PWSA Completes Centre Avenue Sewer Project

Mora McLaughlinMedia Release, News

$2 Million Infrastructure Relocation Helps Maintain Reliable Water Services for Customers

Pittsburgh, PA – This August, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) completed an extensive infrastructure upgrade on Centre Avenue, between Morewood Avenue and Devonshire Street, in the Shadyside neighborhood. This four-month-long project replaced an aging sewer main and water main, as well as any lead service lines found during the work. This $2 million investment ensures reliable sewer service for customers on the block while also relocating and completing upgrades to the water main and replacing any lead service lines found during the work. 

After crews televised the sewer main and determined there were structural deficiencies, they devised a plan for its replacement. Upgrading the sewer pipe would mean moving the water main, which was installed above the existing sewer, making construction access difficult. The final plan involved replacing approximately 600-feet of water main and three lead service lines, installing the new water main in a location that would not interfere with the sewer or other underground infrastructure. Then, an approximately 225-foot portion of sewer was replaced along with 5 storm drains. The entire length of the sewer on the block was also lined using a trenchless lining process to further reinforce it from the inside.

Crews on Centre Avenue installing new sewer main.

This project was part of PWSA’s Sewer Under Structures Program, which addresses aging sewers that are obstructed by structures like other utilities or buildings. Sewer mains are the deepest of all utilities. Over time, as more utilities, buildings, and other structures were constructed, they were placed above existing sewer lines making them difficult to access. Now that many of these sewers are more than 100 years old, we must identify and relocate these essential assets to extend their useful life, reduce maintenance costs, and simplify routine maintenance. PWSA invested approximately $2 million on this project, with nearly $219,000, or 10.6% of the project cost, allocated to disadvantaged business enterprises.

This project comes to a close as PWSA celebrates Sewer Awareness Month, an annual recognition of PWSA’s sewer system and all it does for us. While sewers are often “out of sight, out of mind,” they provide a critical function in our community and across the world, maintaining a healthy environment and diverting sewage and stormwater to treatment facilities, like ALCOSAN.

Televised footage of crack in old sewer main.

“Maintaining a reliable public sewer system is a crucial component of public health. The tens of millions of dollars we are investing to improve our sewer system today will ensure it provides safe and effective services for years to come,” said PWSA CEO Will Pickering. “This month, as we recognize our sewers, we ask that all Pittsburgh residents, workers, or visitors do their part to keep our sewers flowing by properly disposing of fats, oils, and grease and only flushing what toilets are meant to handle.”

To learn more about the importance of our sewers during Sewer Awareness Month, visit our TwitterFacebook, and website for more information.