PWSA

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A new policy to help low-income residents pay their water bills during the winter months is in the works, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board members said Thursday. 

The PWSA's recently formed affordability committee will help develop the fair payment policy.

The board considered a complete moratorium last month on water shutoffs between December and March for low-income residents who can't pay their bills but also rely on radiators heat their homes.

Margaret Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It’s been a rough couple of years for water in Pittsburgh: flush and boil advisories, billing issues and elevated lead levels, all stemming, in part, from a lack of investment in the organization as a whole over the past couple of decades. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

In seven locations throughout the city, fire hydrants are continually spewing water --- more than 15 million gallons of water.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

While federal and state environmental regulators are in town this week examining the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s treatment processes, a city-hired consultant is working on its final recommendations to completely restructure the agency.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Officials from state and federal regulatory agencies are in town this week touring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s water treatment plant in Aspinwall.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Senate could vote Monday or Tuesday on whether to put the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority under state oversight.

A bill that would empower the Public Utility Commission to oversee the embattled agency has been pending before the full Senate since June 30. When the chamber returns from summer recess Monday, it will have two days to act on the measure. Without action by Tuesday, the bill will be removed from the Senate calendar with the possibility of later consideration.

Michigan State University

The Heinz Family Foundation has announced the winners of this year’s Heinz Awards, which honor people who are breaking barriers in their fields and making a global impact.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a public meeting Tuesday, officials from Tulsa, Okla. and Indianapolis, Ind. talked about the dramatic changes their city made to the provision of water and sewer services. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority faces significant organizational issues—crumbling infrastructure, lead issues, steep debt—but soaring rates of short-term disability are not one of them, said interim executive director Bob Weimar.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Residents of Millvale are no longer under a flush and boil water advisory. Officials with Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) announced Sunday night that the Department of Environmental Protection had approved lifting the advisory.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. A consultant found PWSA to be “a failed organization atop a dangerous and crumbling structure” in an initial assessment presented Monday. Hours later, the authority issued a flush-and-boil water order for 18,000 homes across the North Side, Millvale and Reserve Township related to holes in the cover on top of a water reservoir in Shaler Township.

Steve Johnson / flickr

Residents of Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods and Reserve Township can again use water from their faucets. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Thursday evening that the precautionary flush and boil advisory instituted Monday had been lifted.

The advisory has not been lifted in Millvale, however, where additional tests are required to verify that the water is safe.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An estimated 18,000 homes in Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods, Millvale and Reserve Township will continue to be under a flush and boil water advisory until at least Thursday, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said Tuesday.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority issued a precautionary flush and boil advisory Monday night for city neighborhoods north of the Allegheny River, as well as Millvale and Reserve Township.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Before presenting initial findings on the state of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Monday, Steve Steckler of the consulting firm Infrastructure Management Group, Inc. said, “none of them are very good.”

Occurence of Trihalomethanes in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking Water Supply Wells, 1985-2002 / United States Geological Survey

Lead isn't the only potential water contaminant Pittsburgh residents should worry about, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

The Washington, D.C.-based research and lobbying group this week launched a website that allows residents to look up which contaminants are present in the local drinking water supply, at what levels they exist and how those levels compare with state and national averages.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The environmental engineer who worked to expose the Flint lead crisis in 2014 said Pittsburgh’s drinking water lead levels are higher than the Michigan city, but he’s encouraged by downward trends.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed two measures Tuesday to clear the pipeline for removing and replacing the city’s lead water service lines.

The first measure allows the city to work with property owners to replace lead service lines on private property. The second requires property sellers to test for lead pipes and disclose those findings to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Kamil Kaczor / Flickr

Officials announced Tuesday that PWSA is back in compliance with federal standards for lead levels in drinking water. The next day, City Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the authority to replace the private side of residential lead service lines when it replaces the public side.

Irina Zhorov / Keystone Crossroads

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to replace the private side of residential lead service lines when it is also replacing the public side.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Tuesday that it is now in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards for lead levels in drinking water.

Paul McCarthy / Flickr

As part of an ongoing project to map all water lines in the city, two contract crews for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will inspect water line connections in parts of the North Side over the next two weeks.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

For the fourth week in a row, Pittsburgh City Council will not discuss a pair of lead-related bills at its committee meeting this week.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

While being grilled by the Pittsburgh City Council during a reappointment hearing Wednesday, PWSA board member and City Department of Finance Treasurer Margaret Lanier said dealing with lead needs to be the system’s top priority.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board of directors on Friday approved the appointment of Robert Weimar as interim executive director for one year.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Weimar, formerly the acting director of engineering, will earn up to $350,000 in the role.

clio1789 / Flickr

There are three big challenges when it comes to eradicating lead in Pittsburgh’s water system: locating lead lines, removing them and paying for it. On Wednesday, state senators approved two bills that would provide the city with the legal authority and money to help rebuild its entire system.

Irina Zhorov / Keystone Crossroads

The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously agreed Tuesday to create a bipartisan group tasked with investigating lead exposure in the state.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is working to address the issue of lead in drinking water "on every front," according to Mayoral spokesman Tim McNulty.

Seth Perlman / AP

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he's pursuing a new consent decree that would allow the state to take control over the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, including all pending lead line replacements. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At either end of Lavarna Way, in Pittsburgh, stood well-used orange signs: ROAD CLOSED.

The street was empty, except for an excavator, and a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority crew dressed in neon yellow suits.

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