Borough of Carlisle 2021 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report

Public Water System I.D. 7210002
Serving the residents of the Borough of Carlisle and applicable portions of Middlesex and North and South Middleton Townships

Every year, the Borough of Carlisle publishes a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to inform you about the water quality produced and delivered by the Borough of Carlisle Water Treatment Plant. Safe water is vital to our community and we want you to understand the information on the source of your water, what's in it, and the health risks associated with any contaminants that may be found.

Below you will find highlights from the 2021 Consumer Confidence Report. You can view the full report here.

Table of Contents
1. About Your Water
2. How We Keep Your Water Safe?
3. Frequently Asked Questions
4. How the EPA Sets Limits
5. Your Water Data
6. What You Need to Know About Lead
7. 2021 Violations
8. How Can You Get Involved?
9. Questions and Feedback



About Your Water
Where Your Drinking Water Comes From

Shot of Conodoguinet Creek

Most drinking water in the United States comes from a river, a lake, or an underground well. The water we provide to you originally comes from the Conodoguinet Creek. We monitor the land around the source of your drinking water and we watch this area closely to assure nothing is happening nearby that could impact its quality. We withdraw around 3 million gallons of water from the creek daily. The population served by the treatment plant is between 20,000 - 25,000 people depending on the time of year.


What is in Your Drinking Water?

Glass of drinking water

Before we treat the water, it can contain coliform bacteria, toxic chemicals, trash, minerals, and metals. After we clean it, the water is still not pure. While it does not have harmful bacteria in it, it may still contain small amounts of minerals or metals. Don’t let this worry you. You can actually drink water that has tiny amounts of some metals and minerals without getting sick. In fact, some small amounts of minerals and metals are what gives water its taste. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists continuously evaluate potential pollutants to determine what amounts are safe.

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How We Keep Your Water Safe
How we clean the water is similar to other water treatment plants in the U.S. and is required by law.

The Borough of Carlisle Water Treatment Plant follows these five steps:

Graphic Showing Thickening Process
Step 1: Pre-Treatment
The water we collect is screened from the creek and brought into our treatment plant where chemicals are added in safe amounts to cause small particles of pollutants present to stick to one another, forming larger particles. This is called coagulation. 

Graphic Showing Thickening Process
Step 2: Settling 
Over time, the larger particles become heavy enough to fall (or settle) to the bottom of the tank where they are removed. 


Graphic Showing Filtering Process
Step 3: Filtering
The remaining water flows through filters made of layers of fine materials of sand, anthracite coal, garnet, and types of media. These layers stop even smaller particles of pollutants from getting through, and only very clear water is left.


Graphic showing Disinfection Process
Step 4: Disinfection
Bacteria or viruses may still be present in the water, so a chemical, chlorine, is added to remove them. An additional chemical is also added at a safe level to protect the pipes from corrosion as the water travels to your home. 

Graphic of Water Storage Tank
Step 5: Storage and Delivery
Once the disinfection process is complete, the treated water is stored until needed. Storage usually takes place in an underground storage tank called a “clear well”, and also in elevated storage tanks that are visible around town. The stored water is sent through underground pipelines all over town in what is called a “distribution system”. 


Another look at how water travels from the source to your home

Diagram of the Water Treatment Plant

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Frequently Asked Questions About Water Treatment

Why is there chlorine in my water?
Chlorine is used to destroy disease-causing organisms in water, an essential step in delivering safe drinking water and protecting public health. According to the EPA and other health agencies, chlorine is currently one of the most effective disinfectants to kill harmful microorganisms. Chlorination is the most widely used method for disinfecting water supplies in the United States. Chlorine is first applied at the water treatment facility and a continual residual is maintained to keep the water safe as it travels from the source, through the distribution system, and finally to your water tap. Disinfection of all public water supplies is required by Federal and State laws and regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Surface Water Treatment Rule.

Does Carlisle add fluoride to my water?
Carlisle does add fluoride to the water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that protects teeth from tooth decay. Almost all water contains some naturally occurring fluoride, but usually not enough to prevent tooth decay. Many communities adjust the amount of fluoride in the water supply to a level known to reduce tooth decay and promote good oral health. Water fluoridation is safe, effective, and healthy. Seventy years of research, thousands of studies, and the experience of more than 210 million Americans tell us that water fluoridation is effective in preventing cavities and is safe for children and adults. Almost 75 percent of the U.S. population is served by fluoridated community water systems.
Water Treatment Plant
Is my water hard or soft?
Hardness describes the level of dissolved natural minerals (calcium and magnesium) in drinking water. These minerals are an important part of a healthy diet. Hard water contains more of these minerals. A gradual build-up of calcium and magnesium from hard water can form harmless, filmy white deposits on faucets, bathtubs, and teakettles. Hard water also requires more soap to lather fully.

Carlisle’s water is considered hard due to the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in our water source. The water hardness in Carlisle averages 168 ppm or mg/L or expressed another way, 9.8 grains per gallon. The water will be harder during dry or drought periods than it will be during wet weather. Water hardness ranged from 85 – 237 ppm or 5.0 – 13.8 grains per gallon throughout the year.

