Report: Ephrata’s water sparkling

By on June 25, 2014

Imagine having tap water that surpassed the quality of bottled water sold in stores.


Turns out the Ephrata Area Joint Authority provides such water to Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township and Clay Township.

That’s according to a report presented to Ephrata Borough Council on June 17.

“This just gives me all the more ammunition to tell my friends they are wasting their money buying water,” said Mayor Ralph Mowen.

Tom Natarian, EAJA director of operations, authority, provided impressive data showing that the quality of Ephrata’s drinking water is certifiably excellent.

That was no surprise to Mowen who said he’s never purchased bottled water for his home.

Ephrata’s water earned The American Water Works Association’s (Pennsylvania section) top award of Director’s Award of Recognition.

“This is an important recognition from a national organization that attests to the quality of the water that is produced by EAJA,” said Natarian. “We are very honored to have received this recognition. “

Natarian noted that there’s quantity and quality in EAJA local system which processes more than 1,700,000 gallons per day and 627,483,000 gallons of drinking water annually.

“There are only one half of one percent of the water companies in the state that meet our standards.”

The modern plant constantly monitors water quality and adjusts as necessary to assure consistent quality. Computers now eliminate much of the human element and guess work which used to be a part of the process.

In an on-going effort to conserve water, the Authority has successfully eliminated leaks to save as many as 300,000 gallons of water per day.

Natarian showed a picture of a water valve from 1933 used in the very early days of the borough’s water works, then by contrast showed council members “how it’s done today.”

The Authority’s ultra modern, state of the art facilities cover three active wells and a water filter plant.

Natarian put this award into perspective:

“Along with the award the water department received, this is no small thing,” said council member Bob Good. “I would reiterate that it is very hard to obtain the requirement to earn this award and then exceed it [to this level] is almost unheard of.”

The mayor added that those who go to the local supermarkets filtered water machines are actually taking borough water and running through yet another filtration process.

Natarian challenged local water drinkers to consider that the borough water is an average of fourteen days old where it is unclear how long bottled water has been processed.

“There is also the possibility of cross contamination with filling jugs,” added Police Chief William Harvey. “Not everyone sanitizes their bottles prior to filling them.”

Water quality has also played a role in local commerce. Borough Manager BobThompson said that a key component in St. Boniface’s recent relocation was water quality.

“Their decision to relocated was that they wanted to stay within the water authority service area because of the quality of the water and its impact on the product,” said Thompson.

Thompson added his congratulations for a job well done.

“This has been a collaborative effort and the culmination of a community effort.”

In other borough council business, members voted unanimously to approve a request from the Ephrata Area School District to begin work on a new turf field at the Ephrata War Memorial Field. The school district presented the borough with storm water management plans associated with the project.

This was the last bit of red tape necessary relative to the project. Each of several motions dealt with a specific aspect of storm water planning, storage and system maintenance made necessary by the project. As planned, the new field will feature a subsurface storage facilities which will help to properly deal with any storm water accumulation in the area.

District Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop was on hand for the meeting.

“I wanted to thank the council for approving our storm water plan,” said Troop. “We think of this as a community project. We hope the War Memorial Field continues to be a centerpiece of the functions and activities of the community.”

Construction on the project could be underway as soon as this week with the project slated for completion by the end of August in time for the first home football game of the season.

For additional information on Ephrata Borough, please visit their website at You can also visit the Ephrata Area School District website at

Gary P. Klinger welcomes your questions and feedback via email at or via twitter at


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