Water & Sewer Departments
NOTICE: Water Department has filed for a rate increase. You may view the rate increase filing here:
The Water & Sewer Departments are located in the Borough offices. The Water & Sewer bill is sent out on a quarterly basis after a quarter has ended. You may expect to receive your bill about 4 to 6 weeks after the quarter. Water bills are generated using the MasterTrak Utility Billing System. Water bills may be paid at Ambler Borough Hall, 122 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. Water payments may also be paid at the Water Department's Drop Box located on the left-hand side of York Street just past the Borough Hall parking lot.
Questions, concerns or complaints specific to the water department's billing or service can be sent to email@example.com.
The Borough Water Department now offers its residential water customers a
WATER LINE PROTECTION PLAN. Download the brochure and application to sign up for the plan.
Click here to view our PA PUC Water Tariff. This document gives the rates and rules governing the furnishing of water service to consumers located outside of the Borough of Ambler in the townships of Upper Dublin, Whitemarsh, Whitpain and Lower Gwynedd.
Water charges are based on usage. The water rates can be found in Archives.
Sewer charges are also based on water usage. The rate is $6 per 1000 gallons of water used. Please direct any questions or comments to the Borough Manager’s Office, Ambler Borough, 122 East Butler Ave, Ambler, PA 19002, or call 215-646-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMBLER BOROUGH WATER FACILITIES
The Ambler Spring Water Company was founded by Dr. Richard Mattison in the late 1890's. In 1925 the Bodenstein system which was developed in the village of Fort Washington was purchased from the Bodenstein family. The principal source of water supply was the Whitemarsh Pumping Station. It delivered water via the ten-inch cast iron main up Skippack Pike to Broad Axe, where the 250,000 gallon elevated tank was erected in 1924, and served as the only storage facility. Ambler Borough Council purchased the Ambler Spring Water Company in 1937 upon approval of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and with a designated franchise area the Ambler Borough Water Department was created. This purchase also included the Upper Dublin Water system. In 1939 the 1 million gallon Loch Alsh standpipe was placed in service. It was during World War II that the first of the current nine operating deep wells were constructed. The certified franchise territory has been expanded several times and now comprises approximately 6.5 square miles, including Ambler Borough and portions of Lower Gwynedd, Upper Dublin, Whitemarsh, and Whitpain Townships. There are approximately 20,000 persons served by the Ambler Borough Water Department.
Presently there are nine operating deep wells (located in the Arkose Sands of the Stockton Formation) and one surface water supply facility at the Whitemarsh Pumping Station in the Ambler Water distribution system. Whitemarsh Pumping Station was recently re-permitted by the DEP in January 2009 and has been reintroduced into the distribution system after being down for repair since 2003. The average water demand for the years 2006 through 2010 is 1,627,365 gallons per day, or approximately 1,131 gallons per minute (gpm). The average daily production capacity of the nine operating wells and Whitemarsh Pumping Station is approximately 1,950 gpm, given normal precipitation.
The distribution system consists of approximately 70 miles of water main, ranging in size from 2 inch to 12 inch. The early mains were cast iron. Asbestos cement was installed generally from 1940 to 1980. From 1980 on ductile iron pipe has been used on all new installations.
The system is divided into three service areas, namely A, B, and C. Service Area A is served by Loch Alsh Hydropillar and covers most of the Borough, portions of Upper Dublin, Whitemarsh, and Whitpain Townships. Service Area B is served by Houston Road Elevated Tank (aided by the hoffman road and Cherry Lane Booster Stations) and consists primarily of Lower Gwynedd, a small portion of Upper Dublin and the Haywood Park area of the Borough. Service Area C is served by Service Area A (aided by the Loch Alsh Booster Station) and is situated in Upper Dublin Township, south and east of the Upper Dublin Senior High School.
The distribution system comprises 5,700 connections of which 5,400 are residential, 225 commercial 38 industrial and 28 public. The distribution system supports approximately 335 fire hydrants of which 85 are in the Borough.
