Pittsburgh should replace all lead water lines within 10 years
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s recent tap water testing results showing water lead levels that are again in exceedance is a reminder that the lead-water contamination issue is an ongoing battle (Jan. 23, “Lead Levels Up Again in City Water Lines, Latest Tests Show”).
In June 2017, Pittsburgh City Council introduced and passed a bill authorizing the Department of Public Safety to access residential property to remove lead service lines from the private homeowner’s property.
In the same bill, PWSA was instructed to continue its suspension of partial lead service line replacement, a practice that has been thought to increase lead levels in water.
Passage of this bill marked a step forward in the direction toward a lead-free Pittsburgh.
Many cities (Philadelphia; Rochester, N.Y.; Toledo, Ohio) are acting to reduce the risk of lead exposure, and Flint, Mich., has vowed to replace all lead service lines within 20 years.
A report published by the Rand Corp. in 2017 roughly estimated at least 14 years for widespread replacement, while a white paper from the 2016 National Lead Summit proposes 30 years.
Pittsburgh can do better!
Our city needs an accountable timeline toward a permanent solution: Replace all lead service lines within 10 years.
Although effective corrosion control methods are essential in the meantime, establishing a foreseeable permanent goal will hold Pittsburgh responsible for rectifying a long-standing issue.
Healthy Homes Coordinator Women for a Healthy Environment East Liberty