Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is pleased to announce that it has again surpassed the number of lead line replacements required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). PWSA’s Community Lead Response developed and implemented a modern service line replacement program, which replaced more than 2,048 water service lines made of lead in 2018. The total program has replaced more than 2,761 lead service lines since July 2016 which surpassed the DEP required lead service line replacement goals by more than 565 lines by the end of 2018.
The $40 million ratepayer-funded 2018 program was delivered on time and more than $4 million below initial cost estimates. In addition, program expenditures included costs to replace 1,300 private service lines, which were performed at no charge to customers to reduce the risk of harmful partial lead line replacements.
“The success of PWSA’s 2018 lead line replacement program puts it on track to meet its goal of replacing all lead service lines by 2026 to ensure a safe and healthy future for Pittsburgh’s children and families,” Mayor William Peduto said.
PWSA’s 2018 replacement program used five separate local construction contractors, in-house staff, and professional engineering consultants to plan, coordinate and replace the lead service lines. Over a dozen crews worked evenings and weekends to replace lead lines in neighborhoods across PWSA’s drinking water service area. Contractors and in-house crews have perfected innovative trenchless replacement methods to remove lead from our water system more quickly and with less disruption to property. Our combined team worked diligently to minimize the disruption to our customers in a professional manner that our customers expect and deserve.
Other noteworthy components of PWSA’s 2018 Community Lead Response included:
- Distributing over 10,300 free lead water test kits
- Providing more than 2,600 certified lead water filters and pitchers
- Launching a dedicated lead.pgh2o.com webpage with video content
- Inspecting 15,000 curb boxes to identify the location of lead service lines
- Attending 15 community meetings to explain the replacement program
- Securing agreement from over 2,200 property owners to replace their private lead lines
- Uploading 83,000 data points onto interactive searchable online lead map
- Holding over 2,400 in person pre-construction meetings with homeowners
- Responding to over 6,600 emails directed to LeadHelp@pgh2o.com
- Utilizing trenchless replacement technique at over 96% of replacement sites
- Permanently removing over an estimated 7.5 miles of lead water lines
“We’re proud of the progress made in 2018, but we are not resting on our laurels,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar. “We’re already hard at work planning for the 2019 replacement program that will replace an additional 3,400 lines using $49 million in state funding assistance. Our goal is to replace all lead service lines in Pittsburgh’s water system as quickly, and as efficiently as possible.”
PWSA Board of Directors Chairman Paul Leger said, “We look forward to continued success with our replacement program and the imminent orthophosphate water treatment upgrades that will reduce corrosion within any remaining lead service lines. The Board of Directors is committed to providing the oversight and the resources to ensure PWSA is doing everything possible to reduce the risk of lead in our water.”
PWSA recommends several steps anybody can take to reduce the risk of lead in tap water:
- Test your tap water for free. Kits can be requested at pgh2o.com/leadform or by calling our Lead Help Desk at 412.255.8987.
- Search the records we have for your home at pgh2o.com/leadmap. Many of the records are from the time of original construction, but it’s useful to see if you may have a lead service line. A licensed plumber can also inspect the private line entering your home.
- If you think you have a lead service line, run your tap for at least one minute before using water for cooking or drinking. You can also use water filters certified to remove lead. Coupons for filters can be found here – https://lead.pgh2o.com/resources/lead-filters-and-other-products/
PWSA also urges you to take advantage of the Allegheny County Health Department’s programs to reduce lead exposure from sources other than water at achd.net/lead.