PITTSBURGH, PA (February 7, 2017) - Mayor William Peduto has directed the Office of Municipal Investigations (OMI) to begin an investigation at the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) to discover why the authority was forced to issue a flush and boil water advisory last week, causing upheaval for some 100,000 city residents.
With the approval and cooperation of the PWSA Board, OMI has been tasked with a targeted investigation to inform the causes of the irregularities in chlorine readings that led to the order, and inform City and PWSA officials on decisions regarding water testing in the future.
"This is not a fishing expedition. We simply want to discover what went wrong, and how to keep these events from happening again," Mayor Peduto said.
The Administration is also coordinating with state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on an outside audit of the authority, which Pittsburgh City Council requested last week.
OMI will conduct interviews with PWSA employees to evaluate the operations and staffing of its water systems and testing, as well as the equipment the authority uses to filter and test its water. That may include looks into a possible system failure at the Highland Park reservoir; a failure by an authority chlorometer; and whether there were operator errors.
The investigation has already started. Separately the PWSA board, with the support of the Peduto Administration, will today be inviting the Auditor General to conduct its own performance investigations of authority operations.
"OMI's role as an independent fact finder will provide a definitive factual report that can assist the Mayor, the PWSA Board and the Auditor General on critical next step decisions for the authority," said Kevin Acklin, the Mayor's Chief of Staff.
Additionally, the Mayor is calling for an audit of lead testing kits and results sent to authority customers. From January through December 2016 6,625 testing kits were ordered from the PWSA but less than half (3,100) were returned for review.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
City of Pittsburgh
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