Recently, local radio station WESA featured a story about our increasing capital investment describing why this is a good sign. As you see more construction activity taking place within our service area, it is important to recognize that this is a positive step in Pittsburgh’s water future that will lead to a more secure, reliable water system, less service disruptions, and higher quality water.
Our total capital investment in 2020 was approximately $122 million - an increase from 2019 and our largest annual investment in our history despite construction delays due to the pandemic. Investment will continue as we renew large water infrastructure and rehabilitate our network of water and sewer pipes that carry water to and from homes and businesses.
2021 Capital Investment by Category
This construction activity falls into several categories outlined in our 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
Renewing Critical Water Infrastructure
These projects will renew key components of our water production and distribution systems culminating with the complete restoration of the Clearwell, a large, century old water storage facility. Together, these projects will strengthen our water system, add needed redundancy, and ensure an uninterrupted supply of quality water. The capital projects that make up our plan include rehabilitating the Aspinwall and Bruecken Pump Stations, replacing reservoir liners and cover systems, updating electrical and backup power systems, restoring pump stations, and repairing or replacing various large-diameter water mains throughout the system.
Replacing Water Mains
The strategic replacement of water mains will improve reliability, improve water pressure, maintain water quality, and minimize disturbances caused by breaks. Our small-diameter water main replacement program focuses on replacing existing 4” and 6” water mains that have a history of frequent breaks. As we replace these water mains, we will also remove any lead service lines attached to them. This is a cost-effective way to maintain our water distribution system and proactively remove lead.
Rehabilitating Sewer Lines
Sewers are the workhorse of our infrastructure - they move sewage and stormwater away from homes and businesses, but a sewer failure can be very disruptive. We are identifying aging sewers and making improvements to prolong their life and rehabilitate them before they fail. Many of these projects will use sewer lining technology, which creates a protective barrier that secures cracks in the pipe and prevents leaks.
Improving Stormwater Infrastructure
We are building new stormwater infrastructure to capture stormwater runoff, reduce flooding and basement backups, and improve capacity within our combined sewer system. This year, construction is slated to begin on the second phase of the Wightman Park project in Squirrel Hill and we anticipate starting construction on the Maryland Avenue project in Shadyside and the Thomas and McPherson project in North Point Breeze. These projects will help to better manage stormwater in Pittsburgh.
As you see more work taking place in your neighborhood or around our facilities, know that every dollar we receive from ratepayers is reinvested back into the system to improve water services and create a more reliable system. We thank you for your patience as we make this investment and appreciate your support as we advance these projects.
For more information about capital projects in design or construction, please visit: pgh2o.com/projects-maintenance.