Pittsburgh, PA — Today the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) was awarded a $35.5 million low-interest PENNVEST loan and $3.0 million PENNVEST grant totaling $38.5 million to replace 25,000 feet of water service lines throughout our drinking water service area.
“We are thankful for the support of the PENNVEST Board, Governor Wolf, Mayor Peduto, and our city and state legislative leaders for recognizing the essential work we are doing to modernize our water infrastructure,” Will Pickering, PWSA’s Chief Executive Officer said. “This award will save PWSA ratepayers approximately $34.7 million in comparison to issuing a revenue bond,” Pickering stated. “PENNVEST funding has become an important funding source to advance some of our most critical water projects.”
In addition to replacing nearly five miles of water lines, the funding will also be used to replace 59 fire hydrants and approximately 592 lead service lines – helping us to meet our goal of replacing all lead service lines by 2026.
Water main and lead line replacements are a significant part of our capital improvement plan. Each year, we commit to replacing a dedicated amount to improve service reliability, reduce service disruptions, and improve water quality throughout our drinking water service area. We are currently completing an effort to replace 14 miles of water main in ten Pittsburgh neighborhoods and will replace an additional six miles later this year under the 2021 water main replacement project.
PWSA has used PENNVEST funding in the past to help fund the removal of lead lines and replace aging water lines. With this most recent round of funding, we have received approximately $160.6 million saving ratepayers a total of $112.0 million since 2018. While most of the PENNVEST funding are low-interest loans to repay to the state, any grant funding does not need to be repaid and places no burden on our customers.
“Since the majority of our funding comes from ratepayer dollars, funding through PENNVEST helps to construct necessary capital projects while reducing the onus on PWSA customers,” says Ed Barca, PWSA’s Director of Finance. “State and federal funding is necessary for keeping rates as low as possible especially during this time when the investment in our infrastructure can no longer be delayed.”
As a publicly owned and operated water utility, every dollar we receive is reinvested back into the water systems that serve those living and working in Pittsburgh. We will continue to pursue opportunities like PENNVEST to keep rates as affordable as possible.