Pennsylvania American Water Readies for Tropical Depression Ida

Commonwealth’s largest water and wastewater utility prepares for operational impacts of heavy rainfall, shares flood safety tips for customers

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (Aug. 31, 2021) – Water is everything to Pennsylvania American Water. But too much water can cause problems for water and wastewater utilities. As Tropical Depression Ida approaches the Commonwealth threatening heavy rainfall and possible flooding later this week, Pennsylvania American Water has initiated readiness efforts to mitigate potential impacts to its water and wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and dams.  

“Safety is our top priority as we prepare for an extreme weather event, and emergency response planning is crucial to providing safe drinking water and reliable wastewater service to our customers,” said Jim Runzer, vice president of eastern operations for Pennsylvania American Water. “Our team of water experts is highly trained on disaster preparedness, incident response and emergency management. If floodwaters rise, our team will work hard to meet the challenge of keeping our systems operational and restoring service quickly if they are impacted.”

As part of the company’s readiness efforts, operations personnel have tested and fueled generators, vehicles and fuel storage tanks, secured additional water treatment chemicals, staged sandbags at treatment plant intakes, prepared wastewater treatment plants for increased flows, reviewed plans for monitoring water levels of dams and spillways, and updated staffing plans to help with response efforts.

Pennsylvania American Water also reminds customers to take precautions of their own by following these flood safety tips:

  • Make an emergency plan. Visit to get started. This plan will help you know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourself, your family and your pets from flooding. Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response. Gather supplies, including non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and water for several days, in case you must leave immediately or if services are cut off in your area.
  • Know Your Risk for Floods. Visit FEMA's Flood Map Service Centerto know types of flood risk in your area. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If under a flood warning, find a safe shelter. Stay where you are, move to higher ground or a higher floor, and evacuate if told to do so.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock if it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.

For more flood safety tips, visit and follow Pennsylvania American Water on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people. For more information, visit and follow Pennsylvania American Water on Twitter and Facebook.

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to help make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Laura Martin

Director of Communications and External Affairs, Mid-Atlantic Division