Pittsburghers Express Concerns About Lead, Maintaining Public Control At PWSA Restructure Meeting

Nov 3, 2017

About a hundred members of the public attended the final opportunity to weigh in on what might be included in a consultant’s recommendations for restructuring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The city hired Infrastructure Management Group in April to decide how to best address widespread problems at the struggling authority.

At the Thursday evening event, IMG asked members of the public to identify their priorities in ameliorating issues at the PWSA, with regard to transparency, accountability and health and safety.

Nancy Bernstein from Squirrel Hill said she's particularly concerned with lead in Pittsburgh's water. 

"Levels of lead in our home were below the limit, but I was really concerned about the people who have young children, and pregnant women," Bernstein said.

IMG Inc. will present its final recommendations on restructuring the PWSA at a public meeting Nov. 8. Aly Shaw with the Our Water Campaign said the timing of Thursday evening’s meeting makes her skeptical the firm will actually consider the public's input.

"It really doesn't lend itself to being able to take all of this input and actually apply it to their recommendations," Shaw said. "We're hoping that's the case, but we'll also be there next Wednesday for their final presentation to see if they actually take our input."

Most attendees at the meeting said they want to maintain public control over PWSA.

But earlier this week, state Auditor General Gene DePasquale said a public-private partnership might be necessary to address issue as the authority. In response, the PWSA said it would consider and act on many of the suggestions.