PWSA hits lead-line replacement deadline 9 months early |

PWSA hits lead-line replacement deadline 9 months early

Bob Bauder
Contractors in 2017 dig up water lines to homes in Pittsburgh’s Perry North neighborhood to determine if they are made of lead.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is nine months ahead of a state-required deadline for replacing 855 lead water lines before June 2020, the authority announced on Wednesday.

PWSA this week hit a magic number set by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and intends to continue replacing lead lines whether owned by the authority or by private property owners. The authority was required to replace at least 7 percent of lead lines — 855 — between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

“Even though we met our regulatory requirement, we will continue to focus on getting the lead out and improving water quality for all our customers,” PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar said in a statement.

The $49 million lead-line replacement program is being financed through state grants and low-interest loans.

PWSA has struggled since 2016 to reduce lead levels in water that exceeded a federal threshold of 15 parts per billion.

The authority is addressing the problem by replacing all lead water lines in its service area, which includes about 300,000 people in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and by adding lead-inhibiting orthophosphate to water. It is replacing private lead lines at no cost to property owners.

Lead levels have dropped since PWSA began adding orthophosphate earlier this year, according to PWSA.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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