EAST BRADY – Borough officials in East Brady last week wrote a letter to the editor to the Butler Eagle, responding to stories recently published in that newspaper regarding comments made by Petroleum Valley Regional Water Authority representatives.
In the articles, PVRWA officials were critical of the quality of water their system purchases from East Brady, as well as the cost charged by East Brady for the water.
East Brady Borough Council’s response is as follows:
“Drinking water is a topic of vital concern to many, as it should be. Water is the substance of life and safe drinking water is needed by all. It is very unfortunate that campaigns of misinformation and disinformation have leaked from the pipelines of Washington, D.C. and infiltrated water systems here in Butler County. The recent articles regarding the Petroleum Valley Regional Water Authority (PVRWA) and the Borough of East Brady water systems contain their share of inaccuracies and misleading statements.
“The three main points alleged by PVRWA are that the water from East Brady does not meet DEP standards, the cost to buy water from East Brady is unfairly high, and East Brady water losses are excessive. None of these points are accurate, fair or balanced.
“PVRWA sampling in March 2019 found that 3 of 20 water samples, taken from taps located throughout the distribution system, exceeded the lead maximum contaminant level set by DEP. PVRWA claims that the East Brady water is causing these lead violations in the PVRWA system by the statement ‘….lead levels in their (PVRWA) system can’t be their own fault. Their water system was built long after lead pipe usage was discontinued.’ Neither the distribution system piping, nor the East Brady water supply, are responsible for the elevated lead levels in the three of 20 samples tested by PVRWA.
“High lead levels are most often found in structures with lead service lines or in lead-containing plumbing or fixtures. If the water from East Brady was the source or cause of lead it would have been found system wide in all, or most, of the samples taken in PVRWA and the Borough. This was not the case and the fact that only three samples out of 20 had elevated lead levels proves that the problems were limited to isolated locations in the PVRWA system and was not a result of the water supply from East Brady.
“The cost of East Brady water is very reasonable when compared to other public water systems. A 2016 survey of 10 other public water systems in the area showed water rates ranged from $4.25 to $12.20 per thousand gallons. East Brady water at that time was $1.82 per thousand gallons and recently increased in 2018 to $3.25 per thousand — still the lowest in the area. The rate increase was implemented largely to start planning and saving for future repairs, maintenance and upgrades that are needed to keep any water system running properly and reliably. East Brady believes this was not price gouging but prudent planning.
“Finally, the claim of excessive water loss by PVRWA is well, to say the least, confusing. Numbers can be used to tell different stories and to come to different conclusions. The numbers reported by East Brady do not tell the same tale as that spun by PVRWA. In 2018 the East Brady Borough annual water report to DEP showed a 16 percent water loss. This is well within the 20 percent limit generally accepted by DEP. Water loss in a system, particularly an older distribution system, can occur through leaking joints, cracked pipes, and inaccurate meters. Unmetered and unaccounted for water in water system flushing, fire protection, process and facility wash-down, etc may also contribute to water loss numbers. Water use measurement and record keeping is rarely 100 percent accurate, but East Brady is doing a commendable job at controlling losses in their system. Coincidentally, in 2018 PVRWA reported over 33 percent water loss in their system.
“Easy Brady takes the issues of water quality, affordability and conservation very seriously. When the Borough had a problem with corrosive water they worked closely, and voluntarily, with DEP to address it in a timely manner.
“Inaccurate innuendos and unsubstantiated implications do not good neighbors make. Much more could be accomplished in this region by working together than by finger pointing and accusations. PVRWA and its customers would be best served by abdicating this befuddling campaign of misinformation and disinformation and direct more efforts towards addressing their own water system problems.
“East Brady works hard to provide and maintain a safe and reliable supply of drinking water for all of its Borough and bulk water customers. So if you are traveling through East Brady Borough feel free to enjoy a cold drink of Borough tap water because, the water is fine.”