PWSA Kicks Off 2018 Curb Box Inspection Program to Find Lead Water Service Lines

OliviaMedia Release

PWSA contractors will inspect three times more service lines than 2017 program.

Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is beginning a second round of curb box inspections to identify the location of water service lines made of lead. The work will be performed through a $2.8 million contract with Michael Baker International to inspect 15,000 residential service line connections. PWSA inspected over 5,000 service lines during its 2017 inspection program.

Service line material inspections play a key role in the Authority’s overall Lead Program. We must identify lead service lines throughout PWSA’s drinking water system to lay the groundwork for eventual replacement. Customers will be notified directly of the inspection results to inform them about the quality of water in their homes. The public can also view available curb box inspection results on our website, at

“This innovative method of identifying lead service lines was conceived by PWSA Field Operations staff,” said interim executive director Robert Weimar.

“Accessing the curb box and taking pictures to document material-type avoids costly and disruptive excavations. We are excited to see Michael Baker take our innovation to the next level this year.”

Curb box inspections begin by locating and marking curb boxes, and then clearing out the curb box, which is the hollow pipe leading to the shutoff valve often found in the sidewalk. In most situations, this process will provide a clear view of the water service line below. Cameras are then used to take pictures of the service line that will then be used to identify the material of the pipe. Finally, crews will document all located curb boxes within the work zone for future reference.

Inspections under the 2018 Curb Box Inspection Program begin in the Perry North and Perry South neighborhoods of the North Side. To see the streets impacted by this work, see PWSA’s schedule at

PWSA will continuously update its lead service line map with curb box inspection results. Per a consent order and agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PWSA must update its inventory of approximately 71,000 residential water service line connections by December 31, 2020. The Authority has already scanned over 100,000 paper records, some of which are over 100 years old. PWSA will make these records viewable on the service line map in the coming months.