Who owns your water service line?
As shown in the diagram, the portion of your water line that runs between the water main and your curb box belongs to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. The portion between the curb box and your water meter belongs to you.
As part of our Community Lead Response program, we are planning to locate and replace the portions of lead water service lines that we own. We also want to determine if the portions of the water lines that belong to our customers are made of lead, because we want to work with homeowners to replace those portions as well.
A portion of your water service line belongs to you, and a portion of it belongs to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
What portion of your water service line is made of lead, and what does this mean?
Before we do any type of construction, we perform an inspection to determine whether the public and/or private portions of the customer’s water line are made from lead. Below are the possible results of this inspection, and what each scenario means.
This means that the portion of the water line between the water main and the curb box is made of lead. The portion of the water line that belongs to the customer is made of some other material, such as copper. In this situation, we will replace the public portion, but we will most likely not need to enter the customer’s property. Following the replacement, we provide more information about dates and testing water for lead. Following construction, the customer will need to flush the household plumbing, using instructions we provide.
This means that both portions of the customer’s water service line are made of lead, starting at the water main and continuing all the way up to your water meter. In this case, both the public and private portions of the water service line should be replaced. We will provide customers in this situation with more information about next steps, and about testing water for lead. Following construction, the customer will need to flush the household plumbing, using the instructions we provide.
This means we did not find lead on either portion of the customer’s water service line. We will not be performing construction in this case. This does not necessarily mean that the customer’s plumbing is completely lead-free. Lead can enter water through interior lead pipes, interior galvanized pipes (especially if there was a lead water service line running to the house in the past), interior copper pipes with lead soldered joints, or interior plumbing fixtures purchased or installed prior to January 2014. We encourage customers in this situation to contact the Lead Help Desk to request a free lead water test kit and to contact a plumber for more information about replacing lead interior pipes and fixtures, if necessary.
This means that there is lead between the customer’s curb box and water meter, and that the public portion of the water line is made from some other material, such as copper or cross-linked polyethylene (PEX). Unfortunately, we are not replacing the lead water line on homes that do not have a lead public water line as part of our Community Lead Response program. We do still recommend that these customers take action to replace your lead water line by contacting a plumber for more information about replacing your private lead water service line. The Urban Redevelopment Authority offers a low interest loan program called Replace Old Lead Lines (ROLL) that helps City of Pittsburgh property owners afford to replace their lead water service line. Call 412.255.6677 for information.
If customers receive an inspection result that says “UNKNOWN” or “NOT ACCESSIBLE,” this means that the contractors were not able to inspect the service line due to obstructions.
In this instance, we reschedule the inspection for a future date. In the meantime, we encourage customers to contact the Lead Help Desk to request a free lead test kit to determine if there is lead in their drinking water.
Let’s Work Together to Improve the Safety and Quality of Your Drinking Water
Lead water lines may be causing unsafe levels of lead at the homes of our customers. If your property is eligible to participate in the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Community Lead Response program we will contact you about inspecting and (if necessary) replacing your water service line.
Because the private portion of the water line is the property of our customers, they have certain responsibilities that that they must complete in order to make our work possible, and to improve the quality and safety of their water.
Replacing the private portion of lead water lines is voluntary. But if customers choose not to replace them, they may experience high levels of lead in their drinking water.
- Complete and return the agreement
- Be present during construction, or designate somebody else at least 18 years old to be present
- Provide contractors with clear access to the water meter and service line, both at designated inspection dates, and on the designated water line replacement date
- Allow the Allegheny County Health Department to access your house after the work is complete to conduct a final inspection of the work
- Replace any outdoor landscaping, hardscaping, or structures that are disturbed during construction. (We will make every effort to minimize disruption to your yard and home, but you are ultimately responsible for your yard’s final appearance)
- Flush out your household plumbing after construction is complete, following the instructions provided
- Collect and submit a water sample within 72 hours after construction has taken place, following the instructions provided
- Follow any additional instructions for testing water after your initial sample is evaluated by PWSA
- Notify PWSA within 30 days if the service line or any plumbing connected to it is damaged during construction
- Examine water service line and connections to determine whether portions of your water line are made of lead
- Require all contractors to obtain permits and carry insurance
- Prior to completing any construction, examine any areas of property that may be disturbed by construction and provide you with a list of related work that you may need to complete before, during, or after construction
- Replace the lead water service line that is made of lead
- Make any required interior modifications associated with the water line replacement required to meet the plumbing code
- Take interior and exterior photos of the property before, during, and after to ensure safety and completeness of work
- Repair or replace any damaged service line or connected plumbing that is reported to us within 30 days of construction
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority reserves the right to exclude a residence from the program due to construction feasibility or excessive cost concerns.
Property owners interested in participating in the Community Lead Response program must return the signed Agreement within ten days. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has limited funding available for the program, and will do its best to accommodate those interested in replacing their service line. Please review the enclosed agreement for additional details and requirements, including an explanation of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s restoration policy.