Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to complete addition of lead inhibiting chemical | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to complete addition of lead inhibiting chemical

Bob Bauder
The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority drinking water treatment facility is along Freeport Road near Aspinwall. The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority drinking water treatment facility is along Freeport Road near Aspinwall.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority on Monday will complete the last phase of adding a lead inhibiting chemical to its water system, officials said Friday.

PWSA will begin adding orthophosphate, which coats the inside of pipes and prevents lead from leeching into drinking water, at the Highland 1 Reservoir in Highland Park.

Authority spokesman Will Pickering said Highland 1 provides water to residents in Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhoods.

Paul Leger, who chairs the PWSA board of directors, noted that after Monday, orthophosphate would be distributed throughout the entire system.

“That should make a great difference in the lead readings that we get in the future,” he said. “It’s going to be six months before we see the (full) effects of that just because it’s a process that takes some time.”

The reservoir remains off line for repairs, so the authority will add the orthophosphate to water pumped from its waterworks near Aspinwall to piping at Highland 1 for distribution throughout the East End. PWSA constructed two buildings near the reservoir to add the chemical.

Could discolor water

Officials said the addition of orthophosphate could cause temporary water discoloration, but they’ve received no complaints so far.

Customers with discolored water should run cold water at the lowest point in their home for about 10 minutes or until the water clears. They should repeat the process after 30 minutes if the water does not clear up.

If discoloration persists, they should call PWSA customer service at 412-255-2423.

PWSA has struggled since 2016 to reduce lead levels in water that exceeded a federal threshold of 15 parts per billion. The most recent test results released in January indicated lead levels of 20 ppb from July to December.

The authority is addressing the problem by replacing all lead waterlines in its service area, which includes about 300,000 people in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and by adding orthophosphate to water.

PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar said the authority has replaced about 700 lead waterlines so far this year. It includes about 300 PWSA lines and 200 owned by residents.

The authority plans to replace 4,400 lines by June 2020.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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.