PWSA has shifted our mindset and culture towards proactivity, and this change for the better is manifesting itself in many ways, perhaps most notably in an ambitious series of projects known as the Water Reliability Plan that will repair and rejuvenate our water system for the next 80 – 100 years.
The projects in the plan are an investment of roughly $300 million over the next five years. This series of once-in-a-generation projects to renew key components of our water production and distribution systems will strengthen our water system, add redundancy, and provide an uninterrupted supply of quality water that the people of Pittsburgh can rely on for many years to come.
Resiliency means that all crucial portions of the system, like pump stations and large-diameter water mains, will deliver a continuous supply of reliable and safe water service. Redundancy means that if there is a failure, the system is designed in such a way that there is always another way to supply water and maintain service.
The capital projects that make up the Water Reliability Plan include rehabilitating the 100-year-old Aspinwall Pump Station, rebuilding the Bruecken Pump Station, replacing reservoir liners and covers, updating electrical and backup power systems, and repairing various large-diameter water mains throughout the system. The work will culminate with the complete restoration of the Clearwell, a large, century-old water storage facility that is critical to the operations of our entire system and currently operates without redundancy or backups in place.
These projects included in the Water Reliability Plan will take place sequentially over the next five years starting with projects in Highland Park.
In 2022, PWSA anticipates breaking ground on the construction of a new 50 million gallon per day drinking water pumping station and large water distribution pipes, known as rising mains, in Highland Park.
The new pump station will replace the existing station that was used to supply water to the Garfield Tank water supply system. Due to the age of the equipment and operating conditions that made it unreliable, PWSA ceased operation and installed a temporary pump next to the existing pump house. In addition, the new station will house pumping equipment that will provide a supplemental and redundant supply of drinking water to the Highland I Reservoir water district. This will ensure an uninterrupted and reliable water supply to over one-third of PWSA customers.
To connect the new pumping station to the Highland I Reservoir water supply system, a new 48-inch rising main will also be constructed. The alignment of the rising main will be near the upper entrance to Highland Park and was chosen to minimize impact to existing trees in the area.
The century-old original supply main conveying drinking water from the Highland II Reservoir to the pump station, as well as the aging Highland II Reservoir cover and liner will also be replaced during the construction of the pump house and rising main, to minimize overall downtime.
This major investment in our water and sewer infrastructure is unequivocally good for the people of Pittsburgh. These improvements will provide current and future generations with a modern water system that delivers reliable, high-quality water for the next century.