Water Quality in Reading, Pennsylvania
Watershed: Angelica Creek – Schuylkill River
What is the water quality like in Reading, PA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Reading water.
What’s in Reading water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 14 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
10 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Reading’s water come from?
Reading’s water comes from the Angelica Creek – Schuylkill River watershed.
74 of the 162 EPA assessed water sources in the Angelica Creek – Schuylkill River watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- Angelica Creek – 6 sections
- Antietam Creek – 2 sections
- Schuylkill River – 20 sections
- Seidel Creek – 2 sections
- Many unnamed tributaries to Angelica Creek
- Many (over 20) unnamed tributaries to Schuykill River
- Wyomissing Creek
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Reading’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 13 of the 14 contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Reading water.
- Brita can filter 8 (and Lead depending on the filter).
- Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
- To filter out All 14 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: https://www.readingpa.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.