Infrastructure

State takeover of embattled Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority likely

A Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority facility - from the PWSA website

A Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority facility - from the PWSA website

On the heels of legislation introduced in the state House last week to put the embattled Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority under the watch of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Senate Minority Chairman Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) introduced a co-sponsorship memorandum Wednesday to do the same in the Senate.

“The PWSA’s mismanagement has touched nearly every aspect of its operations,” wrote Costa in the memo. “Management and consultant debacles; endless board turnover; lead contamination that is amongst the worst in the country; drinking water concerns necessitating boil alerts; illegal chemical treatments and infrastructure failures.”

House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-McCandless) and Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Baldwin) introduced legislation last Thursday, citing the same issues with PWSA.

“The citizens served by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority need safe water like everyone in the Commonwealth,” wrote Turzai in a statement. “The stability of the authority to serve its customers requires fiscal responsibility and best practices, both of which are lacking. We want to work collaboratively with the mayor and our colleagues in the General Assembly to address PWSA’s persistent problems.”

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith (District 2) stated that she agrees with the sentiment of the bill, but feels that state oversight should have been considering long ago.

“It seems like all of a sudden everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Where have they been all these years? I’m very curious to see how state oversight will change what’s happening there,” said Kail-Smith. “It’s past time for a lot of these people to take concern with this issue because it’s been going on for a long time.”

She also feels that City Council should be included in any conversations going forward with how the legislation will make changes to PWSA.

“I think we should ask our Mayor and the state representatives that are working on anything regarding PWSA to sit down and talk to council because this is an issue that we are all responsible for,” said Kail-Smith. “We deserve at least some consideration, some respect when having conversations about this. I have a lot of questions about it.”

Councilwoman Deb Gross (District 7), who is also a PWSA board member, said she’s concerned that the proposals are not immediately clear on how they plan to deal with remediating lead lines leading up to private homes- a major contributor to the lead issue.

“It’s not immediately obvious that [the proposals] would allow us to work on private laterals,” said Gross. “I think everyone’s goal is to replace all of these lead points and we have to figure out how to do that. If the PUC affords that ability, why have they not been doing it? I’m still waiting to understand the full story.”

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Gross introduced a Will of Council to highlight the members' support of state legislation sponsored by Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline) that would provide support to the city to help remediate the existence of lead water service lines.

The resolution states its support for Senate Bill 334, which would allow municipalities and municipal authorities the option and ability to make public funds available to remove and replace lead service lines on private property, and Senate Bill 639, which would allow municipalities to include private lateral rehabilitation or replacement in PennVEST funding applications when determined by the municipalities that it is the most effective approach.

The document also supports Senate Bill 656 which would allow municipalities the ability to repair and replace contaminated private lines as well as make public funds available when the lines pose a threat to the public’s health and safety.

All three bills are currently awaiting committee action by the Senate.

“The three bills will clarify state laws about both sewer laterals and water laterals,” said Gross. “So this plays into our current issue of how can current funds be used, and how can funds be borrowed, for this issue. It’s incredibly helpful and I’m appreciative.”

The resolution was passed unanimously by City Council.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.