Our Water Future

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority filed a rate proposal to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). After receiving input from the community and negotiations with stakeholders, we filed a proposed settlement on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, regarding our 2022 and 2023 water, wastewater conveyance, and stormwater rate proposal.

The settlement is still to be reviewed by the presiding PUC administrative law judge, as well as the full Commission, with a final decision expected on or before December 16, 2021. If approved, the new rates would go into effect in early 2022.

Ongoing Investment in Infrastructure

PWSA Capital Investment Graph 2017 through 2020

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is catching up on decades of infrastructure improvements and is making the needed investment to provide customers with safe and reliable water services. The rates our customers pay fund much of this work. 

We are actively replacing aging water mains, removing lead service lines, rehabilitating century-old sewer lines, constructing innovative stormwater infrastructure, and implementing our Water Reliability Plan. Since 2017, PWSA has invested more than $300 million in critical water infrastructure improvements - including a record investment of $122 million in 2020. This level of spending will continue over the next several years.

In 2020 we achieved many milestones that demonstrate the deliberate investment we are making in Pittsburgh’s water future.

  • Announced that lead levels now comply with state and federal requirements. At 5.1 parts per billion (ppb), lead levels in Pittsburgh are approximately 10ppb below the state and federal action level of 15ppb. These are the lowest lead levels Pittsburgh has experienced in 20 years and demonstrates the effectiveness of adding orthophosphate to our treatment process.
  • Replaced 3,042 public lead service lines.
  • Replaced 8.9 miles of aging water mains.
  • Lined 13.3 miles of sewer pipes.
  • Restored service to the Microfiltration Plant and completed security improvements around the Highland I Reservoir including the restoration of the parapet wall.
  • Completed construction of new stormwater infrastructure including the Saw Mill Run Stream Restoration project, Wightman Park Phase I Stormwater Improvement project, and the Four Mile Run Early Action projects.

What does the settlement include?

The settlement includes a $21 million total revenue increase phased in over two years. In 2022, revenue will increase by $17 million, and in 2023 it will increase by an additional $4 million. The average residential customer using 3,000 gallons of water per month will see an increase of $5.65 in 2022 and an increase of $1.44 in 2023. It also includes proposed enhancements to our customer assistance programs, adjusted development fees, and a financial incentive for consumers to enroll in auto-pay.

Stormwater Fee

PWSA focused on improved stormwater management for several years and is requesting a stormwater fee in the current rate proposal. After thorough analysis and input from stakeholders, the stormwater fee, if approved, would begin to address the wet weather challenges experienced in Pittsburgh. It would provide a dedicated funding source to improve stormwater management, build innovative stormwater infrastructure, reduce sewer overflows, and lessen the amount of pollution entering our rivers and streams. 

The proposed stormwater fee is based on the amount of impervious surface on a property. In Pittsburgh, the average amount of impervious surface on a residential property is approximately 1,650 square feet. For the purposes of calculating the stormwater fee for everyone, we determined that 1,650 square feet of impervious surface will be equivalent to one residential unit (ERU). ERUs are accepted as the industry standard for determining a stormwater fee. If approved, the stormwater fee will be applied to all residential and non-residential properties in Pittsburgh in the following way:

Stormwater Monthly Rate ERUs 2022 2023

Residential Tier 1:
(>= 400 sf to < 1,015 sf)

.5 $2.98 $3.98
Residential Tier 2:
(>= 1,015 sf to < 2,710 sf)
1 $5.96 $7.95
Residential Tier 3:
(>= 2,710 sf)
2 $11.92 $15.90
Non-residential Per ERU $5.96 $7.95

For more information about our plans to manage stormwater and the fee, please visit www.pgh2ostormwater.com

What does this mean for customers?

Residential Customers

The typical residential customer using 3,000 gallons of water per month currently pays $79.34 per month under the existing rates. When the rate settlement goes into effect in early 2022, this is expected to increase to $84.99 in 2022 or by $5.65 per month. In 2023, this is expected to increase to $86.43 or by $1.44 per month.

