Archive

ShareThis Page
PWSA to begin adding lead reduction chemical to tap water by February | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

PWSA to begin adding lead reduction chemical to tap water by February

283820PWSAleadlinereplacement
Contractors in 2017 dig up water lines to homes in Perry North to determine if they are made of lead. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority plans to begin adding a chemical to tap water in February that is expected to greatly reduce lead contamination.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is on schedule to begin adding a chemical to the drinking water supply by February that should resolve the city’s lead contamination problems, PWSA officials said Friday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection authorized PWSA’s use of orthophosphate on Sept. 24, according to Barry King, the interim director of engineering. King said the authority finalizing plans for the installation of equipment necessary to add orthophosphate to tap water. The construction, estimated to total $2.5 million, includes two small buildings in Highland Park.

Construction should be finished by Jan. 30 and orthophosphate added to the water by the first week of February, King said.

“This is very important to all of us because it is the curative,” said Paul Leger, who chairs the PWSA board of directors. “This solves the problem.”

PWSA will continue flushing fire hydrants across the city to clear sediment from water mains and prepare the pipes for a protective coating of orthophosphate. The coating prevents lead from leaching into the water.

The authority will stop using soda ash and lime to reduce lead containment once it begins adding orthophosphate.

PWSA has been exceeding a federal threshold for lead since summer 2016. Its most recent 90th percentile result, reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July , was 10 parts per billion, the lowest in eight years. The threshold is 15 parts per billion.

Leger said the authority would continue its lead water pipe replacement program until all lead lines are removed by 2026. PWSA has applied to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, which supplies funding for water and sewer lines, for a low-interest loan or grant of up to $50 million that would pay for new water lines.

“We still want to replace lead pipes because we don’t want to have lead pipes,” Leger said. “That’s what our customers deserve.”

PWSA Executive Director said the PennVest funds would permit the authority to replace around 2,800 lead lines in 2019. The authority will replace about 2,200 this year, he said.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.