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Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority Launches Effort To Eradicate Lead From Pipes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is launching an aggressive effort to eradicate lead from its pipes.

Pittsburgh's water tests safe coming out of the treatment plant, but thousands of homes are still at risk for lead.

If there is lead in the water coming out of your faucet, there is little question where it's coming from.

"The lead problem in Pittsburgh, and most providers, is actually in the line the customer owns," says PWSA Interim Executive Director David Donahoe.

That's the water pipe from the main running down the street to your house.

PWSA is confident in its product.

"So our water, when it leaves the plant, is clean of lead," said Donahoe.

But they know it goes through lead pipes into many homes. How many?

"The truth is, we just don't have that information right now," Donahoe said.

It's one of the things Donahoe wants, a new Water Quality Advisory Committee to help figure out. While lead pipes have been illegal in new construction since 1968, the age of a home is no guarantee.

"We've seen older properties that have copper lines and newer properties that have lead lines," says Donahoe.

Plus, he says wants a body of independent experts "to look at what we do and make recommendations as to what we can do better."

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Currently, PWSA adds lead protection chemicals to your water.

Donahoe says it's "to coat the customer's service line so the lead doesn't leach into the customer's water."

PWSA is reviewing other lead abatement chemicals to see if they are more effective, and they'll work with customers when they find lead pipes in areas where they are replacing water mains.

"If they want to replace their service line, then that's the point to do it because we'll do all the restoration work," said Donahoe.

All of this is going to take time, and if you are concerned about the water pipe coming from your meter into your house, you can get it tested by the PWSA lab.

They've got the information on their website at this link.

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