System Overview:


The Town of Trappe currently has about 500 water service connections and delivers about 75,000 gallons of water on an average day. Before the installation of water meters and the requirement for water saving appliances Trappe’s average daily water production often exceeded 120,000 gallons per day, especially during the dry simmer months. Two deep wells draw from the Piney Point Aquifer at 435 feet, and can each produce about 245,000 gallons of water per day. A new 250,000 gallon water tower was placed in service in the fall of 1998. All of the water from the town’s two wells is pumped directly into the water tower and disinfected with chlorine before entering the city water mains. Well No. 5 is shown here with the “new” water tower in the background.

Our water system is operated, and monitored daily, by Water Superintendent Steve Callahan and Scott Ireland. Water samples are collected twice each month and analyzed by a State certified laboratory for bacterial contamination. Our constant goal is to provide our residents with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. Please take time to read our “Water Quality Report (see water system on the main menu)

To inquire about the operation of the water system, please contact Steve Callahan at the wastewater treatment plant lab. Phone: (410) 443-0087.

System history


The Town of Trappe began providing municipal water service to town residents in 1928. The original water system consisted of a 70,000 gallon water tower, a 450ft. deep well, a small covered reservoir, an engine driven pump and air compressor, and a couple of miles of lead-jointed cast iron pipe. The parts for constructing the tower were shipped by steam train to Trappe Station and hauled the last four miles or so to town on wagons. The original Pittsburgh Des Moines Constructing Engineers brass plaque is shown here.

The well originaly was located directly across the street from what is now the Town Office. The “pump house”, a tin covered wood frame building, stood next to the well and housed a large air compressor and a centrifugal water pump. The pump and air compressor were each powered by large, one cylinder, kerosene-burning engines. The reservoir, which was not unlike a swimming pool covered by a tin roof, stood directly behind the “pump house”. During operation, compressed air was forced down the well to “blow out” the water. The water was collected in the reservoir and then pumped to the water tower. There was a float inside the water tower that connected by a cable and pulley system to a “flag” that would move up and down in a track on the outside of the tower to signal when the operator needed to pump more water.

At some point, when electricity became available, the kerosene engines were abandoned in place and electric motors were installed, but the original air-lift & reservoir system remained in operation into the late 1940’s. A 2 horse power Cook brand oil lubricated turbine pump was subsequently installed and remained operational even after well No.2 and No.3 were in place but its small size could not keep up with the daily demand for water after the mid 1950’s.

A second shallower well (well No. 2) about 100 feet deep was installed around 1953 or 54. A two-pipe jet pump was installed by the Sam Shannahan Artesian Well Co. (not the same as Shannahan Artesian Well Co. that exists today). Mr. Shannahan removed the original kerosene engines and air compressor for salvage at that time. The volume and quality of water delivered by well No. 2 was disappointing and the well was seldom used because of complaints about the high iron content. Shortly after the construction of well No.3 Wells No. 1 and 2 were abandoned and the pump house building was later moved to a location north of town to be used for a business. The building has since been razed from that site.

Well No. 3 was installed, under what is now the Town Hall meeting room. That well remained in operation until the water level dropped below the level of the pump in 1967. Due to the design of the well, the pump could not be lowered further, so the well was abandoned. At that time, the small wood framed building currently (2012) known as “The Lions Club building” on south Main Street was attached to Town Hall and served to house the electrical controls and and HTH chlorine disinfection used with well No.3. Gas chlorination was introduced at this location just before the well was abandoned.

The present well #4 was hastily installed in 1967 and fitted with a 10 hp submersible pump followed by well #5 in 1971 fitted with a 20 hp submersible pump. During the time it took to install the new well #4, Trappe Frozen Foods (now Trappe Packing Company) supplied water to the town by pumping all night to our water tower after shutting down their own operation. The interconnection had been install years earlier to allow either system to supply water to the other in an emergency. There have been a few occasions when the Town has supplied water to the frozen foods plant, but only this one occasion where they supplied the town. Such interconnections are no longer permitted and have been removed.

Wells No. 4 and 5 are still operating, but the 10 hp pump in well No.4 has been replaced with a 20 hp pump. Wells No.1, 2, and 3 have been closed and abandoned. Several new wells are proposed as part of the the future Lakeside development.

Wastewater System

Under the leadership of former council president Maurice T. Adams, in 1962 work was begun to construct the town’s first wastewater treatment plant. The new facility began operating on March 31, 2002.

Trappe’s wastewater plant, originally constructed around 1961, consisted of a series of facultative and partially aerated lagoons or ponds. That plant continued to operate well until new environmental regulations, along with projected growth, forced the Town to build a new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility. April 2002 saw the lagoon system replaced by a new Biolac extended aeration activated sludge treatment plant with continuous backwash sand filtration. The treated wastewater is disinfected with chlorine, chemically dechlorinated, and mixed with fresh air before being discharged to the receiving stream. Our new plant is designed to discharge extremely low levels of phosphorus and ammonia nitrogen. We are currently treating about 135,000 gallons of wastewater per day. Our plant has a rated capacity 200,000 gallons per day.Our old lagoons are still maintained as required emergency holding areas. These required improvements came with a large price tag, which has resulted in increased water and sewer service rates.

To inquire about the operation of the water or sewer system, please contact Steve Callahan at the wastewater treatment plant lab. Phone: (410) 443-0087.