PWSA issues boil water advisory for 100,000 customers
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has issued a flush and boil water advisory for about 100,000 of its customers in the central and eastern sections of the city.
The temporary advisory was issued Tuesday afternoon to 100,000 customers after tests taken near the Highland Park drinking water filtration plant showed levels of chlorine lower than state standards for treated drinking water, according to an order from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to PWSA.
The DEP stated that tests it received Monday show the water agency was in violation of the state’s Safe Drinking Water Act.
The advisory is due to concerns that the water could be contaminated with giardia, a microscopic parasite that causes a diarrheal illness and is found in soil, food or water contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“PWSA failed to achieve a combined total effect of disinfection processes utilized in a filtration plant to achieve at least 90 percent inactivation of Giardia cysts and a 99.9 percent inactivation of viruses,” the DEP order stated.
Chlorine is added to the water to prevent giardia contamination and other disinfection purposes, said PWSA spokesman Will Pickering, but no giardia cysts have been found in any of the samples taken by PWSA or its regulators.
“The advisory is purely precautionary, and we are not aware of any cases of giardia,” Pickering said. “The Highland microfiltration plant was taken out of service (Tuesday) night to address these concerns.”
PWSA is ordered to sample chlorine levels at five locations at the Highland Park Reservoir and the Highland Pump Station every four hours until the DEP says the advisory can be lifted, the order says.
The advisory applies to residents in the following neighborhoods: Bedford Dwelling, Bloomfield, Bluff, Crawford, East Liberty, Friendship, Glenwood, Greenfield, Highland Park, Hill District, Homewood, Larimer, Lawrenceville, Lincoln-Lemington, Morningside, Oakland, Point Breeze, Polish Hill, Regent Square, Shadyside, Stanton Heights, Squirrel Hill, Swisshelm Park and Terrace Village.
Customers in the affected area should run water for at least one minute, then boil water for one minute and let it cool down before using it to drink, make ice, wash dishes, brush teeth or prepare food, the PWSA release said.
Pittsburgh sets up water distribution sites
Wednesday morning the city announced sites where residents can pick up water. Eleven Pittsburgh Public Safety facilities will serve as water distribution centers for and will be equipped with 2,500 gallon water buffalo tanks.
Pittsburgh Engine Co. No. 7, 4603 Stanton Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15201
Fire Station 6, 3958 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa. 15224
Fire Station 8, 149 N. Euclid Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206
Fire Station 10, 2501 Allequippa St. Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213
Fire Station 12, 4156 Winterburn Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15207
Fire Station 14, 259 McKee Place Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213
Fire Station 15, 7024 Lemington Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206
Fire Station 17, 7601 Hamilton Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15208
Fire Station 18, 5858 Northumberland St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15217
Fire Station 19, 159 Homestead St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15218
Fire Training Academy, 1402 Washington Blvd., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206
Additional Locations (operational by 2 p.m.)
Shop ‘n Save, 1850 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15219 (Hill District)
Giant Eagle, 6320 Shakespeare St. Pittsburgh PA 15206 (Shadyside)
Morewood Gardens Apartments Parking Lot Corner of Forbes Ave. & Morewood St. Pittsburgh PA 15213 (Oakland)
Fire Station 13, Hazelwood – 200 Flowers Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15207
22 schools and 2 childhood centers closed
Due to the flush and boil water advisory issued by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, 22 Pittsburgh schools and two early childhood centers are closed on Wednesday.
|Schools closed due to water advisory|
|Pittsburgh Arsenal PreK-5|
|Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8|
|Pittsburgh Peabody/Obama Early Childhood Center|
|Pittsburgh Science and Technology|
|Pittsburgh Frick Early Childhood Center|
In addition to the 24 school closures, the City Connections East program is also closed.
UPMC, Allegheny Health Network statements on PWSA advisory
On Wednesday morning UPMC released a statement on the PWSA advisory:
“UPMC is following the PWSA boiled water notice at the hospitals in the affected neighborhoods. As part of our contingency plan for this type of emergency, water supplies, including bottled water, are being distributed to patients and staff. All UPMC hospitals remain operational and there is no impact on patient care. There are no cancellations to any patient procedures, surgeries, and/or tests that are scheduled for Wednesday.”
The Allegheny Health Network released a statement on the advisory:
“After the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) issued a water safety alert last night for a number of Pittsburgh communities – including Bloomfield and Lawrenceville – West Penn Hospital took several precautionary measures to protect patients, staff and visitors, including moving to bottled water for consumption, teeth brushing and food preparation. West Penn will keep these measures in place until we are instructed otherwise by the PWSA.”
PENGUINS, AEG REACT TO PWSA WATER NOTICE
The Pittsburgh Penguins, AEG and Aramark have responded to Tuesday’s water advisory issued by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority by shutting off all public water drinking sources during the Penguins game at PPG Paints Arena.
That includes all water fountains, soda fountains and ice machines. Bottled water and soda remain available.
The PWSA issued a precautionary flush and boil water advisory “for some customers in the central and eastern sections of the city.” The authority said that “The purpose of the precautionary advisory is to ensure that all drinking water meets regulatory standards. The health and safety of our drinking water is PWSA’s number one priority.”
More information on the advisory can be found at www.pgh2o.com .