'They're not an accredited lab': Philly Water Dept. responds to Tern Water test results - Technical.ly Philly

Civic

Feb. 6, 2018 12:41 pm

‘They’re not an accredited lab’: Philly Water Dept. responds to Tern Water test results

“They seem to not to understand EPA guidelines and take a lot of license,” said PWD Public Affairs manager Joanne Dahme.

Per PWD's results, Philly's tap water is well within federal and state guidelines for 100 contaminants.

(Courtesy photo)

After Technical.ly published the results of Tern Water’s Know your Water campaign, the Philadelphia Water Department raised some concerns around the info on the startup’s report, which said 90 percent of samples contained some level of risky contaminants.

“First off, they’re not an accredited lab,” said Joanne Dahme, General Manager of Public Affairs for the city agency. “All results that relate to Environmental Protection Agency must come from accredited lab. They seem to not to understand EPA guidelines and take a lot of license.”

PWD customers, Dahme said, have called in with concerns after using the company’s test kits, to later find out that, per PWD’s test results, the water is safe to drink.

“We take a lot of pride in the fact that we deliver top quality drinking water, with levels that are always better than what the EPA recommends,” Dahme said.

The contaminants Tern Water reports having spotted on its mail-in sampling offering don’t match up with PWD’s latest yearly report on water quality in Philly. O’Connor also raised a concern with Tern Water’s methods: samples are not refrigerated in shipping, which might affect the accuracy of results.

O’Connor also dispelled the concern about Chromium-6, the Erin Brockovich contaminant: the results in Philadelphia have consistently been “well below” the maximum Chromium level established by the EPA. In its 2016 report, Philly’s water supply tested within 0 and 1 parts per billion (PPB). The EPA established the maximum level at 100 PPB.

However, in some cases internal plumbing can affect the quality, said Dennis O’Connor, from the agency’s Bureau of Laboratory Services. Especially when there’s concern due to the appearance, taste or odor in the water, PWD performs quality tests free of charge. There’s no online reporting tool, but O’Connor said customers with concerns about the quality of their water can obtain a test free of charge through its 24-hour hotline by calling 215-685-6300.

Advertisement

We reached out to Tern Water founder Mo Zerban who responded to the comments about Tern Water’s lab accreditation.

“All Know Your Water tests are done with lab certified equipment, and fully trained engineers,” the founder said in an email. “Ongoing validation of all lab equipment is conducted on a regular basis to guarantee accuracy. Our current business plan has us on schedule to have a fully accredited laboratory by the end of this year.”

Zerban agreed with the PWD that contaminants might be the result of point of access infrastructure issues.

“Our mission is to make sure that people are empowered to control their health and wellness through access to safe water,” the founder said.

-30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here

Advertisement

Build the 21st century of government at Imagine Nation ELC 2018

Philly311’s new chief wants to get city agencies to use more data

Philly CIO: Smart-city initiatives can ‘help build trust in government’

SPONSORED

Philly

Clients and community come first for Vanguard employees

Malvern, PA

Vanguard

Sr. Full Stack Developer-Client Experience Lab

Apply Now
Malvern, PA

Vanguard

Product Owner of Data Science Solutions

Apply Now
Malvern, PA

Vanguard

Java Developer-Entry

Apply Now

The Amazon HQ2 bid has reportedly cost $545K. What will Philly get in exchange?

Phila.gov is officially out of beta mode. Here’s what’s changed

Can city government use the tech community to lift Philadelphians out of poverty?

SPONSORED

Philly

UX, UArts and the importance of human-centered design

Malvern, PA

Vanguard

Technical Lead-Full Stack

Apply Now
Center City Area

Inspire

Product Manager

Apply Now
Chesterbrook, PA

Deacom

Creative Content Writer – Tech

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!