Below you will find answers to some of Dover Township’s most Frequently Asked Questions:

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Water System

No, Dover Township does not add fluoride to the water.

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Please provide Dover Township with your contact information, including your name, phone number and email address. If you are a property owner, but have tenants living in your home, please also provide us with your tenant’s contact information. If there is an emergency, we will make a public service announcement through our automated phone system to the phone number that we have on file.  If we do not have the correct information, we will not be able to contact you.

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Dover Township owns and operates the Township’s water system.

The Dover Township Sewer Authority owns our sewer system, the Joint (inter-municipal) Interceptor and the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Dover Township operates our sewer system, the Joint Interceptor and the wastewater treatment plant.

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The sulfur smell of rotten eggs is caused by possible bacteria or debris laying in your pipes and or drains.  If you notice that the odor is coming from the drain and not the actual water, it could be because bacteria is laying in the elbows/curves with in your drain pipe.  Try pouring some chlorine bleach in the drain to remove the bacteria.  If you notice that an odor is coming from the water pipes themselves, it might be coming from your hot water heater.  This can happen in the cold as well as the hot water.  It could be that your hot water heater needs flushed out.  When your hot water is used, cold water flows into the hot water heater to replenish it.  When the water heater is full, it shuts off and any water left in the line can back wash out into the water lines.  As your hot water heater was filling it stirred up any debris that was laying in the bottom of your water heater.  This debris can also backwash into the lines.  Again, if you haven’t drained your hot water heater in some time, 6 months or more, you may want to try this.  Another thing to check is the aerator on your spigot.  Remove the aerator/filter at the end of the faucet, clean well, and reattach. Water heaters are another source of H2S(Rotten Egg Smell) when the magnesium rod in the water heater reacts with sulfate in the water and converts it to hydrogen sulfide gas or when the temperature is lowered in the water heater to save energy, allowing sulfate-reducing bacteria to live in the heater.

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Periodically, you will see Water Dept personnel releasing water from hydrants. Hydrant flushing is necessary to test the hydrants to make sure adequate flow and pressure is available. Flushing is also done to remove sediment from the pipes in order to maintain water clarity and quality in the distribution pipes.

Your water is safe to drink. Occasionally, water becomes discolored after hydrant flushing. If this happens, run your cold water tap for a few minutes until the water clears. If it doesn’t clear the first time, wait a few minutes and run the water again. You should avoid washing clothes until the water clears.

Rusty Water

As described in the previous section, fire hydrants are periodically opened to flush water mains in the system. Additionally, Fire and Public Works Department personnel routinely use hydrants to make assessments as to whether adequate pressure and flow are available to satisfy normal system demands as well as the increased demand required in the event of a fire. These actions, as well as some construction activities, may result in brief periods during which you may observe moderate discoloration in your tap water.

Cloudy / Milky Water

In the late fall and winter months the water that enters your homes can be quite cold. When this cold water enters your home plumbing, it is exposed to significantly warmer temperatures. This causes dissolved oxygen, that can reach significantly higher levels in colder water than in warmer water, to escape in the form of “micro-bubbles” that can give water a cloudy appearance. If a glass of this water is allowed to sit for a short period of time the cloudy effect will dissipate.

White Particles in the Water

It has been determined that a number of hot water heaters manufactured between 1993 and 1997 may have defective cold water supply dip-tubes. These tubes are designed to direct the cold water entering the heaters to the bottom, thereby forcing the previously heated water to the hot water outlet near the top of the tank. The defective dip tubes have been found to separate from the cold water inlet and, over time, disintegrate into minute pieces resembling crumbled eggshells.

This material can readily clog sink aerators and showerheads but is said to be non-toxic.

For more information please contact Dover Township Water Dept (717) 292-3634

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Water conservation is an increasingly critical concern for people across the globe.
According to the United Nations, more than one out of six people (1.1 billion) in the world lack access to safe drinking water, and more than two out of six (2.6 billion) lack adequate sanitation.
As global population continues to rise, the resulting increase in demand for clean water will put enormous strain on the environment and some experts predict that the global wars of the next generation will be fought not over fossil fuels, but water.


