A Conversation with the Water Department

We were pleased to be invited to meet with Water Commissioner Debra McCarty
along with other members of her team at the Philadelphia Water Department
(PWD) this month. We appreciated not just their willingness to make the time
to talk and understand more about our start-up, but in particular, their
candor and transparency around our approach. The level of water experience in
the room was awesome and we welcomed their thoughts and suggestions.


One of the topics we discussed was around water standards. At Tern, we don’t limit ourselves to the standards reported by the EPA, as the values fluctuate for many different reasons that may or may not be related to the actual health of the water. Instead, we use publicly available standards that have been reported by credible sources such as the World Health Organization. We also consider fluctuations in water quality and testing procedures within our ratings. Details with full explanations will be available on our quarterly water report which should be available on our website in a few weeks.

We also discussed Tern’s perspective around the challenges of aging infrastructure in maintaining water quality. For this reason, Tern’s approach is to understand water quality at the point of use, by offering Know Your Water testing. The conversation was very timely as this article, At some Philly Homes, toilets get flushed into the city’s drinking source, was recently published not long after our meeting.

It was clear from our conversation that PWD shares Tern’s mission: to empower people to obtain the best water by providing them with the information and tools they need to ensure they have sustainable and safe water whenever they need it. We are hopeful that this was just the first of many conversations and meetings, and look forward to developing a partnership with the PWD.

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