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Statement from Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Executive Director Robert A. Weimar in response to Announcement by Attorney General Shapiro February 1, 2019

Statement from Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Executive Director Robert A. Weimar in response to Announcement by Attorney General Shapiro: February 1, 2019

“We’re deeply disappointed with the decision made by Attorney General Shapiro to pursue criminal charges related to some of the actions previously addressed in a November 2017 civil settlement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). We self-reported the issues to DEP, agreed to a civil penalty of $2.4 million, and have since established one of the most comprehensive lead service line replacement programs in the nation. We have cooperated with DEP and addressed the issues covered by the civil settlement. Additional fines related to these previous missteps would only divert ratepayer dollars that would otherwise be used for critical water quality improvement projects and programs. We will defend these charges.”

Additional background information:

In November 2017, state law was amended to allow PWSA and other municipal water authorities to replace privately-owned lead lines to avoid partial lead line replacements. Since the settlement with DEP, PWSA developed and implemented a modern service line replacement program, which replaced more than 2,048 water service lines made of lead in 2018. The total program has replaced more than 2,761 lead service lines since July 2016 which surpassed the DEP required lead service line replacement goals by more than 565 lines by the end of 2018. In addition, program expenditures included costs to replace 1,300 private service lines, which were performed at no charge to customers to reduce the risk of potentially harmful partial lead line replacements. In an effort to address high-risk populations, PWSA is prioritizing lead line replacements in neighborhoods with a higher likelihood of pregnant women and young children.

PWSA’s 2019 lead service line replacement program is expected to replace approximately over 3,400 publicly-owned lead service lines and more than 2,800 private lines. In addition, the Authority provides free lead testing for all customers and free certified water filters at homes where it performs work on lead service lines. More information on PWSA’s Community Lead Response can be found at lead.pgh2o.com.

Media Contact

Will Pickering

Phone: (412) 657-4031

wpickering@pgh2o.com

 

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