PWSA 12-year plan includes replacement of all lead lines
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority plans to have all lead service lines replaced by 2030, according to a 12-year plan released Thursday by the authority.
“PWSA has fallen short in the past, but we are committed to excellent customer service and upgrading our drinking water, stormwater and sewer systems,” Executive Director Robert Weimar said in a statement. “We are building water infrastructure for the next generation of Pittsburghers.”
The plan lays out eight goals for the next dozen years:
- To responsibly, sustainably manage Pittsburgh’s water for the next 12 years and well beyond 2030.
- To provide safe, reliable water 24/7/365 to our customers and to provide them with excellent customer service.
- To renew and upgrade our drinking water, stormwater and sewer infrastructure to exceed all compliance standards.
- To prioritize public health and replace all lead service lines.
- To make water service accessible through customer assistance to our lower-income customers and continue a moratorium on winter water shut-offs.
- To be fully accountable, accessible and fully transparent to our customers.
- To fairly and equitably charge each customer based on their usage of our system.
- To be a valued regional environmental steward of our most precious resource.
The plan, called PGH2O2030, acknowledged the authority’s past problems, including leadership turnover and high lead levels.
“We are on the road to recovery,” according to the 24-page plan. “We have consistent, committed, proven leadership at the helm, and we have plans for 2030 and beyond. We’re raising the revenue we need to properly maintain our systems and get ahead of the curve with repairs – including removing all lead service lines well before 2030.”
State lawmakers in 2017 passed legislation that placed the authority under PUC control in an effort to address PWSA’s chronic problems – something the plan indicates will strengthen the operation in the long run.
“PUC supervision helps protect consumers, demands transparency and accountability, and keeps PWSA meeting the same expectations as other large utilities in the state,” according to the plan. “With PUC oversight, our customers can have peace of mind that we are monitored to use your rate money wisely.”
The authority this year also announced a $1 billion capital-improvement plan that includes upgrades to the water treatment plant and the stormwater and sewer systems.
“As we invest in infrastructure that is built to last, we’re mindful that PWSA must be a strong financial steward of a critical asset for city residents,” board chairman Paul Leger said in a statement. “The 2030 plan details PWSA’s strategy to pay for needed upgrades in a way that is smart and responsible. With a good credit rating, we can continue to borrow at low interest rates, while we simultaneously improve our cash flow. The future of PWSA is bright.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.