private development of the riverfront for commercial, residential, and recreational use.
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