Current Rates 2021 - Residential Customers 

Minimum Charges Monthly Usage (1,000 gal) 2021 Existing Water 2021 Existing Sewer 2021 DSIC 2021 Existing Total
5/8" 1 $27.27 $8.51 $1.79 $37.57
5/8" 3 $51.77 $23.79 $3.78 $79.34
5/8" 5 $76.27 $39.07 $5.77 $121.11
5/8" 7 $100.77 $54.35 $7.76 $162.88
5/8" 12 $162.02 $92.55 $12.73 $267.30
1" 20 $273.57 $155.52 $21.45 $450.54

Minimum charges are based on a customer's meter size. The typical residential customer has a 5/8 inch meter. 


Proposed Rates 2022 - Residential Customers

Minimum Charges Monthly Usage (1,000 gal) 2022 Proposed Water 2022 Proposed Sewer 2022 Proposed Stormwater 2022 DSIC 2022 Proposed Total Monthly Impact $
5/8" 1 $27.00 $8.09 $5.96 $1.75 $42.80 $5.23
5/8" 3 $53.20 $22.07 $5.96 $3.76 $84.99 $5.65
5/8" 5 $79.40 $36.05 $5.96 $5.77 $127.18 $6.07
5/8" 7 $105.60 $50.03 $5.96 $7.78 $169.37 $6.49
5/8" 12 $171.10 $84.98 $5.96 $12.80 $274.84 $7.54
1" 20 $290.67 $139.86 $5.96 $21.53 $458.02 $7.48

Minimum charges are based on a customer's meter size. The typical residential customer has a 5/8 inch meter. 


Residential Customer Enrolled in Bill Discount Program

With any rate increase, we must consider the affordability of rates and provide our most vulnerable customers with the assistance they need. 

The typical residential customer enrolled in our low-income customer assistance Bill Discount Program using 3,000 gallons of water per month currently pays $41.77 per month under the existing rates. If the rate settlement is approved, this would change to $43.09 in 2022 or by $1.32 per month. In 2023 this is expected to increase to $44.15 or by $1.06 per month. 

Current Rates 2021 - Customers Eligible for Bill Discount Program

Minimum Charges

Monthly Usage (1,000 gal)

2021
 Existing Water

2021 Existing Sewer 2021 DSIC 2021 Existing Total
5/8" 1 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
5/8" 2 $12.25 $7.64 $0.99 $20.88
5/8" 3 $24.50 $15.28 $1.99 $41.77
5/8" 4 $36.75 $22.92 $2.98 $62.65
5/8" 5 $49.00 $30.56 $3.98 $83.54

Minimum charges are based on a customer's meter size. The typical residential customer has a 5/8 inch meter.


Proposed Rates 2022 - Customers Eligible for Bill Discount Program

Minimum Charges

Monthly Usage (1,000 gal)

2022 Proposed Water 2022 Proposed Sewer 2022 Proposed Stormwater 2022 DSIC 2022 Proposed Total Monthly Impact $
5/8" 1 $0.00 $0.00 $0.90 $0.00 $0.90 $0.90
5/8" 2 $13.10 $6.99 $0.90 $1.00 $21.99 $1.11
5/8" 3 $26.20 $13.98 $0.90 $2.01 $43.09 $1.32
5/8" 4 $39.30 $20.97 $0.90 $3.01 $64.18 $1.53
5/8" 5 $52.40 $27.96 $0.90 $4.02 $85.28 $1.74

Minimum charges are based on a customer's meter size. The typical residential customer has a 5/8 inch meter.


Expanded Customer Assistance Programs

This settlement includes additional enhancements to existing customer assistance programs that will help customers reduce outstanding balances, save on their monthly bill, and expand current programs to more customers.

Arrearage Forgiveness Program

  • PWSA will double the monthly arrearage forgiveness credit from $15 to $30 for on-time payments.
  • Customers must be enrolled in the Bill Discount Program and on an active payment plan

Bill Discount Program

  • Very low-income customers enrolled in the Bill Discount Program will receive a 50% discount on water usage charges.
  • All customers enrolled in the Bill Discount Program will receive an 85% discount on the stormwater charge.
  • These discounts are in addition to the 100% discount on fixed water charges.

Hardship Grant Program

  • Expanding the Hardship Grant Program to also include sewage-only customers.

Winter Shut-off Moratorium

  • Automatically enrolling all verified low-income customers in the Winter Shutoff Moratorium.

Customer Protections

  • Continue to waive reconnection fees for all customers in 2022. 

You can learn more about our customer assistance programs at www.pgh2o.com/CAP.