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How the EPA Sets Limits
The EPA studies pollutants and determines what levels are safe to drink. This process can take several years. the safe limit is called a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), and your water quality has to, by law, make sure the water it produces does not go over this limit.
The Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) is the level at which there are no known negative effects on someone’s health and it allows for an adequate margin of safety. The MCL is set as close as possible to the goal. While the goal is not enforceable by law, the MCL is. Sometimes, the MCL is actually higher than the goal. This is possible because either (1) the technology needed to measure such small quantities of the MCLG is not available; (2) the technology needed to remove the pollutant or reduce it to the MCLG is not available yet; or (3) the cost of treating the pollutant to the MCLG is much greater than the benefit of having a lower amount of the pollutant. The human body is able to safely handle some tiny levels of pollutants so EPA allows some to be present so that water rates stay affordable for most people.

Not All Pollutants Have Limits 
EPA doesn’t have a legal limit for all the pollutants that may exist in water supplies, but every year, it studies new pollutants to see whether new limits should be established. EPA does this with help from water utilities all over the country. PFAS and PFOA, for example, are “forever” chemicals found in many types of consumer products. There is currently no limit for it in water but it is one of the groups of chemicals EPA is looking at closely. We are helping EPA  by testing for PFAS and PFOA in our water to help them learn more about where it occurs and whether it needs to be regulated.

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Your Water Data
Every year, we take samples of water from the water treatment plant and the pipes in our system and run numerous tests on these samples at our water quality lab. We look for bacteria, metals, and chemicals to make sure the water continues to be safe to drink. We look for bacteria, metals, and chemicals to make sure the water continues to be safe to drink. We test for bacteria on a monthly basis, as required by law, and there are 11 locations in the water system where we take samples for analysis. The limit for coliform bacteria is no bacteria can be present in 5% or more of monthly samples. Four times per year we look for byproducts of the disinfection process. When chlorine, the disinfectant we use, starts to dissolve in the water, it can form new compounds. These compounds, trihalomethane (THM) and haloacetic acid (HAA5) have been known to cause cancer when high levels are present in the water. The legal limit for drinking water is 80 ppb and 60 ppb respectively. We test for these compounds at 4 different locations in the water system. We also take water samples from 30 different homes in our system every 3 years to test for lead and copper.


Clean water being poured out over hand
We have never gotten a result that did not meet requirements.

If we did, we would act fast to protect you and your family. We would contact our customers immediately through various media outlets.



For your information, we have compiled a list in the tables below showing the testing of your drinking water during 2021. The PA DEP allows us to monitor for some pollutants less than once per year because the concentration of the pollutants does not change frequently. Some of our data, though representative, are more than one year old.

Each table includes the amount found, the goal, the highest level allowed, (the “MCL”), the highest we detected in samples, and the lowest amount found. You will see that for everything we tested for the amount we found in your water was safe, meaning it was less than the highest level allowed by the law.

This report may contain terms and abbreviations that you are not familiar with. We have provided definitions for some of the terms below to help you better understand the data.

Microbial (related to Assessments/Corrective Actions regarding TC positive results)

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

Treatment Technique

Assessments / Corrective Actions

Typical Source

Total Coliform Bacteria

2021

Yes

NA

Any system that has failed to complete all the required assessments or correct all identified sanitary defects, is in violation of the treatment technique requirements.

0 – None
Needed

Naturally present in the       environment

 

Microbial (related to E. coli)

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

Treatment Technique

Positive Samples

Typical Source

E. coli

2021

Yes

0

Any system that has failed to complete all the required assessments or correct all identified sanitary defects, is in  violation of the treatment technique requirements.

0

Human and animal fecal waste



DISINFECTION BY-PRODUCTS PRECURSOR REMOVAL - Collected at the surface water treatment plant

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

MCL

Range of % Removal Required

Range of % Removal Achieved

Number of Quarters Out of Compliance

Typical Source

Total Organic Carbon (TOC)

2021

Yes

NA

TT

15% - 45%

32% - 51%

0

Naturally present in the environment.


DISINFECTANT RESIDUAL MONITORING - Collected at the treatment plant entry point and within the distribution system

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MRDLG

MRDL

Minimum Required
Chlorine Residual

Compliance Result

Range Detected

Typical Source

Entry Point Chlorine Residual (ppm) 1

2021

Yes

4

4

0.20

1.7

1.7-2.3

Water additive used to control microbes.

Distribution System Chlorine Residual (ppm) 2

2021

Yes

4

4

0.2

1.7

1.1-1.7

Water additive used to control microbes.

1  – Data represents the lowest residual entering the distribution system from the surface water treatment plant.

2  – Data represents the highest monthly average of chlorine residuals measured throughout the distribution system.



