(LITITZ, Pa.-LititzDailyNews.com)- Warwick Township extended the mandatory boil water advisory this morning that it issued late Wednesday night, now advising residents in some portions of the Lititz community to boil their water for a minimum of 48 hours until otherwise notified in the wake of a water main break in Lititz Borough.
“Due to a water main break in Lititz Borough, the area of Green Acre Road, Longenecker Road, West Orange Street and the surrounding area is under a boil water advisory for the next 48 hours effective immediately,” according to the updated post on the Warwick Township Facebook page.
Warwick Township purchases water from Lititz Borough for distribution to customers in its WTMA-Lititz system. This morning the township update its original Facebook post to clarify that the boil water advisory affects a limited portion of its service area. (Editor’s Note: While boiling water may address possible bacterial contamination, it may increase concentrations of lead that may be present in the water).
“You will be notified when the advisory is lifted. This advisory affects only the area indicated (locations in the northern area of the Township, as well as the eastern and southern areas are not affected),” the Warwick Township post reads.The township has not said how it intends to notify residents. A request for that information was posted to the Facebook page by LititzDailyNews.com, but so far no response has been received. As of the time of publication, only 792 of the thousands of Warwick residents follow the township on Facebook. Concerned residents began posting questions to the township’s Facebook page last night, but they went unanswered until this morning.
Warwick Township Municipal Authority (WTMA) was found in violation of tap water lead testing rules by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in March 2016, after a LititzDailyNews.com investigation prompted a state review.
The LititzDailyNews.com investigation uncovered that rather than testing lead levels in 30 homes at high risk for lead in 2010 as required, the township manager doubled-tested his own home and authorized the double-sampling of homes belonging to township employees, contractors, and the Severn Trent Services employee who oversaw the water supplied to the township. The state ruled that WTMA violated the law when it double-sampled homes, failed to test the correct number of homes, and failed to properly identify and test homes at highest risk for lead.
Most of the aging water mains in Lititz Borough are made of cast iron, according to Lititz Borough officials. EPA experts acknowledged during a recent web conference that cast iron mains can contribute to high lead levels in a community system, as they did in Flint, Michigan.
High lead levels were found in Lititz Borough as recently as 2010, but were not reported in the Annual Drinking Water Quality Report to consumers. The borough manager signed off on the accuracy of the faulty report to the DEP. In March 2016, the state DEP issued a Notice of Violation to Lititz Borough for violations of the lead testing and reporting rules between 2010-2013. During that same time period, EPA and DEP officials awarded Lititz Borough and Warwick Township for their water quality.
Lynn Rebuck is the editor of LititzDailyNews.com, the independent, national award-winning source for Lititz news. Email LititzDaily@yahoo.com to subscribe for FREE to breaking news alerts and the Lititz Community Calendar.