Because of the various different topographic characteristics in the system, both in distance and elevation of the system's overall service area, hydraulics necessitate that we employ booster stations to pump water to the elevated sectors. Booster pumps are employed to "lift" water into certain service areas. The booster pumps have automatic controls governed by the water level in respective water tanks. These station controls are linked via radio to the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system into the system control computer located in the Ambler Borough Office. When a water level goes below a certain minimum in one of the water tanks, SCADA will initiate the appropriate booster pumps to fill the water tank. The tanks are the reserve and their fill levels are monitored daily by the SCADA system to ensure adequate supply for the water franchise, with a particular priority being adequate water supply for fire emergencies.
Three storage facilities serve the system, whose locations, sizes and other pertinent data are described below. It should be noted that the economy of standpipe design uses water to hold water at an elevated position to provide a certain range of acceptable pressure, with the desirable minimum being 30 pounds per square inch (PSI), requiring a minimum height of 69.3 feet.
Broad Axe Standpipe
Built in 1970, the Broad Axe tank is located at the corner of Skippack Pike and Butler Pike in Whitpain Township. The tank is 66 feet wide and over 85 feet high. It holds 2 million gallons of water and serves service area C and parts of Whitpain and Whitemarsh townships. Broad Axe tank was recoated in 2009.
Houston Road Elevated Tank
Built in 1971, the Houston Road Tank is located across from the Wissahickon High School in Lower Gwynedd Township. The tank stands over 165 feet high and is 53 feet wide at the base. It holds 1 million gallons of water 125 feet above the ground in the 74-foot wide tank at the top of the structure. It services mostly Lower Gwynedd.
Loch Alsh Standpipe
Built in 2004, the Loch Alsh Tank stands over 85 feet high and is 48 feet wide. It holds 750,000 thousand gallons 62 feet in the air and serves area A.
Loch Alsh Reservoir Dam property is located in Upper Dublin Township and is bordered on the southwest by Loch Alsh Avenue and the southeast by the Route 309 Expressway. The gross area is approximately 20 acres, including the area taken for the Expressway and an inaccessible triangular parcel of 0.89 acres on the east side of the expressway. The lake surface area is about seven acres. Upper Dublin Township leases and maintains the property as a recreational facility and performs improvements annually. The Commonwealth, through the PA Fish Commission, stocks the lake periodically with trout. Four wells are located around the lake, which acts as a recharge facility to the underlying groundwater aquifer, making withdrawals rates higher than elsewhere in the service area. The water level is measured by a gage mounted on the outlet tower and is measured weekly. Production of the wells varies with the water level of the lake. Spillway seepage is monitored weekly for the PA DEP by using a flow measurement device called a rectangular Weir.
Loch Alsh Reservoir Dam is subject to annual inspections by the PA DEP Division of Dam Safety. The facility is classed as a high hazard dam wherein it has been determined by computer module that it cannot withstand a "probable maximum flood" (which is greater than a '100 year flood'). When certain rainfall events are forecast Borough personnel manually release water from the reservoir to minimize major flow "topping" the masonry core portion of the dam. The Water Department, with financial assistant from the DCED will begin an extensive rehabilitation project of the Dam in Spring 2011. The Dam undergoes an annual DEP inspection which is available at Ambler Borough Hall for public review. The Water Department maintains a current Emergency Action Plan which is available at Ambler Borough Hall for public review.
Whitemarsh Spring Facility is located near Skippack Pike and Bethlehem Pike in Fort Washington. The facility produces approximately 300 GPM and was the principal source of supply from 1924 until World War II when deep wells were first constructed. Contained within this building are activated charcoal filtering tanks, chlorination tanks and turbidity monitoring equipment.
All customers are metered. An efficient water meter reading program is key to minimizing customer concerns and to assuring proper cash flow to meet the financial needs of the overall system. The original meters all read in cubic feet, which information was multiplied by 7.48 to convert it gallons. The conversion to direct gallons reading was begun in 1997. Since then approximately 500 new meters are installed annually. With much of the development going on out in the townships, properties with bigger setbacks and long driveways require meter pits. Because of snow and landscaping, “radio read” meters are being employed to cover these properties. Also, new computerized equipment has been installed, with the ultimate aim of eliminating all hand transcription of readings and the manual keying into the billing computer.