Scarce water resources are fragile and very susceptible to industrial contaminants from factories and agricultural runoff.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a very volatile and toxic class of odorless, tasteless chemicals that were used in the first half of the 20th century in many industrial applications. In the 1970s research proved that PCBs were highly carcinogenic and were making their way into the American water system in high concentrations. Since the 1970s their manufacture, use and transportation have been highly curtailed, though PCBs are just one of many potentially lethal water contaminants.

Water-borne vector diseases like malaria still plague many parts of the Third World and the use of pesticides to curb these diseases has equally harmful effects on water sources

Preservation and Conservation:

Preservation is the act of protecting existing water quality from future contamination and pollution. Conservation is the physical act of changing individual behavior to use less.
Depletion and impairment of water resources from irresponsible overusage results in shortages when demand outpaces supply. Droughts and shortages are especially prevalent in the American West and have reached critical levels in sub-Saharan Africa.

What Can We Do?

The average American household can conserve water and save money by implementing some very simple tips and advice. Repair leaky faucets and other outlets. Install low-pressure shower heads and low-flow toilets. Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are full. Compost organic waste instead of running it through a garbage disposer. Water your lawn every other day in the summertime, and never between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizer.  Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than running the faucet until it runs cold.  Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.  Use a timer to keep showers shorter.

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Turn off the water at the exterior. Make sure that the water supply is turned off completely at the main supply point. If the furnace should fail on a very cold day, water in a pipe could freeze and burst the pipe. To turn water off to the exterior please call the Dover Township Water Dept @ 717-292-3634Note: The water meter should be disconnected and Drained to prevent meter from damage.

  1. Open all faucets and drain all waterlines. If you live in an area where freezing pipes can be a problem, drain the toilets, the water heater (turn off the gas or electric supply first) and the expansion tank.
    • get a air compressor to blow the lines of excess water. Eliminate or dilute the water in drain traps by pouring an “RV” type antifreeze solution into them, as directed by the instructions.
    • Close the sink and tub drains.
    • If a house is to be vacant for a long time, you may prevent water in a toilet’s trap from evaporating (and thereby permitting sewer gases to enter the home) by raising the toilet’s lid and seat and covering the bowl with saran wrap.
    • Turn off and drain fountains and other sources of standing water.
    • Drain water from dishwashers and pour RV antifreeze. with refrigerators (with a water dispenser or an ice maker) and washing machines, following the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the water filter from inside the refrigerator.

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It has been determined that a number of hot water heaters manufactured between 1993 and 1997 may have defective cold water supply dip-tubes. These tubes are designed to direct the cold water entering the heaters to the bottom, thereby forcing the previously heated water to the hot water outlet near the top of the tank. The defective dip tubes have been found to separate from the cold water inlet and, over time, disintegrate into minute pieces resembling crumbled eggshells.

This material can readily clog sink aerators and showerheads but is said to be non-toxic.

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Many industrial and domestic water users are concerned about the hardness of their water. Hard water requires more soap and synthetic detergents for home laundry and washing, and contributes to scaling in boilers and industrial equipment. Hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium, and by a variety of other metals. Water is an excellent solvent and readily dissolves minerals it comes in contact with. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water “hard.”

Dover Townships primary source of water supply is wells.

The hardness of water is referred to by three types of measurements: grains per gallon, milligrams per liter (mg/L), or parts per million (ppm). Typically, the water produced by Dover Township Water is considered “moderately hard”. The table below is provided as a reference.



Grains Per Gallon Milligrams Per Liter (mg/L)or Parts Per Million (ppm) Classification
less than 1.0 less than 17.1 Soft
1.0 – 3.5 17.1 – 60 Slightly Hard
3.5 – 7.0 60 – 120   Dover Twp. Moderately Hard
7.0 – 10.5 120 – 180 Hard
over 10.5 over 180 Very Hard


Hard drinking water is generally not harmful to one’s health, but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling towers, and other equipment that handles water. In domestic settings, hard water is often indicated by a lack of suds formation when soap is agitated in water, and by the formation of limescale in kettles and water heaters. Wherever water hardness is a concern, water softening is commonly used to reduce hard water’s adverse effects.

