Source Water Protection Committee (SWPC) History
In 2001, the AWA established the SWPC to address watershed issues. The Committee is formed not only of Authority employees, but more importantly, members of the community including local government officials, non-profit agency volunteers, business leaders, students, and local residents.
The SWPC strives to provide relevant information on the AWA watershed system and characteristics, describe the quality and quantity of water in the systems, identify present and future water resource demands, present and facilitate the implementation of water protection efforts, and enhance stakeholders understanding and involvement in watershed development.
What is a Watershed?
A watershed is the land that water flows across or through on its way to a stream, river, lake, or ocean. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes and cross political boundaries. Altoona’s watersheds are part of the Juniata River Watershed, which is part of the Susquehanna River Watershed, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Altoona Water Authority water system consists of 12 reservoirs. Each Reservoir has its own unique watershed. These are the sources of drinking water for much of Blair County. The well-trained employees dedicated to supplying the best water quality possible treat this water at one of the AWA’s 7 advanced treatment facilities.
What is Source Water
Source water is untreated water from streams, rivers, lakes, or underground aquifers which is used to supply private wells and public drinking water.
Threats to Source Water
There are many ways people can pollute their watersheds and source water: Clear Cutting Forests, Abandoned Mine Drainage, Illegal Dumping, Roadway Use and Spills, Erosion Caused by All Terrain Vehicles, and Nutrient and Pathogen Contribution from Agricultural and Septic Systems.
Why Protect Source Water?
Source water feeds the reservoirs and water treatment facilities that feed water to your homes. Protecting source water helps to provide safer water for you and your family. Protect it because you drink it.
Protecting Source Water
Illegal dumping is one of the biggest threats and easiest to prevent with active public involvement. When illegal dumping is occurring near you, we encourage you to report the incident. Do not pour harmful household chemicals onto the street or onto the ground.
The SWPC is taking the following actions to accomplish its goals and prevent watershed pollution:
- Expanding number of water quality monitoring points
- Eliminating illegal dumps within city watersheds and introducing signage in watersheds to enlighten the public that they have entered a watershed
- Educational outreach to the public through the creation of a watershed protection video, display, and brochures. Also, the Authority regularly participates in educational tours of its treatment plants, abandoned mine drainage treatment systems, and watersheds
- Support of sustainable forestry practices in Authority watersheds
The SWPC are also working toward these goals:
- The production of an Emergency Response Plan focusing on possible contamination of AWA watersheds from spills
- The purchase of conservation easements within watershed boundaries
- Map the watersheds using Geographic Information Systems
- The creation of an Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC)
The SWPC meets bi-monthly at the Westerly Waste Water Treatment Plant on Route 764 in Duncansville, PA. If you would like to learn more about the SWPC or would like to volunteer and become a member please attend a SWPC meeting. We encourage you to attend. For more information on specific meeting dates and times, contact Tobias Nagle or Ken Streilein at (814) 949-2250.