PWSA Launches Online Water Service Line Map

OliviaMedia Release

Interactive map designed to inform the public on the location of lead water services lines

Today, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) released an online searchable map showing the initial results of the Authority’s Curb Box Inspection (CBI) program. The purpose of the CBI program is to locate and verify where water service lines made of lead are located in PWSA’s service area. PWSA notifies customers directly when the material of their water service line is identified through the CBI program.

Water service lines are currently a joint responsibility, with PWSA owning the segment of line from the water main to the curb stop, and the homeowner responsible for the portion from the curb into the home. PWSA estimates that approximately 25 percent of the 71,000 residential service lines in its water system are made of lead pipe.

The Authority launched the innovative CBI program in February 2017 as a cost efficient and non-disruptive method to identify the location of public and private lead water service lines. The Authority’s contractors perform approximately 200 inspections per week, with over 2,000 inspections completed to date. Sites for inspection were chosen based on parcel age, known age of water mains, and lead water test data. Inspections are intentionally dispersed among each City Council District and will continue until all water service lines are verified. Results of the inspections are shared with homeowners and tenants directly via letter, and the online map will be updated with verified results on an ongoing basis.

“The residents of our city demand full disclosure and this is a critical step toward full public disclosure of PWSA’s lead program. The dynamic web map, in addition to the 20,000 NSF-certified filters provided by my Administration’s Safe Water Program, will help inform families with young children and pregnant women who are most at risk for exposure to lead,” said Mayor William Peduto.

“PWSA is fully committed to sharing results with the public from our innovative curb box inspection program. Identifying the location of lead service lines is a critical step toward removing harmful lead from our water system,” said PWSA Interim Executive Director Robert A. Weimar.

Legislation drafted by the Office of the Mayor related to private service line replacements, and additional disclosure of lead service lines and plumbing, will be considered by the City Council in the coming days. The Authority supports initiatives aimed at removing all sources of lead in the drinking water system. PWSA’s Board of Directors is currently reviewing these specific proposals.

On June 2, 2017, the Authority modified the lead service line replacement program to cease partial lead service line replacements. PWSA contractors performed a total of 61 partial lead line replacements since May 2017. The Authority received 18 lead water tests taken from homes within 72-hours after construction was completed. Eleven lead test samples indicated elevated levels above the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead action level of 15 parts per billion. PWSA is gathering data to determine the accuracy of these test results and is following up with impacted customers via phone calls and in-home visits. As a measure to protect residents, PWSA is reassessing its lead program to determine how it will meet EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) regulatory requirements without performing partial lead service line replacements. The Authority’s formal notice to PADEP regarding this policy change can be found here.

Partial Lead Line Replacement Post Construction Test Results (parts per billion)

Below  Lead Action Level








Elevated Levels












Ingesting lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Although most lead exposure occurs from ingesting lead paint, dust, or lead contaminated soil, EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent may come from drinking water. If residents know or suspect they have lead service lines or plumbing, they are encouraged to reduce exposure in drinking water by using the following recommendations:

  • Run your water to flush out lead. If you haven’t used your water for several hours, run your cold tap for one minute before using for cooking or drinking. Homes with longer lead water service lines may require flushing for a longer period of time.
  • Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Lead dissolves more easily in hot water. Do not drink, cook with, or make baby formula using hot water.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  • Purchase a water filter that is certified by NSF to remove lead. Discount coupons for NSF-certified filters can be found here. Customers can also choose to drink bottled water.
  • Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. There are commercially-available lead check swabs that can detect lead on plumbing surfaces such as solder and pipes, or visit lead facts for more information on determining pipe material in your home. Consider having lead-containing pipes and fixtures replaced. Contact PWSA if you decide to replace your lead service line. PWSA will coordinate with residents to replace its portion of lead service line at the same time.

PWSA continues to assess the use of alternative water treatment chemicals to mitigate the lead corrosion in service lines. With PADEP approval, PWSA intends to implement alternative treatment as soon as possible to reduce lead levels to below the EPA lead action level. PWSA will continue to replace lead service lines as quickly as possible throughout the City. Additional resources and information can be found here.

A summary of PWSA’s lead program can be found online.