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South Hills water-treatment video an eye-opener

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 7:15 p.m.

A 10-minute video guides Pennsylvania American Water Co. users through the story of water treatment in the South Hills from newly laid pipes to a $101 million upgrade completed on Becks Run Road in the last year.

Instead of just telling residents what the infrastructure improvements were about, water company leaders opted to show them in their first video to document a large-scale project.

“Seeing is believing,” spokesman Gary Lobaugh said.

The video, released on the company's YouTube channel on Monday, documents the drinking-water process and how the $101 million upgrade to the Hays Mine Treatment Plant and Becks Run Pumping Station, on the border of Baldwin Borough and Pittsburgh's Carrick neighborhood, will ensure compliance with future water-quality standards, as well as enhance safety at the more than 100-year-old facility.

The infrastructure upgrades at the Hays Mine Treatment Plant and Becks Run Pumping Station — the largest capital-improvement project in the water company's history — led to road closures, dust and other inconveniences for residents in the area, Lobaugh said. The video helps to show residents why all of that was necessary and what is going on behind the walls and inside the pipes of the Becks Run Road facilities.

“Folks drive past it every day,” Lobaugh said. “We really thought it was important to let them know what their patience led to.”

Through the “magic of stop photography,” viewers also will be taken back to the beginning and learn how water treatment has changed in the area over the years, Lobaugh said.

The video will “give them an understanding of how the plant grew up with the South Hills.”

Customers, who pay a fee each month for their water, will learn where their money goes.

“This lets them know, ‘Why do I pay for this? When looking at that penny a gallon, they want to know, ‘Why can't they just take the water out of the river and deliver it to my house?'” Lobaugh said. Now, people will have the answers on video.

The water company already has operational videos on its YouTube channel that outlines water-treatment procedures and restoration after a water-main break.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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