ShareThis Page

Pennsylvania Senate passes plan to help fund lead-line replacements

Theresa Clift
| Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 2:36 p.m.
This lead water pipe inside a house connects the home’s plumbing to the main water pipes.
Thomas Eshenbaugh | For the Tribune-Review
This lead water pipe inside a house connects the home’s plumbing to the main water pipes.

A proposal that would allow municipalities to tap in to state funds to replace privately owned lead lines cleared the Pennsylvania Senate in a 50-0 vote Wednesday.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, heads to the House.

Senate Bill 639 would amend the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority Act to allow municipalities to use state PennVEST funds to repair or replace privately owned portions of sewer and waterlines.

Pittsburgh City Council is considering legislation that would direct Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to replace such lead lines, with homeowner approval, in areas where it is replacing publicly owned lines.

The bill would let the city tap in to state funds to help pay for the full replacements — an undertaking that Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff Kevin Acklin says would cost roughly $410 million.

In a related move, the Senate also passed a bill Wednesday that makes it clear that water systems like PWSA are allowed to replace the privately owned portions of water and sewer lines.

When Fontana introduced it, PWSA officials were claiming that a state law and a 2011 Commonwealth Court ruling prohibited it from replacing the private side of the lead lines.

Brittany Mekilo, Fontana's chief of staff, said she expected the bills to be assigned to a House committee early next week.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, tclift@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tclift.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me