Reading, PA


Reading, PA

The City of Reading is home to an estimated 88,423 residents, and it’s located in Berks County, PA.

This report will help you become better acquainted with Reading and the surrounding area by addressing the following questions:

  • Are there any hazardous sites in Berks County, PA?
  • How clean is the air in Berks County, PA?
  • What’s the average radon level for homes in Berks County, PA?
  • Is the water in Berks County, PA safe to drink?

Hazardous Sites near Reading, PA

There are eight Superfund sites in Berks County, PA. Superfund sites, like Ryeland Road Arsenic Site in Heidelberg Twp, PA, are areas that have been contaminated with hazardous substances. If not for the cleanup efforts orchestrated by the EPA, these sites could endanger people living in nearby communities.

The EPA uses the Hazardous Ranking System (HRS) to quantify the risk a contaminated site poses to human health and the environment. Sites assigned HRS scores of 28.5 or greater qualify for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL), and are eligible to receive federal funding for cleanup efforts.

Before the EPA deletes a site from the NPL, it conducts reviews to ensure the cleanup was sufficient. As a result, some sites remain on the active site list long after cleanup activities are complete.

For more information about the Superfund sites located in the Reading, PA area, be sure to review the map and background information provided below:


Map Legend:

42011

A. Ryeland Road Arsenic Site (HRS Score: 60)

The Ryeland Road Arsenic Site, where pesticides, fungicides, paints and varnishes were manufactured, is located in Heidelberg Twp, PA.

Contaminants found at the Ryeland Road Arsenic Site include:

  • Arsenic
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Thallium
  • Manganese
42011

B. Douglassville Disposal (HRS Score: 55)

The Douglassville Disposal site, where a waste oil recycling facility operated on site from 1941 to 1986, is located in Douglassville, PA.

Contaminants found at the Douglassville Disposal site include:

  • Arsenic
  • Benzene
  • Cadmium
  • Chloroform
  • Chromium
42011

C. Bally Ground Water Contamination (HRS Score: 38)

The Bally Ground Water Contamination site, where urethane-insulated panels for refrigeration were manufactured, is located in Bally, PA.

Contaminants found at the Bally Ground Water Contamination site include:

  • Tetrachloroethene
  • Trichloroethene
  • 1,2-Dichloroethane
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
  • Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride)
42011

D. Price Battery Lead Smelter (HRS Score: 38)

The Price Battery Lead Smelter site, where a battery plant operated from 1940 to the mid-1990s, is located in Hamburg, PA.

Contaminants found at the Price Battery Lead Smelter site include:

  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
42011

E. Brown's Battery Breaking (HRS Score: 37)

The Brown's Battery Breaking site, an abandoned battery recycling facility that was operated from 1961 to 1971, is located in Hamburg, PA.

Contaminants found at the Brown's Battery Breaking site include:

  • Aluminum
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Iron
42011

F. Berks Sand Pit (HRS Score: 32)

The Berks Sand Pit site, used as a disposal area for industrial wastes, is located in Longswamp Township, PA.

Contaminants found at the Berks Sand Pit site include:

  • Tetrachloroethene
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
  • Trichloroethane (Mixed Isomers)
  • 1,1-Dichloroethane
  • 1,1-Dichloroethene
42011

G. Crossley Farm (HRS Score: 30)

The Crossley Farm site, where numerous drums of liquid waste were disposed by Bally Case and Cooler Company, is located in Hereford Township, PA.

Contaminants found at the Crossley Farm site include:

  • Aluminum
  • Arsenic
  • Benzene
  • Chloroform
  • Iron
42011

H. Cryochem, Inc. (HRS Score: 29)

The Cryochem, Inc. site, home to a metals fabrication facility that has operated on site since 1962, is located in Worman Township, PA.

Contaminants found at the Cryochem, Inc. site include:

  • Tetrachloroethene
  • Xylene (Mixed Isomers)
  • Ethylbenzene
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
  • Trichloroethene

Air Quality in the Reading, PA Area

The two most widespread forms of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). Exposure to these harmful pollutants, for even just a short period, can have adverse effects on your health.

Thanks to data collected by air monitoring equipment located across the country, the American Lung Association (ALA) is able to assess and track our air quality using three metrics:

  • Ozone
  • Short-term Particle Pollution
  • Year-round Particle Pollution

In their 2019 annual report, the ALA rated the air quality in Berks County, PA as follows:

Ground-Level
Ozone Pollution

Grading Scale: A-F

Short-Term
Particle Pollution

Grading Scale: A-F

Year-Round
Particle Pollution

Grading Scale: Pass/Fail

Radon Levels in Reading, PA Area

Air quality inside your home can be impacted by a number of factors, including the presence of hazardous substances in building materials (asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, etc.) and local radon levels.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas you cannot see or smell. It can build up inside your home and negatively impact your indoor air quality as well as your health.

To provide a guideline, the EPA assigned one of three zones to each U.S. county and county equivalent:

  • Zone 1 (higher radon levels)
  • Zone 2 (moderate levels)
  • Zone 3 (lower levels)

The average indoor radon reading in Berks County, PA is predicted to be higher than 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), so the county has been assigned EPA Radon Zone 1.

EPA Radon Zone

The EPA Recommends acting to reduce your home's radon level if it's measured at 4 pCi/L or greater. So, if you're thinking about purchasing a home in Reading, PA, you should strongly consider having a radon test performed.

Water Quality in Reading, PA Area

In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA sets regulatory limits for drinking water contaminants known to cause adverse health effects.

The following Berks County, PA water provider(s) violated the maximum allowable level for one or more regulated contaminants:

Filter ValueWater SystemContaminantHealth Effects
42011Birdsboro Muni Water AuthTotal Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)Increased risk of cancer 
42011Boyertown Muni AuthCarbon TetrachlorideLiver problems; increased risk of cancer 
42011Green Acres MHPNitrateInfants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome. 
42011Lazy K CampgroundArsenicSkin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may have increased risk of getting cancer
42011Maxatawny Twp Muni AuthTrichloroethyleneLiver problems; increased risk of cancer 
42011Mohrsville Water AssnArsenicSkin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may have increased risk of getting cancer
42011Muhlenberg Twp Muni AuthTrichloroethyleneLiver problems; increased risk of cancer 
42011Paw Penn DistrictTrichloroethyleneLiver problems; increased risk of cancer 

In addition to setting enforceable standards for harmful contaminants, the EPA also established guidelines to assist public water providers in managing the taste, odor and color of their drinking water.

To find out more about what’s in your drinking water, contact your utility company and request a copy of the latest Consumer Confidence Report.


Sources and Methods

Hazardous Sites: Identified using a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hazardous sites detailed on trendingtowns.com represent sites contained on the National Priorities List (NPL) as of November 25, 2019.  The NPL is the list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories.  All site-related data was sourced from the EPA.

Air Quality: Grades for ozone, short-term particle pollution, and year-round particle pollution were obtained from State of the Air 2019, a report compiled by the American Lung Association.

Radon Zones: Radon zone designations were obtained using a public use dataset provided by the EPA (September 11, 2019).

Water Quality: Drinking water violation data was sourced from the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS), a public use database provided by the EPA.  The dataset included violations submitted to the database as of the third quarter of 2019.

Paul

I’ve moved several times over the years, so I know just how stressful it can be to relocate. I want to help put your mind at ease. That’s why I research and write about all the things I think you should consider when moving to a new town.

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