PWSA says it meets state-mandated deadline for replacing lead water lines
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Friday that it has met a state-mandated deadline for replacing at least 1,341 lead water lines in Pittsburgh by June 30.
PWSA since 2016 has exceeded a federal threshold for lead content in water, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ordered the authority to replace 1,341 water lines made of lead each year.
Authority officials said they planed to notify DEP on Friday that they have exceeded the number for 2018 with one day to spare. PWSA spokesman Will Pickering said the authority replaced 1,380 lines, including 400 privately-owned lines at no cost to homeowners.
“Surpassing the lead line replacement mandate is a major milestone for the authority and the public we serve,” PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar said in a statement. “Our comprehensive Community Lead Response is proving that we can meet the commitments we make to our regulators while also protecting the health of our customers.”
DEP last year fined PWSA $2.4 million for various violations that occurred from 2014 through 2017, including failing to replace a required number of lead service lines. PWSA replaced 415 lead lines between July 2016 and June 30, 2017 — less than a third of the number required.
PWSA said five separate contractors and PWSA crews worked into evenings and through weekends to meet the deadline. Favorable weather conditions in June helped, the authority said.
Contractors used new techniques , including pulling new water lines through the ground rather than digging them up, which accelerated replacement.
The authority’s $44 million program aims to replace all lead lines in the city. Work will continue throughout the year.
“There is still a long way to go, but meeting this deadline shows that PWSA is clearly making progress in its lead line replacement program,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or [email protected]