PWSA steps up lead water line replacement program in Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has replaced more than 1,300 lead water lines so far this year, including about 600 owned by city residents, officials announced on Tuesday.
PWSA is on track to replace a total of 8,100 lead lines, both private and public, by June 2020, spokesman Will Pickering said. He said about 10,000 lead lines owned by the authority remain in the city.
“We think were going to do another 3,100 private and another 3,700 public lines by 2020,” he said.
Copper in, lead out. Crews are in Allentown today using the “pulling” method which means we can replace the lead line and avoid digging a trench through the yard. pic.twitter.com/FKI7DLoPlP
— Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (@pgh2o) May 21, 2019
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.
PWSA between 2016 and this year replaced about 4,084 lines, including 1,317 owned by residents. The authority is replacing the private lines at no cost to customers and, in many cases, can do that by pulling new lines through the ground without major excavation.
PWSA is paying for the work through $49 million in low-interest loans and grants from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.
“With each lead line replaced, we’re renewing infrastructure and also protecting public health,” PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar said in a statement.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .