Protecting Water Quality

Lehigh County Authority (LCA) is dedicated to our mission – to protect public health and the environment by providing high-quality, safe, and reliable water and wastewater services. We strive to meet or exceed all federal and state regulatory requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, which govern our actions and responses related to water quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the national standards for safe drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. For our wastewater services, water quality is protected through the Clean Water Act. The standards set forth by EPA are enforced by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). These regulatory agencies guide our operations, including how often we test your drinking water and treated wastewater, and what contaminants we must include in our testing programs. EPA and PA DEP set the limits on what is acceptable for both drinking water and wastewater, and LCA takes the responsibility to meet these requirements very seriously!

Learn more about recent issues involving unregulated contaminants.


Your Drinking Water:

We want customers to feel confident that LCA is protecting your water quality. If water is ever unsafe or negatively impacted for drinking, our customers would be notified directly by LCA, including direct contact by phone if your property is impacted, alerts on our website, updates on our outage map, and posts on social media including Facebook and Twitter.

On an annual basis, we share water quality reports, also known as Consumer Confidence Reports, for each of our service areas. The reports are published on our website and made available to all customers. Our water quality map is available to help customers find a property location and the water quality report for their service area. Each report includes educational information about the water system, test results from our water quality monitoring program, along with any violations and corrective action taken.

Where Can I Learn More?

To learn more about the Safe Drinking Water Act, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/sdwa

To learn more about the Clean Water Act, please visit:
https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act

To learn more about drinking water safety requirements LCA must follow, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/drinking-water-regulations


Water Quality Issues Involving Unregulated Contaminants:

The science behind protecting our water quality is constantly changing as new contaminants are discovered and laboratory methods improve.

As science evolves, new contaminants are being discovered and old contaminants are being associated with new risks. EPA and PA DEP carefully analyze new contaminants (sometimes called “emerging contaminants”) and develop new regulations that LCA must follow to ensure the public’s health is protected.

Recently, our region was affected by two situations involving unregulated chemicals. Read more below:

Emmaus Consecutive Division – LCA purchases water for our 417 customers in our Emmaus Consecutive Division from the Borough of Emmaus. LCA recently learned that the Borough, which is responsible for testing the water that enters their distribution system, received results that showed two of five wells in their system exceeded the EPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion (70 ppt) for Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)/Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  However, due to the current unregulated status of PFAS, no specific action is required to address the issue beyond public notice. LCA is actively working with the Borough on solutions to remove PFOS and PFOA from the Borough’s water supply.

Read more about the Emmaus PFOS/PFOA issue.

Discharge of 1,4 Dioxane from Lehigh County Authority’s Wastewater System – In 2021 LCA discovered that1,4 Dioxane had entered our regional wastewater system through an unauthorized discharge from an industrial user. After passing through LCA’s treatment systems, the chemical was discharged into the Lehigh River in Allentown. The unauthorized discharge was quickly identified and eliminated as soon as LCA became aware of the problem. There was no impact on LCA’s drinking water quality, or the quality of service provided to our customers, and no long-term impact for our system, or any downstream users.

LCA has implemented ongoing monitoring to manage the risk of reoccurrence in the future.

Read more about the 1,4 Dioxane incident.