PWSA says new $50 million water line will be among its largest projects ever
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority plans to run a new main line four miles from its water works in Aspinwall to the Lanpher Reservoir, which supplies about 30 percent of PWSA customers.
PWSA no longer wants to rely on the existing, leaky main that’s more than a century old.
Authority officials described the $50 million project as “one of the largest and most complex capital improvement projects in PWSA’s history” and the longest pipeline project since the early 1900s.
They are seeking proposals from engineering firms that can quickly provide innovative plans for constructing a large pipeline through heavily congested neighborhoods. PWSA plans to have the line installed by 2023.
The existing riveted steel pipe runs along the Allegheny River through multiple municipalities, including Aspinwall, Etna, Sharpsburg, Pittsburgh and Shaler. The 113-million gallon reservoir is in Shaler.
Two major ruptures of the existing main in 2015 and 2017 cost more than $4 million in total to repair and convinced PWSA that a backup line was critically needed. The second break dumped more than 10,000 gallons per minute into the river and threatened to shut off water to Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.
“The new redundant Lanpher main will improve water quality, reliability, and reduce costly emergency repairs,” PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar said in a statement. “We now have the resources and in-house expertise to partner with the private sector to deliver these challenging infrastructure projects.”
Weimar said PWSA has considered, but has put off, replacing the pipe since the 1950s.
Firms applying for the job must attend a mandatory pre-bid meeting Aug. 21 at the PWSA offices in the Strip District.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has ordered PWSA to install new liners and covers at Lanpher.
PWSA spokesman Will Pickering said crews should finish replacing the liner and cover on the west side of the reservoir by September and the east side by December.
PWSA serves about 300,000 consumers in Pittsburgh and and the surrounding areas.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.