PWSA

Courtesy RedZone Robotics

Robots are everywhere nowadays: playing Scrabble, entering disaster zones, even gambling. Now they’re also inspecting city sewers.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority teamed with RedZone Robotics to use robots to examine Pittsburgh’s sewage lines.

After nearly a year of study and work from water suppliers, state officials, environmental groups and others, a plan has been announced to protect drinking water from its source – the rivers.

The River Alert Information Network (RAIN) announced the Lower Allegheny Regional Partnership and the Lower Monongahela Regional Partnership. It’s a consortium of water suppliers which, in addition to protection, will employ an early-warning spill detection system.

After three years of grappling with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, some Pittsburghers are fed up and heading to court.

The class-action lawsuit, filed May 18 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on behalf of Millvale property owner Susan Newman and "anyone who is a rate payer or biller," credits PWSA for eleven complaints, including breach of contract, common law fraud and civil conspiracy.

Antoinette Palmieri / Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority

More than four years after the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s water line service protection program was scrapped, Pittsburgh City Council took the first step last week to create a new program.

This time, said Councilman Dan Gilman, homeowners will have to actively opt-in to the program, rather than opting out.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s (PWSA) monthly bills for January and February confused many with an “estimate bill” as a result of a new system that cannot read the old meters.

About 3,500 customers’ meters are now outdated, and as a result the meter could not be read electronically as newer models are.  So instead of a regular bill, the PWSA sent out estimates based on past bills.  

Flickr user midquel

Many Pittsburgh homeowners have tried to sell their houses, only to find out that construction decisions made long before they ever even purchased those homes threw a wrench into the process.

Now, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority wants to lend a helping hand to homeowners stymied by such problems.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Instead of overflowing sewer systems and creating flooding, a new project will take rain water and use it to maintain a newly planted meadow in Schenley Park.

Officials from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, ALCOSAN and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) announced Thursday the construction of two green rain water management projects in the park in Oakland.

In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a consent decree to the Pittsburgh region to eliminate sewage contamination entering local rivers and streams.

Customers of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority now have another payment option at their disposal – cash payments at 7-Eleven stores.

“It’s a convenience for our customers who don’t have a bank account, a credit card, a debit card, they may be out of town,” said Melissa Rubin, a PWSA spokeswoman. “Cash payments can be made at any 7-Eleven across the U.S.”

About 750 miles of sewer laterals, or the pipes that connect private homes to the publicly-owned main sewer lines, run underneath Pittsburgh – many of which are damaged.

That’s according to Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), who said repairing and replacing these pipes can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000, and that burden falls on the homeowners.

But he said his legislation aims to solve that problem.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Veolia Water have extended their partnership agreement through December 2014. PWSA started working with Veolia in the summer of 2012.

The initial contract was for at least 12 months, with an option to extend. One of the priorities for the upcoming contract term will likely be finding a permanent director.

“I think that’s the aim of the board, is at the end of the contract term that by then there would be a new, permanent executive director that’s a direct employ of the PWSA,” said interim Executive Director Jim Good.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Last summer, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority partnered with Veolia Water North America to find ways of improving services and operating more efficiently.

Nine months in, officials said the executive management services agreement between the two entities has been beneficial. Rob Nicholas, vice president for development with Veolia, said PWSA has been able to find ways to bring in more revenue without raising rates for customers.