PWSA Implements Improved Process and Communications for Lead Testing

OliviaMedia Release

Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is implementing a new streamlined process for handling lead test kit requests, which will improve the integration of lead test data gathered from the certified contract labs and enable PWSA to provide more accurate and timely feedback to customers. Effective immediately, the following changes will take place:

  • All calls for lead test kits will be automatically routed through the Customer Service Department, and then the lead test kit request will be forwarded to the PWSA lab for processing.
  • Three contract labs will be used to analyze samples instead of the current two.
  • PWSA will also now utilize a mail courier service, provided by the contracted labs, to have the labs ship lead test sample kits directly to customers instead of the current hand delivery system, which slowed the process as the volume of requests increased beyond PWSA staffing capacity.
  • After customers collect their samples, they will send the sample kit back to the contract lab for analysis using prepaid postage via the same mail courier service.
  • The contracted labs will issue both the customers and PWSA with the data sample results, and PWSA will provide customers who have lead in their water with an updated letter including information with options for mitigating lead exposure from water infrastructure.

“Optimizing basic processes to improve efficiency and communication is a crucial first step for improving PWSA outreach to customers,” Interim Executive Director Bernard Lindstrom said. “Providing the highest quality water and service to the residents of Pittsburgh is a top priority, and a solid foundational approach to issues will be a focus for the entire Authority.”

To address future challenges related to lead issues, PWSA also plans to hire a person dedicated to increasing public educational outreach on infrastructure and water quality, and improve public relations for the integration of water quality, government relations, and engineering efforts.