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There is a plan to get Pittsburgh's public water fountains running this summer

Plan to get Pittsburgh's public water fountains working
Plan to get Pittsburgh's public water fountains working 02:51

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A heat wave is coming to Pittsburgh, and almost all of the city's 200 public water fountains have yet to be turned on

But now a Pittsburgh City Council member is crafting a plan to get the water flowing after the Pittsburgh Department of Public Works director said this week that he didn't have the means to get the fountains working anytime soon. 

"I have one plumber working for the city," Pittsburgh Department of Public Works Director Chris Hornstein said. "We have over 200 drinking fountains."

One plumber for the entire city, and he's responsible for getting the pools, spray parks and bathrooms up and running before he can get to the fountains. Councilman Bobby Wilson, who calls the situation unacceptable, has a plan to get the fountains working. 

"I've been talking to everybody," he said. "I've been talking to the plumber's union, been talking to the PWSA. We have a meeting with the PWSA to figure this out."

The plan is for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to offer its plumbers overtime pay to get the city's water fountains working. Wilson says the city will make the same offer to the school district plumbers and the union, but the PWSA sent KDKA-TV a statement indicating it's already on board. 

"Keeping our community hydrated with a fresh, reliable supply of drinking water is important during the hot summer months," the statement said. "As temperatures heat up and people begin to visit City Parks more regularly, we understand their need for water services. PWSA is working with the City to find solutions to assist with turning on the fountains."

"It's going to take a real collaboration," Wilson said. 

In addition to organizing that collaboration, Wilson said he'll be putting in a bill to authorize the increase in the plumber salary rate from the current $30 an hour to recruit more plumbers next year. But he expects the city to get these fountains running within two weeks. 

"My hope here is the residents of Pittsburgh can enjoy their parks and when they're thirsty they can get a drink of water," Wilson said. 

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