Water History


The Charleroi Water Company was incorporated in 1890 for the purpose of supplying water to the public in the Village of Charleroi and North Charleroi in the Township of Fallowfield, Charleroi became a borough in 1892; North Charleroi became a borough in 1910.

The Monessen Water Company was incorporated in 1897 to supply water to the Village of Monessen in Rostraver Township. Monessen became a borough in 1898 and a city in 1921. The Donora Water Company was incorporated in 1900 for the purpose of supplying water to the Village of Donora. Donora became a borough in 1901.

Each of these communities had its own water supply from the Monongahela River except Donora which obtained its supply from Union Steel Company which later became American Steel and Wire Company.

In 1912, the Mellon interests of Pittsburgh owned most of the stock in the Monessen Water Company. It purchased the remaining stock of Monessen and also the stock of the Charleroi and Donora Water Companies and merged these three separate systems on June 29, 1912 to form the Tri-Cities Water Company.

Improvements and enlargements were made to the Charleroi intake pier and filter plant and the Monessen and Donora sources of supply were discontinued. Main line extensions were made; river crossings and distribution system tie-ins were constructed to merge these three systems into one complete distribution system serving Charleroi, North Charleroi, Donora and Monessen. Additional improvements were made in 1912, 1921, and 1938 to further expand the systems and improve the quality of water.

The Authority of the Borough of Charleroi was created by the Borough of Charleroi on August 29, 1938, in accordance with the original Pennsylvania Municipal Authority Act of 1935 (P.L. 463), as amended (the “Act”) to review the possibility of promoting a municipal recreation center. The Authority was unable to build the recreation center because the land on which it planned to build was used for industrial purposes. Council, however, did not legislate the Authority out of existence. In early 1942 when an opportunity to buy the water system owned and operated by Tri-Cities Water Company arose, the Authority was reorganized; and in December 1942 it became the water system of the Authority of the Borough of Charleroi. Additional improvements were made in 1949, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1976, and 1983 to further expand the system and improve the quality of water.

In 1966, the water systems of Speers Borough, Dunlevy Borough and Fallowfield Township were acquired by the Authority, and connecting lines were completed to integrate these systems with the Authority. Also at this same time, the Authority entered into a contract with Bentleyville Water Authority to supply that community with water.

The Authority of the Borough of Charleroi now serves water to the Boroughs of Charleroi, North Charleroi, Dunlevy, Speers, Donora, Bentleyville, Twilight, Ellsworth, Somerset Township and Fallowfield Township in Washington County and the City of Monessen and parts of Rostraver Township in Westmoreland County.

In 1992 bulk chemical storage facilities were added and two steel storage tanks were erected at the Charleroi Reservoir and sedimentation tanks were added at the Water Treatment Plant where backwash and clarified sediments are collected and piped to the Sewage Plant.

Renovations recently completed installed a state of the art membrane filtration system for producing potable water and improved the electrical power system within the facility and improve electrical efficiency.

Source of Water Supply

The only source of supply for the Authority of the Borough of Charleroi Water System is from the Monongahela River. A new Water Allocation Permit was issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources during 2018 to allow the Authority to withdraw water from the river. This permit allows the Authority to withdraw up to 9.0 million gallons per day (mg) and is renewable on a thirty-year basis. Additional allocations for the withdrawal of water may be applied for if and when it becomes necessary.

Water System Operation

The Authority’s water treatment plant is located in the Borough of Charleroi along the Monongahela River from which it takes its raw water supply. The facility now provides service to over 10,600 consumers (the total connected service area population is approximately 27,000) with a maximum treatment capacity of 6.0 million gallons per day (mg), Present average daily consumption ranges from 2.4 to 3.5 mg with peak demands exceeding 4.1 mg.

The treatment process at the Charleroi water plant consists of raw water intake, raw water (low service) pumping, chemical addition, flocculation, pre-sedimentation, membrane filtration, chlorination, and distribution (high service pumping). In addition, facilities are operated to remove settled solids from membrane process waste / membrane backwash and pump them to the sewage treatment plant for ultimate disposal.

The water is distributed through an extensive distribution system consisting of 150 miles of transmission and distribution piping of 4·inch diameter and larger. Distribution storage capacity exceeds 9.5 million gallons including a 6 million gallon twin reservoir and ten other storage tanks of various capacities. Seven high service pump stations provide service to customers located in portions of the service area at higher elevations. The distribution system has eight separate pressure districts including the areas served by pumping directly from the water plant. The distribution system also provides fire fighting capabilities with over 680 fire hydrants located throughout the communities served.

The water treatment plant outsources most water quality testing to commercial certified laboratories for the performance of tests required by regulatory agencies (the Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources) in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, In addition, an in house laboratory is used to perform tests for the day-to-day control of the treatment processes.