CEO Will Pickering joins federal officials at launch of Biden-Harris Get the Lead Out Initiative
Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) CEO Will Pickering will join U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Assistant Administrator of EPA Radhika Fox, and cabinet officials in Washington D.C. today for a summit to discuss national efforts to permanently remove lead from water and other sources. The event will also announce several initiatives to increase resources and assistance for communities across the country to address this public health priority.
Pickering will represent PWSA at the announcement and join a panel of national experts to share how the Authority has taken advantage of funding from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help meet the Authority’s goal of replacing all lead service lines by 2026. He will also share how PWSA’s Community Lead Response engages with community stakeholders and makes investments based on equity by prioritizing high-risk communities.
“We’re honored to share our progress and lessons learned on a national stage,” said PWSA CEO Will Pickering. “Funding from the federal government has been a key to our success replacing lead rapidly, and we’re looking forward to continuing to partner with the Biden-Harris Administration, EPA, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Gainey Administration to continue to access grant dollars for this essential public health effort,” he continued.
The priorities covered at the Biden-Harris Lead Summit are embodied in PWSA’s Community Lead Response, initiated in 2018. Signing to uphold these principles reaffirms our commitment to fully fund the removal of all lead service lines and to not perform partial lead line replacements. This approach ensures safer drinking water for all.
PWSA Remains Committed to Removing All Lead Service Lines by 2026
Removing lead service lines is the only method to guarantee safer water for all. PWSA’s Community Lead Response has replaced nearly 10,000 lead service lines since its inception in 2016 and has a goal of replacing all public lead lines in its distribution system by 2026. State and federal funding play a huge roll in accomplishing this replacement work, with approximately $270 million in funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) supporting lead replacement work since 2019.
This year, PWSA will continue its aggressive removal of lead service lines using a variety of targeted lead removal programs. These include our Priority Lead Line Replacement Program and Neighborhood Lead Line Replacement Program both established in 2022 with funding from PENNVEST and the City of Pittsburgh with a grant from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. PWSA will also replace hundreds of lead lines through our annual water main replacement program, which upgrades all water infrastructure on a given block, ensuring reliable service for residents.
Ensuring Water Safety
This announcement in Washington comes on the heels of PWSA’s release that for the fifth consecutive sampling round, lead levels are well below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). To maintain effective corrosion control, our team of national water quality experts consistently work to optimize the treatment process to ensure lead levels remain low.
Empower Community Members with Essential Resources
PWSA water customers interested in lead service line replacement can visit our interactive project map to see if their street is slated for replacement in the future. For those who wish to replace their private-side lead service line proactively, they may apply for PWSA’s Lead Line Reimbursement Program, which reimburses customers up to 100% of eligible costs when they work with a private plumber. PWSA also provides resources like discounted lead pitchers and filters, free lead test kits, and education on lead via our one-stop shop, lead.pgh2o.com.
Read the Biden Administration’s fact sheet on the White House Summit on Accelerating Lead Pipe Replacement here.