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Serratia marcescens – Bacteria
Occasionally customers call to ask about a slimy pink substance that sometimes forms in moist
areas around their homes. They most frequently observe it in toilet bowls, on surfaces in shower
stalls and bathtub enclosures, inside dishwashers, on tiles, in sinks, and in pet water dishes.
A red or pink pigmented bacterium known as Serratia marcescens is thought to be the cause of
the pink “stuff’. Serratia bacteria are common inhabitants of our environment and can be found in
many places, including human and animal feces, dust, soil, and in surface waters. The bacteria
will grow in any moist location where phosphorous containing materials or fatty substances
accumulate. Sources of these substances include soap residues in bathing areas, feces in toilets,
and soap and food residues in pet water dishes. Many times, the pinkish film appears during and
after new construction or remodeling activities. Others have indicated the pink “stuff’ occurs
during a time of year that their windows are open for the majority of the day.
These airborne bacteria can come from any number of naturally occurring sources and the
condition can be further aggravated if customers remove the chlorine from their water by way of
an activated carbon filter. Serratia can also grow in tap water in locations such as toilets in guest
bathrooms where the water is left standing long enough for the chlorine residual disinfectant to
dissipate. Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water.
Serratia marcescens is not known to cause any waterborne diseases. Members of the Serratia
genus were once known as harmless organisms that produced a characteristic red pigment. More
recently, Serratia marcescens has been found to be pathogenic to some people, having been
identified as a cause of urinary tract infections, wound infections, and pneumonia in hospital

Once established, the organism usually cannot be eliminated entirely. However, periodic and
thorough cleaning of the surfaces where the pink slime occurs, followed by disinfection with
chlorine bleach appear to be the best way to control it.

To clean pet water dishes, bathroom and kitchen surfaces:

  1. Scrub the surfaces where phosphorous and fatty substances or the bacteria accumulate with a
    brush and a household cleanser.
  2. Then disinfect the surfaces where the slime has formed with a strong chlorine bleach solution.
    Leave the disinfectant solution on the affected surface(s) for 10-20 minutes before thoroughly rinsing away with clean water.
  3. Use care with abrasives to avoid scratching the fixtures, which will make them even more
    susceptible to the bacteria.

To control pink “stuff” in toilets:

  1. Clean the bowl thoroughly and spray chlorine bleach into the bowl and under the bowl rim.
  2. Also add 1/4  cup of bleach to the toilet tank.
  3. Let the bleach stand for 15-20 minutes.
  4. After 15-20 minutes, flush the toilet a couple of times to rinse the disinfectant out of the tank
    and the bowl.
  5. The bleach should not be left in the toilet tank for prolonged periods; it will damage the rubber valves and seals inside.
  6. Whenever a pink film starts to reappear, repeat the cleaning and disinfection process.

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Water Usage Facts:

  1. An average person uses 69 gallons of water per day
  2. A household of 4 persons uses an average of 276 gallons per day
  3. Biggest contributor of water use-
  4. Toilet Flushing accounts for more than ¼ of home water usage
  5. Clothes washer accounts for about 1/5 of home water usage



  1. Faucets – A typical family of four uses 36 gallons per day from faucets throughout the house.  Faucets typically use 1.2 gallons of water per minute.
  2. Dishwasher – A typical dishwasher uses between 8 and 15 gallons per load (with an average of 9.3 gallons).

To cut usage by 15%

  1. Repair leaks
  2. Low-flow devices can save about 4 gallons per day for a family of 4, which amounts to an 11% saving of water use.
  3. Use faucet only when necessary. For example, don’t let it run if you are brushing your teeth or washing dishes by hand; wash vegetables in a bowl instead of under running water.
  1. Don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  That can save as much as 20 gallons of water, or 55% of daily faucet water use for a typical family of 4.
  2. A high-efficiency dishwasher uses between 5-7 gallons. On average, that would save 35% per load on water use.
  3. Use the “water saver” mode, if your dishwasher has one. That can use as little as 5 gallons per load- as much as 46% less than average.

