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Pittsburgh is still relying on one plumber to turn on its public water fountains

Water fountain woes continue in Pittsburgh
Water fountain woes continue in Pittsburgh 02:13

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two weeks after it was learned that most of Pittsburgh's 200-plus public water fountains were not operational, the city is still relying on one plumber to get them turned on. 

It's named after the Eliza Furnace, but cyclists and runners call it the "jail trail" and ride and run up and down it daily. But the water fountain at the trailhead still isn't working. 

"It is a hot day," Larry Mueller, of Franklin Park, said. "It'd like to be able to get a drink of water. Sorry to see the fountains still aren't up and running."

Two weeks after KDKA-TV reported that the city has only one plumber to turn on the fountains, the plumber is still waiting on outside help. Last week, Pittsburgh City Council passed an emergency resolution authorizing the city to contract with plumbers at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. 

But while PWSA immediately offered three plumbers at overtime rates, the authority said it's never heard back from the city's administration. And the plumber continues to work on his own. 

"One plumber just can't do it. It's an embarrassment to the city," Liz Saunders said.

On Tuesday, the city said the situation has not yet changed. However, the city said that in the past two weeks, the plumber has turned on some 51 fountains, which still leaves more than 150 to go. 

Press secretary Olga George confirms the city will not be using PWSA plumbers but says the city has identified a private contractor. George says the contractor will soon be receiving a work order to turn on 26 of the fountains. 

No word on that contractor or when that work will begin, but even under the city's plan it will take several weeks to get all fountains operational.

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