DISINFECTION BY-PRODUCT MONITORING - Collected in the distribution system

Substance (with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

MCL

Highest Compliance Result

Range Detected

Typical Source

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) (ppb)

2021

Yes

NA

80

62

16 to 62

By-product of drinking water            disinfection (chlorination)

Haloacetic Acids (HAAs) (ppb)

2021

Yes

NA

60

45

16 to 45

By-product of drinking water            disinfection (chlorination)

NOTE: Compliance is based on the running annual average at each location. The Highest Compliance Result reflects the highest average at any location and the Range Detected reflects all samples from this year used to calculate the running annual average.



TURBIDITY – Continuous monitoring at the surface water treatment plant

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

MCL

Level Detected

Sample Date

Typical Source

Turbidity (NTU)

2021

Yes

0

TT: Single result =1 NTU

0.057 NTU highest level detected

12/17/2021

Soil erosion and runoff.

2021

Yes

NA

TT: At least 95% of samples <0.3 NTU

100% of all monthly samples were less than 0.1 NTU

12 months

Soil erosion and runoff.




OTHER REGULATED SUBSTANCES - Collected at the water treatment facility

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

MCL

Highest Compliance Result

Range Detected

Typical Source

Barium (ppm)

2021

Yes

2

2

0.047

Single Sample

Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits.

Fluoride (ppm)

2021

Yes

2

2

0.52

Single Sample

Erosion of natural deposits; water additive which promotes strong teeth; discharge from fertilizer & aluminum factories

Nitrate (ppm)

2021

Yes

10

10

4.2

2.2 to 4.2

Runoff from fertilizer use; industrial or domestic wastewater discharges; erosion of natural deposits.



LEAD AND COPPER MONITORING - At least 30 tap water samples are collected at customers’ taps every 3-years

Substance
(with units)

Year Sampled

Compliance Achieved

MCLG

Action Level (AL)

90th Percentile

No. of Homes Sampled

Homes Above Action Level

Typical Source

Lead (ppb)

2019

Yes

0

15 ppb

< 2.0

30

1

Corrosion of household plumbing systems.

Copper (ppm)

2019

Yes

1.3

1.3 ppm

0.69

30

0

Corrosion of household plumbing systems.

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What You Need to Know About Lead
Some of the things that can change the water quality on your property include your plumbing and pipe material, how long you go without running the water, and how you connect outdoor hoses to your home’s water supply. The main pollutants we worry about that your water may touch are lead and copper. If present, high levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Both lead and copper (which can be a source of lead) can get into the water if your plumbing fixtures or pipes, including the pipe that brings water into the home from the street, are made from lead or copper.

Lead is more commonly found in pipes and plumbing of homes built before 1951. Copper pipes could be connected with joint material made of lead, which was common before 1987. Lead joint material can be used anywhere in the house, from fixtures to pipes to the pipes in your yard. Brass faucets and faucet parts, such as fittings and valves, can also contain lead. Fixtures installed before 2014 are likely to contain some brass, even if they have a chrome finish.

What can I do?

Flush your taps. You can minimize your exposure by following the 6-3-3 rule. If your water has not been used for six hours, flush your tap for 3 minutes, about 3 gallonsRunning Water Faucet of water, before consuming. To conserve water, catch the running water and use it to water your plants.

Use cold water for drinking and cooking. Hot water has the potential to contain more lead than cold water. If hot water is needed for cooking, heat cold water on the stove or in the microwave.

Routinely remove and clean all faucet aerators.


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2021 Violations
We are required to report the results of monitoring of your drinking water for specific contaminants on a regular basis by the 10th day of each calendar month for the previous month. Results of coliform bacteria testing and chlorine residual monitoring are an indicator of whether or not your drinking water meets health standards. We did not report all results for coliform bacteria and chlorine for the month of November 2021 to the state drinking water program by the December 10, 2021 deadline. Although public health was not impacted, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we did to correct the situation.

What should I do? There is nothing you need to do at this time since your water quality was not impacted.

What is being done? While we did not notify the state as quickly as we should have, we submitted the required data on December 30, 2021. We have provided the missing reports to the state and have revised our procedures to ensure we comply with reporting requirements in the future. We are no longer in violation.

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How Can You Get Involved?
We encourage public interest and participation in our community’s decisions affecting drinking water. Regular Municipal Water Authority meetings occur on the third Wednesday of January, April, and July at 5:00 p.m. and at 4:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday in October at the Carlisle Water Treatment Plant at 165 Longs Gap Road. The October meeting includes an annual facility tour open to the public.

Water Plant

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Feedback
If you have questions about the Water Quality Report, contact Sara Crawshaw, Borough of Carlisle Laboratory Supervisor (717-240-6991), or Borough offices (717-249-4422). You can call EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline for more information about pollutants in water and how they may affect your health at 1-800-426-4791.

If you have questions regarding anything in the report, need any further explanations, or have things you would like to know that we can include in future reports, you can also use the form below to contact us.


Water Report Feedback


 

Carlisle Borough Committed to Excellence in Community Service
Carlisle Borough 53 West South Street +1 717-249-4422 Mon-Fri: 7:30am - 4:30pm