Aqua Pennsylvania opens new environmental lab in Montgomery County

Aqua Pennsylvania, an Essential Utilities company, has officially opened its new high-tech laboratory at its headquarters in Lower Merion. The 14,700-square-foot laboratory is more than double the size of the previous lab that had served the company for more than 70 years.

The new lab employs 19 people, including 13 chemists and microbiologists who conduct daily water sample tests and 6 other professionals who manage and conduct routine quality assurance tests and provide administrative support. Currently, laboratory employees perform about 90,000 water quality tests a year.

“For 135 years, our company has focused on delivering high-quality water to our communities and ensuring we are doing our due diligence to protect public health,” Christopher Franklin, Essential Utilities chairman and CEO, said in a statement, adding that opening the state-of-the-art laboratory “is the latest chapter in our long history of safeguarding our customers’ access to safe and reliable drinking water.”

The lab was officially opened July 22 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The lab is named for a longtime Aqua employee, William C. Ross, who attended the event. Ross retired in 2018 as Aqua’s senior vice president of engineering and environmental affairs.

Aqua’s laboratory is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and test results are accepted by each state for compliance testing.

“As science evolves and technology advances, we need to adapt and change to continue to be efficient and effective with our water treatment process and our understanding of emerging contaminants,” Christopher Crockett, Essential chief environmental, safety and sustainability officer, said in a statement, adding the new lab allows the company to evolve, grow and keep up with developments in chemistry, microbiology and the environment. “Our team will be using advanced technology to better understand what could be in drinking water and, in turn, better serve our customers.”

“The dedicated employees who work in our lab help ensure Aqua Pennsylvania is able to provide safe drinking water to our customers and return clean wastewater to the environment,” Marc Lucca, president, Aqua Pennsylvania. “Their work and our continued efforts to improve mean we will continue to deliver safe water to the communities we serve and protect our environment for years to come.”

Guests at the July 22 event included Montgomery County Commissioners' Vice Chair Ken Lawrence Jr., Lower Merion Township Commissioner Scott Zelov, representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and employees that work in the laboratory.

Published by MediaNews Group