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Pennsylvania American Water completes 24M in upgrades at Lower Makefield treatment plant


Pennsylvania American Water unveiled $24 million in upgrades at its Lower Makefield Township treatment plant Dec. 5 that company officials say will continue providing the 36,000 people served by the facility with high quality water.

It treats water for customers in Lower Makefield, Yardley Borough and portions of Falls Township.

“Upgrading our infrastructure allows us to continue the delivery of safe, reliable water service to our customers,” PAW President Justin Ladner said during a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of the facility, “This project represents a comprehensive investment and commitment to keeping pace with industry best practices, which is a central part of our work at Pennsylvania American Water.”

Work on the upgrades started in August of 2020 and was just recently completed. Among many other components, they include an ultraviolet light disinfection system to provide another layer of protection against viruses and bacteria that could be present in surface water sources and upgraded chlorine and ammonia gas systems for enhanced safety for employees and the community.

During a tour of the upgrades, Pennsylvania American Water official Jim Gable said the UV system was the major expense in the improvements, making up about a third of the total $24 million cost. He added that it’s possible the Lower Makefield upgrades and $360 million in improvements to company systems across the state slated for next year might mean a rate hike for customers to help recover some of the money spent on upgrades.

The Lower Makefield plant has the capacity to treat up to 6 million gallons of water a day and has been nationally recognized with Directors Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Partnership for Safe Water program for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards, a PAW press release stated.

Among those attending the Dec. 5 event at the plant on Edgewood Road in Lower Makefield were many Pennsylvania American Water officials; council member David Appelbaum, President Caroline Thompson, Manager Paula Johnson and Police Chief Joseph D. Kelly III from Yardley Borough; Lower Makefield Supervisor John Lewis; state Sen. Steve Santarsiero; state Rep. Perry Warren and Pennsbury School Board member Gary Sanderson.

"The PA Public Utility Commission sets our rates based on the total capital investments that we make across the Commonwealth (example: $373 million in 2021) spread across our entire customer base," added Pennsylvania American Water Senior Manager of Government and External Affairs Kara Rahn. "We currently have a rate request pending before the PUC that is based on the approximately $1.13 billion in water and wastewater system investments the company will make through 2023 to continue providing safe and reliable service."

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