HARRISBURG, April 21, 2021 – More than 2,000 water customers across the Pittsburgh region will receive new, lead-free water lines through a series of grants announced today by state Sens. Jay Costa, Wayne Fontana and Lindsey Williams.
More than $18 million will go to three regional water systems that plan to replace aging lines to customer houses as well as neighborhood supply lines.
Costa, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, said the financing package was arranged through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST), and will also include a $39 million low-interest loan to improve system reliability and efficiency by preventing costly water main breaks.
“This funding provides a crucial boost to local efforts to modernize aging and potentially unhealthy water infrastructure,” Costa said. “It is the result of strong cooperation among all levels of government and I’m proud of the work that will result in better health and lower bills for customers.”
A massive water project by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will replace lead service lines for 592 customers while providing an upgrade to 25,000 additional feet of water line and replacement of 59 fire hydrants.
“Taking an aggressive approach to replacing aging water lines will help Pittsburgh avoid future water quality disasters and eye-opening rate hikes,” Fontana said. “This financing will help thousands of low-income customers to feel confident about the continued quality of their drinking water.”
PWSA’s system includes more than 70,000 residential customers in the region. It will receive a forgivable loan of $2,976,450 to replace lead-tainted service lines. The lead abatement funding comes in cooperation with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The remainder of the project will be funding through a $35,573,550 loan that will be repaid at 1 percent interest over 20 years.
West View Water Authority will receive $6.6 million for its lead abatement efforts, according to Williams.
“The dangers of lead in our water supply have been long known and families deserve to know their household water supply is safe and clean,” Williams said. “This project will provide that assurance for hundreds of families while preventing disruptions and creating jobs.”
The West View project will replace 500 lead services and associated infrastructure. It will include more than 20,000 feet of new, copper pipe, 500 curb boxes and valves, 500 pressure reducers, 500 internal shut off valves, and 500 backflow preventers.
Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority will receive $9.3 million to boost its ongoing efforts to eliminate lead-based service lines. The grant is expected to fund the replacement of 1,000 service lines. Construction will consist of 40,000 feet of new 1-inch copper service lines, 1,000 curb boxes, and associated surface restoration.