From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published August 18, 2007 02:42 PM

Pa. Wastewater Treatment Plant Malfunction Spills Sewage Into Schuylkill River

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - An equipment failure at a Pennsylvania sewage treatment has spilled untreated sewage into a local river. The accident happened at the Oaks Sewage Treatment Plant in Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The malfunction resulted in the release of an unknown quantity of partially-treated wastewater into the Schuylkill River, said Environmental Protection Regional Director Joseph A. Feola. Residents are being warned to avoid recreational activities in the water.

"This release has created higher turbidity in the river," said Feola. "Downstream water suppliers have been notified and will protect the public by monitoring the quality of raw water to avoid taking in turbid water."

A DEP water quality specialist on-site reported elevated solids in the effluent coming from the treatment plant, where a new pump station was put online yesterday. There is no threat to drinking water supplies; DEP notified downstream water suppliers, as well as Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia counties.

Philly RiverCast, which provides a daily forecast of Schuylkill River water quality in Philadelphia, has posted a warning for recreational activity on the river, based on information about this wastewater release. At this time, the water is not considered suitable for jet skiing, wakeboarding, water skiing, kayaking, swimming events and wading.

The department will continue to investigate the incident and to work with the plant to prevent additional spills.


The plant, which is located at the confluence of the Perkiomen Creek and Schuylkill River, is operated by the Lower Perkiomen Valley Regional Sewer Authority.

For more information on point source pollution, visit DEP's Web site at, keyword: Watersheds.

CONTACT: Deborah Fries of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental

Protection, +1-484-250-5808, cell: +1-484-868-2452

Web site:

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