Drinking Water

Our dedicated professionals operate three drinking water facilities, which treat an average of more than 300 million gallons of water a day, ensuring residents and businesses have reliable access to clean, safe drinking water.

Water Quality

Providing a safe and abundant supply of water is our commitment to all of our customers, both large and small.

View the latest Drinking Water Quality Report

Learn more about drinking water quality in Philadelphia →

Sourcewater Issues

Learn about things happening in Philadelphia’s watersheds that raise concerns and pose challenges to the protection of rivers that provide our water.

Learn more about issues affecting our water sources →

Lead in Water

The drinking water delivered to your home meets or exceeds state and federal water quality standards, but high lead levels in water may be found if customers have lead in their plumbing.

Learn more about lead and drinking water →

Main Breaks

When there is a loss of water, PWD crews are available to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Learn more about water mains and what to do when they break →

Backflow Prevention

Cross-Connection Control Regulations protect our drinking water from contamination by preventing backflows.

Learn more about backflow compliance →

Drinking Water FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to the City’s drinking water.

View FAQ →

Drinking Water Treatment

PWD uses proven treatment practices and participates in groundbreaking research to provide drinking water that consistently exceeds EPA standards. Philadelphia’s drinking water sources are the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.

The River

The source water comes from either the Delaware or Schuylkill River.

Natural Settling

After it has been pumped from the river, water is stored in reservoirs or basins to allow sediments to settle.


Chlorine is added to kill disease-causing pathogens.


Chemicals are added to the water to cause smaller particles in water to join together . This makes them heavier so that they will settle to the bottom of the basin.


The water is mixed to make sure the added chemicals are well blended and react with all of the smaller particles. The particles combine to form “floc,” which settle to the bottom of the basin.


The newly joined particles (or “floc”) settle by gravity and are removed from the bottom of the mixing tanks.


The water is drawn through filters, which remove finer particles still in the water for additional purification.

Final Treatment

Fluoride is added to help prevent tooth decay, and zinc orthophosphate is added to minimize corrosion activity between water and piping materials. Ammonia is added to reduce chlorine-like tastes and to maintain the chlorine in the water.

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