Pittsburgh, PA – Councilwoman Deb Gross introduced a Will of Council resolution today supporting the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s (PWSA) new Residential Homeowner Assistance Program (RHAP). The resolution was unanimously approved by council and aids Pittsburgh homeowners facing potentially steep costs to remove storm water connections from sanitary sewers.
PWSA's RHAP program offers grants and loans to qualified homeowners for home repairs needed for compliance with provisions of the 2004 Consent Order and Agreement (COA) between the PWSA, the City of Pittsburgh, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) requiring properties that convey stormwater to a sanitary sewer through, for example, a downspout, disconnect them. The COA also required the City of Pittsburgh to enact an ordinance in 2006 mandating that residential properties in sanitary sewer areas perform and pass a dye test demonstrating compliance with the requirement to disconnect prior to the property being sold. The cost to a homeowner to meet the disconnection requirement ranges from $250 to as much as $30,000.
Councilwoman Gross’ resolution was co-sponsored by Council President Bruce Kraus, Councilman Corey O’Connor, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak and Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, whose districts are most affected.
“As both a member of City Council and the PWSA Board, I felt committed to help solve this problem. PWSA’s RHAP program is a great example of the innovative and collaborative solutions we promote at the city and the Authority,” Councilwoman Deborah Gross said.
City Council’s full support of the RHAP program signifies a joint partnership in the effort to alleviate a significant financial burden facing some Pittsburgh residents.
“I want to thank all of the council members for their support of this important program, which we have worked hard to implement, and especially to Councilwoman Gross for sponsoring the Will of Council resolution and advocating for the residents of Pittsburgh alongside PWSA,” PWSA Interim Executive Director Jim Good said.
Dollar Energy Fund (DEF) will serve as the grant and loan program administrator and first point of customer contact for Pittsburgh homeowners who wish to participate in this program. PWSA and DEF will seek additional funding sources to further capitalize and support this program. The program goes into effect on March 31, 2015, and eligible projects may include green solutions.