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PWSA receives $7M in state loans for upgrades

| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 3:18 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority approved more than $7 million in low-interest loans that will help the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority reduce water main breaks and discharges of raw sewage into creeks and streams.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced Tuesday that PWSA will receive $2.89 million to replace about 75 valves and install 25 fire hydrants throughout its water system. Another $4.1 million will go to sewage improvements to help eliminate discharges during wet weather.

The authority is under a federal court mandate to drastically reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into waterways during heavy rain. It must submit plans to the state by July for addressing the problem. PWSA engineers estimate the costs, which could include installing bigger pipes and a 6-million gallon holding tank, will run from $100 million to $200 million.

Sewer Authority spokeswoman Melissa Rubin said the valve replacements will permit workers to isolate water main breaks, and cut back on the number of customers who lose water service during repairs.

The state awarded $82 million in loans and grants for projects in five counties. Funding comes from state taxpayers, federal grants and repayment of previous loans.

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