Committed to Safe and Reliable Water Service: PWSA's Response During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 27, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Financial resources for our community: 

PWSA is committed to its customers and will continue to make public health and safety our highest priority. For that reason, the decision was made on March 13th to stop all water shut offs, regardless of income, until May 31st. This guarantees that our customers will have access to tap water to drink, cook, and practice important personal hygiene habits during the pandemic. Our state regulators, the Public Utility Commission (PUC), shared the following tips in its March 27 press release for those who may be struggling with financially during this time: 

  • Contact your utilities to discuss the details and qualifications for their customer assistance programs (CAPs), especially if there have been recent changes in household income – even if you did not qualify for CAP in the past, you may now be eligible.
  • Customers currently on CAPs who have experienced further reductions in household income should check with their utilities to determine if they qualify for additional assistance or more favorable financial options.
  • Discuss your financial situation with your utilities before bills become delinquent to explore other possible options – this could include extended payment plans, budget billing, utility hardship funds and/or assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and federal Lifeline program (telecommunications and broadband access funding support to eligible low income individuals or households).
  • The PUC offers resources to conserve energy and safe money on your electric and energy bills. For more, visit PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com

Hardship programs are available for a variety of utilities that serve Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. We, and many others, work with Dollar Energy to provide financial assistance to our customers. To see if you could benefit from these services, visit our Customer Assistance Programs webpage or Dollar Energy Fund's website, or call Dollar Energy Fund at 866-762-2348.

March 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm

PWSA will hold March 27th Board of Directors Meeting via teleconference:

To protect public health, the Board of The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will hold the March Board Meeting via a telephone conference line.  

The meeting will occur Friday, March 27th, at 10:00 am. The dedicated telephone conference information is as follows:  

Conference Number: +1 646-558-8656 

Meeting ID: 143 934 183 

While on the conference line, you will be able to listen to the board meeting, but board members will not be able to hear you.  

PWSA is accommodating requests for public comment using the conference line.   

March 20, 2020 at 2:30 pm

In-person bill payments suspended until further notice:

On March 13th, PWSA closed our in-person bill pay counter at our 1200 Penn Avenue offices to avoid any unneeded interpersonal contact between PWSA employees and the public. Effective Wednesday March 25th at 6:00 pm, the bill pay drop box in the lobby of 1200 Penn Ave will also close. To pay your PWSA bill, visit our “Other Ways to Pay” webpage.  

If you have any urgent concerns about paying your bill, please contact us at 412-255-2423.  

March 19, 2020 at 10:30 am

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is committed to providing our customers with clean, safe drinking water. During these uncertain times in our region, we want to reiterate our steadfast commitment to our customers. Our focus is on providing the vital water and sewage services that you depend on, while prioritizing the health and safety of our customers and workforce.  

Customers should be assured that the COVID-19 virus does not pose a threat to drinking water safety, per the CDC and other public health authorities. Unlike a power outage or natural disaster, a pandemic does not impair our drinking water treatment capabilities. Our water treatment plant is operating normally, and our treatment procedures are effective at inactivating viruses. Tap water is safe to drink and use for personal hygiene. We will continuously monitor our source water and our treatment system to ensure your drinking water is of the highest quality.

We have been monitoring and preparing for the impact of COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, before cases were confirmed in Allegheny County. Our leadership team is coordinating with local public health and safety officials to be prepared for multiple scenarios as this situation unfolds. 

Our actions include:  

  • Imposing a ban on water service shut offs, regardless of income 
  • Closing our in-person bill payment and permit counter as well as our bill pay drop box, located in our lobby at 1200 Penn Avenue, in favor of online options 
  • Reducing social interaction by eliminating non-emergency work performed inside customer homes and businesses 
  • Enhancing safety training for essential field personnel to ensure proper use of personal protective equipment and increasing cleaning frequency at work sites and inside vehicles  
  • Transitioning all staff who are able to work remotely   
  • Implementing technology solutions to continue to serve customers while working from home  
  • Engaging vendors and business partners to ensure we receive continuous supply of critical materials like water treatment chemicals  
  • Keeping employees and customers informed of emerging events via social media and real-time alerts  

 

Our leadership team continues to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Health, and local agencies working on the response to COVID-19. Although some of our projects—such as our lead service line replacement program, which requires significant interaction and work inside homes—may be delayed, we are taking active measures to ensure that essential operations continue and core water and sewer service is not affected. 

Permit applications will still be accepted by email at PermitInfo@pgh2o.com, and more information on permit submissions can be found at www.pgh2o.com. A list of ‘Other Ways to Pay’ can be found on our website: www.pgh2o.com/other-ways-to-pay.

Our customers can continue to call our 24/7 emergency dispatch line at 412-255-2423 to report water emergencies. Non-urgent matters can be easily reported using our online ‘Report an Issue’ form: www.pgh2o.com/report-an-issue.  

For the latest information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the CDC, EPA, and Pennsylvania state health department webpages:

 

We appreciate our customers' patience as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to protecting your safety and the safety of our staff while continuing to provide critical services. We will continue to provide relevant updates as the situation evolves on our website, www.pgh2o.com, as well as through our social media channels.