Friday, January 4, 2019

Pittsburgh Water Authority Replaced 2,048 Lead Water Service Lines In 2018, Surpassing DEP Goal

On January 3, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced its Community Lead Response Program replaced 2,048 water service lines made of lead in 2018, surpassing DEP’s replacement goal by 565 lines
The 2018 replacement program cost $40 million, but the program costs came in $4 million below estimates.
Since July 2016, the Authority has replaced 2,761 lead service lines.
“The success of PWSA’s 2018 lead line replacement program puts it on track to meet its goal of replacing all lead service lines by 2026 to ensure a safe and healthy future for Pittsburgh’s children and families,” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said.
PWSA’s 2018 replacement program used five separate local construction contractors, in-house staff, and professional engineering consultants to plan, coordinate and replace the lead service lines.
Over a dozen crews worked evenings and weekends to replace lead lines in neighborhoods across PWSA’s drinking water service area.
Contractors and in-house crews have perfected innovative trenchless replacement methods to remove lead from our water system more quickly and with less disruption to property.
Other noteworthy components of PWSA’s 2018 Community Lead Response included:
-- Distributing over 10,300 free lead water test kits
-- Providing more than 2,600 certified lead water filters and pitchers
-- Launching a dedicated webpage with video content
-- Inspecting 15,000 curb boxes to identify the location of lead service lines
-- Attending 15 community meetings to explain the replacement program
-- Securing agreement from over 2,200 property owners to replace their private lead lines
-- Uploading 83,000 data points onto interactive searchable online lead map
-- Holding over 2,400 in person pre-construction meetings with homeowners
-- Responding to over 6,600 emails directed to:
-- Utilizing trenchless replacement technique at over 96 percent of replacement sites
-- Permanently removing over an estimated 7.5 miles of lead water lines
“We’re proud of the progress made in 2018, but we are not resting on our laurels,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar. “We’re already hard at work planning for the 2019 replacement program that will replace an additional 3,400 lines using $49 million in state funding assistance. Our goal is to replace all lead service lines in Pittsburgh’s water system as quickly, and as efficiently as possible.”
PWSA Board of Directors Chairman Paul Leger said, “We look forward to continued success with our replacement program and the imminent orthophosphate water treatment upgrades that will reduce corrosion within any remaining lead service lines. The Board of Directors is committed to providing the oversight and the resources to ensure PWSA is doing everything possible to reduce the risk of lead in our water.”
Reducing Lead Risk
PWSA recommends several steps anybody can take to reduce the risk of lead in tap water:
-- Test your tap water for free. Kits can be requested at or by calling our Lead Help Desk at 412-255-8987.
-- Search the records we have for your home at: Many of the records are from the time of original construction, but it’s useful to see if you may have a lead service line. A licensed plumber can also inspect the private line entering your home.
-- If you think you have a lead service line, run your tap for at least one minute before using water for cooking or drinking. You can also use water filters certified to remove lead. Coupons for filters can be found here.
To learn more about PWSA’s Community Lead Response programs visit, email: or call our Lead Help Desk at 412-255-8987.
PWSA also urges you to take advantage of the Allegheny County Health Department’s programs to reduce lead exposure from sources other than water.
For more information, visit Pittsburgh Water Authority’s Community Lead Response webpage.
Visit DEP’s Pittsburgh Water Authority webpage for more information on DEP’s actions on the lead service line issue in Pittsburgh.
For more information on health threats from lead in drinking water, visit DEP’s Lead In Drinking Water webpage.
More Resources
The Joint State Government Commission and a special Senate Lead Exposure Task Force will be making recommendations on reducing exposure to another hazardous substance-- lead-- as early as April in 2019 as a result of Senate Resolution 33, sponsored by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
For information on health threats from lead from other sources, visit the Department of Health’s Lead Poisoning webpage.
Pittsburgh Water Authority Exceeded DEP’s Lead-Line Replacement Goals In 2018

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