Agreement Allocates up to $1.8 million for Low-Income Customer Lead Line Replacement Program
Pittsburgh, PA – Today, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) entered into a Consent Order and Agreement (COA) with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to resolve regulatory issues related to lead service line replacements, corrosion control treatment and other related matters during a period from 2013 to 2017. The corrective actions laid out in the COA lays out PWSA’s program to address lead corrosion issues. The COA requires implementation of lead corrosion treatment upgrades and a comprehensive full lead service line replacement program. In addition, the COA allows PWSA to direct up to 75 percent of the associated civil penalty toward lead service line replacements for low-income homeowners in its service area.
Most of the provisions in the COA address PWSA’s compliance with requirements from the DEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead and Copper Rule, and a May 2016 DEP Administrative Order related to the Authority’s change in corrosion control treatment chemicals. Specifically, the COA sets amended deadlines for performing lead service line replacements, completing a lead service line system inventory, finishing a corrosion control treatment study, and implementing the optimized corrosion control water treatment.
“PWSA acknowledges the missteps of the past outlined in the COA, and has either already corrected them, or is doing everything in its power to address them,” said PWSA Interim Executive Director Robert A. Weimar. “I commend our regulators at DEP for working with us to come to a sensible agreement that sets expectations for how PWSA will address critical water quality issues like lead in drinking water.”
PWSA Board Chairperson Debbie Lestitian said, “This agreement between PWSA and DEP provides a clear roadmap for how the Authority will remove lead from our water system. Though it resulted in a penalty, the Board stands by our decision to halt potentially harmful partial lead service line replacements. We appreciate DEP’s willingness to direct a portion of the funds toward a beneficial use for our low-income customers.”
Recent changes to state law granted PWSA the legal authority to fund and perform lead service line replacements on private property with the property owner’s consent. This legal change will allow PWSA to avoid partial lead line replacements which have been demonstrated to increase levels of lead released in drinking water in some homes. The Authority is in the process of developing a lead service line replacement program that includes replacing privately-owned lines and expects to release program details in the coming weeks. The low-income private lead service line replacement program is currently in development and is subject to DEP approval.
As the Authority identifies the location of lead service lines, it is notifying residents directly and making the information available to the public on a searchable online map here. In addition, PWSA continues to offer free lead test kits to residents of the City of Pittsburgh and Millvale. Since June 2016, PWSA has provided over 22,000 test kits to help inform residents about the quality of water in their homes. To request a lead test kit and learn more about lead in drinking water, please visit www.pgh2o.com/lead-facts.
A copy of the executed COA can be found here.
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is the largest combined water, sewer and stormwater authority in Pennsylvania, serving 300,000 consumers throughout the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.