Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pittsburgh Water Authority Reports Lead Levels In Drinking Water Well Under EPA Action Standard

On July 22, the
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority reported the most recent round of drinking water testing found a lead level of 5.1 ppb, well below the 15 ppb EPA action level.
The water samples were collected from 158 homes with lead service lines or plumbing are the lowest levels in recent history, demonstrating the effectiveness of adding orthophosphate to PWSA’s water treatment process.  

This is PWSA’s lowest lead testing result in over 20 years and the second consecutive round of testing below the action level. 

The results indicate the Authority is effectively reducing lead levels across our water service area. DEP is expected to certify this round of testing results as early as this week.

In April 2019, the Authority began adding orthophosphate to reduce lead levels in drinking water while continuing to replace thousands of lead service lines. 

Orthophosphate is a food-grade additive that forms a protective layer inside of lead service lines, creating a barrier between the lead pipes and the water flowing through them. 

It is approved by the EPA and successfully used in water systems across the world. Orthophosphate was selected by PWSA and approved by DEP after an extensive, year-long study of treatment alternatives.

"Water has long been Pittsburgh's most precious resource, and residents should be assured their drinking water is safe and will stay so for generations. It wasn't easy, but we faced this crisis down and will keep doing the work that is necessary to continually improve our water system," Mayor William Peduto said.

“This latest round of testing not only brings us back into compliance with state and federal regulations, but also closes an unfortunate chapter in PWSA’s history,” said PWSA Executive Director Will Pickering. “Ensuring the safety of your water is our number one priority, and we’re aiming to restore our customers’ trust by continuing to optimize water treatment and replacing the remaining lead pipes in our system.”

"Eliminating lead has been a priority for PWSA.  I'm amazed at how far we have moved to remove lead from our system,” stated Paul Leger, PWSA’s Board Chair.  “Thanks to the PWSA team who made this happen.  We have passed all hopes we had for lead reduction and we will continue that work until the lead threat is totally eliminated.”

Click Here for more information about the Authority’s Community Lead Response and orthophosphate. 

Visit DEP’s Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority webpage to learn more about their response to the issue.


After Years-Long Crisis, Lead Levels In Pittsburgh’s Water Finally Meet Federal Compliance

Related Article:

AG Shapiro Announces Settlement With Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority Over Lead Water Pipes

[Posted: July 22, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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