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RAWA Response to Reading Eagle article 9/19/2018

Sep 21, 2018 • by Reading Area Water Authority

Reading Area Water Authority is always in crisis mode. Water is a vital part of our lives and Reading Area Water Authority knows exactly what it means when water service to a customer is interrupted. Interruption of water service is always a crisis and Reading Area Water Authority plans, and plans some more, to stand ready to address the crisis caused by any interruption of service. And because water mains do break, for a variety of reasons, mostly unexpected and unanticipated, RAWA’s crisis planning includes how to repair these water main breaks. Planning on how to address any water main breaks is part of RAWA’s every day crisis mode attitude because RAWA’s commitment to the citizens of Reading and its customers is to always provide a constant and safe flow of water.

Recently, there have been several main breaks in two large water mains along Route 61 which serve the City of Reading. RAWA believes that these breaks were directly caused by activities of third parties over which RAWA had no control, which led to water infiltration, sinkhole activity, and other soil integrity issues. When these breaks occurred, RAWA repaired the leaks and maintained service to the vast majority of its customers with minimal disruption of flow.

In accordance with procedures previously established by RAWA. Water main breaks can be repaired within a reasonable amount of time and any large main break most often will be repaired within twelve hours or less, which is one quarter of the time before service areas would be impacted with low or no water flow. RAWA has crews and materials standing by to effectuate these emergency repairs. RAWA also participates in a program called PAWARN which is designed to obtain assistance from other water authorities in Pennsylvania during periods of crisis.

The discussion which occurred at the September 18, 2018, RAWA Board meeting concerned RAWA replacing a 700 foot section of 30 inch pipe along Route 61 in the area where the recent breaks occurred, due to concerns that the activities of the third party which caused the initial break may have disturbed the integrity of the soil underneath the pipes. RAWA is being proactive, consistent with its mission to provide drinking water to its customers, to prevent or minimize the chance of future disruption of service, which crisis mode planning is a typical part of RAWA’s day. RAWA also discussed developing the action plan for maintaining service to its customers as issues with the two large pipes under Route 61 are addressed.

Dealing with crisis is all in a day’s work for RAWA. RAWA can assure all of its customers that RAWA is doing everything possible to maintain the flow and to provide safe and adequate supplies of water to all of its customers.

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