PITTSBURGH, PA (January 28, 2020) Years of management and operational changes at the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority are leading to remarkably positive changes at the agency, including its lowest levels of lead testing results in almost two years.
PWSA announced Friday that lead compliance testing for the second half of 2019 showed a lead level of 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is below the action level of 15 ppb set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The findings are the first to fully show the success of PWSA’s additions of orthophosphate into the water system starting in April 2019, as well as other lead-fighting initiatives by the agency’s Community Lead Response program.
Through the program PWSA has replaced more than 6,000 lead lines, including 3,000 in 2019, and plans for replacing another 3,000 this year. Much of the replacement work is financed by $49 million from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), which Mayor William Peduto and Governor Tom Wolf announced in 2018.
Other changes at PWSA have included a new cooperation agreement with the City ensuring the water system will remain publicly-owned; oversight by the state’s Public Utility Commission; and work by the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the authority, which forwarded its restructuring recommendations in 2017.
“Pittsburgh’s greatest resource has long been its water, and PWSA has proven it is more committed than ever to preserving safe and clean water for generations of city residents to come,” Mayor Peduto said.
Prior to Friday’s lead compliance results previous testing over the past four years has shown: