Water woes, chapter 3: Major pipe break shows need for PWSA overhaul

As a task force appointed by Mayor Bill Peduto prepares to submit its recommendations for reshaping the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, a water main break and subsequent boil water advisory Sunday underscored yet again the importance of getting an overhaul underway.
For some, water-related restrictions are more than an inconvenience.
Other businesses in the area closed altogether.
The break in a 20-inch line at Centre and South Negley avenues prompted PWSA’s third boil-water advisory of the year.
There’s no evidence of contamination, but the advisory was issued just to be safe.
The diminished water pressure left open the possibility that something could infiltrate the system.
Time is money, and Mr. Rongier has bills to pay even when the chairs in his dining room go unused.
Bigger organizations, such as hospitals and universities, can weather the inconvenience but have to spend money on bottled water or waste man-hours boiling what comes from the tap.
Just as they cannot afford to lose customers when pipes burst and water must be boiled, small businesses have a difficult time surviving inflated bills, flood damage, basement sewage backups and emergency repair projects that detour traffic around their doors.
The new structure theoretically would keep the water service a public entity and insulate it from Grant Street politics, a deleterious influence in past years, as infrastructure problems and other woes are addressed.

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