System Capacity & Operation
Since 1995 the Borough has annually contracted for leak detection for the entire system. This detection and correction program leads to early detection, less costly correction and reduce unaccounted for water losses for which no revenues are realized. Conservation will assure that the underground water supplies are not wasted nor depleted. This program also reduces the demand to provide capital to develop additional sources of supply and storage facilities. Active annual, system wide leak detection work has paid off in the evident long term reduction in annual average water use. The average pumping rate is down to approximately 1,131 gallons per minute (gpm) down from 1,730 gpm back in 1980. Average water demand for the years 2006 through 2010 is 1,627,365 gallons per day.
The current customer load is approaching 5,700 connections, comprised of approximately 5,400 residential, 225 commercial, 38 industrial, & 28 public connections. Five wells, Nos. 4, 9, 11, 12 & 14, are operated manually and are generally operated continuously. The four Loch Alsh wells, Nos 2, 6, 7, & 8 are operated automatically controlled by a master unit at Well No. 8 reading the water level of Loch Alsh Standpipe. Whitemarsh Pumping Station is operated manually and, because of the granular activated charcoal filters, requires periodic back washing. The water system operators perform this work.
Other daily chores for the operators include taking chlorine residuals, samples for laboratory testing, data recording and handling customer complaints. Much of the data gathering is now done by the SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system installed in 1996. A certified laboratory performs all lab work. Also, annual chemistry of each well is taken.
The water provided by the Borough's system has consistently met current safe drinking water standards over the years. Specific water quality varies from well to well. The chief complaint about the Borough' water is its hardness, with iron and manganese problems being the next in line. The other complaint is 'dirty water', which is the result of main or service line breaks, flushing or fire flows. Should you have an questions or concerns please call the Water Department at 215-646-1000.
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AMBLER WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
The original Borough of Ambler Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was designed by Albright and Friel, Inc., in 1934; the WWTP provided secondary treatment for a design average flow of 1.5 mgd. Albright and Friel designed the first WWTP expansion to 3.25 mgd in 1968. An upgrade and expansion to tertiary treatment for a design average flow of 6.5 mgd was designed by Betz, Converse and Murdoch, Inc., in 1978. Two anaerobic digesters were rehabilitated in 1982. Preliminary treatment to remove grit and screenings was designed in 1994. The screens became operational in 1994; the grit removal facility commenced operation in 1996. In 1999, the chlorine disinfection system was replaced with ultra-violet (UV) light disinfection. In 2000 domes were placed over the first stage trickling filters, and the first and second stage trickling filters were ventilated. In 2001-2002, Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) was installed to replace the microscreens from the 1978 upgrade and expansion. The process improvements constructed after 1992 were designed by Environmental Engineering & Management Associates, Inc.
Raw wastewater enters the WWTP's main pump station (PS-1). Screenings and some grit are removed by ¼-inch screens located in the pump station wet well. Flow is pumped by a combination of one 6.0 mgd and two 9.8 mgd variable speed pumps to an above ground grit removal facility. The wastewater then flows by gravity to the splitter box (ET-1) that distributes flow to the primary clarifiers (ET-2, ET-3, ET-8 and ET-9). Primary sludge is settled and collected in these tanks and is pumped daily to either the gravity thickener (T-8) or to the primary anaerobic digesters (T-9, T-10 and ET-15).
Primary clarifier effluent flows by gravity to the first stage high rate plastic media trickling filters (ET-4 and ET-10). The effluent from these trickling filters is pumped by a variable speed pump (running as a constant speed) to the second stage high rate plastic media trickling filters (ET-5 and ET-11). The effluent from these filters is pumped by a variable speed pump either to the secondary rectangular clarifiers (ET-6, ET-7, ET-12 and ET-13) or is recirculated through the second stage trickling filters. Secondary clarifier sludge is removed continuously by telescoping valves and flows by gravity to the gravity thickener (T-8).
Secondary clarifier effluent flows by gravity to the nitrification feed pumping station (EPS-3) and is pumped to the nitrification tower filters (T-1 and T-2). The nitrification tower effluent flows by gravity to Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) tanks located in the DAF building (B-2) or is recirculated back to the nitrification feed pumping station (EPS-3).
Effluent from the Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) tanks flows by gravity to Tank T-4 where it flows through the ultra-violet (UV) light disinfection system. After a few seconds of contact time, the flow enters tanks T-5 and T-6. The final effluent flows through a parshall flume (T-7) and an aeration cascade prior discharge to the Wissahickon Creek.