PWSA Receives $139 Million in Low-Interest Loans and Grants from PENNVEST

Mora McLaughlinMedia Release, News

Partnership with PENNVEST is essential for advancing infrastructure improvements and reducing costs to ratepayers

With support from PENNVEST, PWSA will continue to expedite the removal of lead service lines.

Pittsburgh, PA – Today, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) was awarded $133 million in low-interest loans and a $6 million grant from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) for water main, lead service line, and catch basin replacement projects, and for security improvements to PWSA facilities. These awards will save ratepayers approximately $105 million compared to traditional municipal bond financing. 

“Thanks to the continued support of the PENNVEST Board, Governor Wolf, state legislative leaders, and the City of Pittsburgh, we are well on our way to establishing a new standard of quality service for our customers,” said PWSA Chief Executive Officer, Will Pickering. “These projects will allow PWSA to continue to remove lead service lines, replace aging water mains, secure critical infrastructure, and manage the stormwater on our roadways.”  

This $139 million award will go towards critical water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure projects and security enhancements at several PWSA facilities.  

  1. Seventy-seven million dollars ($77M) of the low-interest loan and the entire $6 million grant provides funding to replace eight miles of aging water mains and will remove hundreds of lead service lines from our drinking water service area. These improvements, which are part of the 2022 Water Main Replacement Program, will be allocated to project sites in Highland Park, Central Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Point Breeze, Central Oakland, Hazelwood, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill. 
  2. Forty-six million dollars ($46M) of the low-interest loan will go towards the replacement and modernization of 3,600 catch basins, commonly known as storm drains, across our service area over the next three years. 
  3. Ten million dollars ($10M) of the low-interest loan will be used to enhance security measures at all PWSA facilities. Our water system, recognized as critical infrastructure, must be properly secured and managed. This funding will advance important security upgrades to our facilities and assets and provide customers with greater confidence knowing that measures are in place to protect the quality and resiliency of their drinking water system. 

Outreach to vendors through the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program database ensures Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms are aware of opportunities and the ability to compete for work funded by EPA financial assistance dollars. PWSA’s Supplier Diversity Policy, which states a goal of 10-25% of all contracts are to be awarded to DBE firms, will direct approximately $13.9 million of this funding to DBE firms. To learn of these upcoming PWSA opportunities, DBE firms are encouraged to register with our procurement portal.  

“PWSA has established an effective partnership with PENNVEST that is essential for advancing the important work we have undertaken to improve our infrastructure,” said Ed Barca, PWSA’s Director of Finance. “We appreciate their recognition of the extensive improvements we are making across Pittsburgh. This additional funding helps to expedite our work while over time reducing the onus on ratepayers.” 

Today’s award is the second largest PWSA has received behind the $209 million awarded to our Water Reliability Plan in July. Since 2018, PWSA has received from PENNVEST a combination of $533 million in low interest loans and $26 million in grants, totaling $559 million. Over time, external funding keeps rates as low as possible during an unprecedented level of investment in our essential water systems.