Laundry Room

  1. Clothes washer- a traditional clothes washer uses about 41 gallons of water per load.  Nationally, a family of 4 averages using 59.2 gallons per day to wash clothes with a traditional machine.

To cut usage by 15%

  1. High efficiency machines typically use 23 gallons per load, 44% less water than a traditional washer.
  2. Use the “water saver” mode, if your clothes washer has one. That can use as little as 30 gallons for a large load, or 27% less than an average load in a traditional washer.


  1. Toilet-The 1994 Federal Energy Act requires new toilets to use 1.6 gallons per flush.  However, many toilets installed before 1994 use 3.6 gallons per flush.  A family of 4 uses about 75 gallons of water per day flushing the toilet.
  2. Shower-An average shower lasts 8.2 minutes.  If your shower head uses 2.2 gallons per minute, that’s 18 gallons per shower, and 72 gallons per day for a family of 4; if your showerhead uses 2.5 gallons per minute, that’s 20 ½ gallons per shower and 82 gallons per day for a family of 4.

To cut usage by 15%

  1. High efficiency toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush, so a family of 4 would use about 34 gallons per day or 55% less than most toilets.
  2. Fix leaks. Plumbing leaks in general account for 14% of home water use, and toilet leaks can use up to 200 gallons of water per day-almost ¾ of daily water use for the average family of 4.  To figure out if your toilet leaks, put food coloring in the tank water and wait at least 15 minutes.  If the coloring appears in the bowl, there’s a leak.
  3. A family of 4 that takes 5 minute showers would cut water use to 44 gallons (using 2.2 gallons per minute); or 50 gallons (using 2.5 gallons per minute).  That’s a 39% reduction in water use.


  1. Hose-A typical hose uses 5-8 gallons of water per minute.  That means watering plants or the lawn for 15 minutes would use between 75 and 120 gallons of water.


To cut usage by 15%

  1. Watering for 10 minutes would use 50-80 gallons, a saving of up to 33% in water use.
  2. Soaker hoses can cut water use by 20 to 50%.


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A sudden increase in your water charges could indicate a water leak. Water leaks are often silent and unnoticeable until you get a high water bill.

To check for a leak:

Turn off all faucets in and around the house.  Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are not on.  Switch off the ice-maker.

Find your water meter box which is usually located in your front yard near the property line.  Look for a leak indicator on your meter (usually a small triangle dial visible through the meter sight glass).  If the indicator is spinning, water is running through the meter and you have a leak.

If you do not have a leak indicator, write down the numbers on the register including the position of the dial if there is one.

Leave all the water off in the house and check the meter again in one hour. If the dial has moved or the numbers have changed, you have a leak.

If you verified a leak, you need to find out where it is.

The most common culprit is a toilet. A hanging flapper valve or a flap that is not seated correctly can cause water to constantly seep from the tank to the bowl. The flapper valves and internal components do wear out, requiring servicing.

Take the toilet tank lid off and see if you can either hear or see a leak. If not, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank (the back of the toilet). Let it sit for 15-20 minutes without flushing. Then check the bowl for traces of the food coloring. If the water in the bowl is colored, you have found a leak.

Other common leaks are faucets that drip or slowly run. Make sure and check outside spigots and around the bottom of your hot water heater also. Even small leaks can add up quickly.

If you have determined that you do have a leak and can’t find it, then it could be underground. Most plumbing service companies have detection equipment and are experienced in finding underground leaks.

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Cincinnati-based Roto-Rooter, which operates a location in Springettsbury Township, recommends the following tips to protect plumbing systems during freezing temperatures:

  • Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses will freeze and expand, causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.
  • Inspect outside faucets.  If they’re dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber
  • Note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds and causes cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel.  Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day
  • If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from the pipes.  Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas.  Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
  • Your water heater works harder during winter months.  Drain corrosion-causing sediment from the tank, which reduces energy efficiency.
  • Set water heater thermostat to 125 degrees F for optimum performance without risk of scalding.
  • Clear any leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage through the winter season.
  • Inspect and clean sump pit. Remove any rocks and debris from pit then dump a bucket of water into the sump pit to test the pump.  If it turns on and pumps water out then turns itself off, it is operating properly.
  • Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees F during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.

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