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).

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.

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.

2020 Accomplishments

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.

Proposed Rate Request

PWSA needs additional revenue to pay for these infrastructure investments. The rates our customers pay funds much of this work. On April 13th, we submitted a new rate proposal to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Pending their review and approval, the new rates may go into effect next January.

In our rate proposal, we have requested a total rate increase of 17.1% that will be phased in over two years. In 2022, rates are proposed to increase by 11.7% and in 2023, would increase by 5.4% for water and wastewater conveyance operations and stormwater management.

Stormwater Rate

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 $2.99 $3.98
Residential Tier 2:
(>= 1,015 sf to < 2,710 sf)
1 $5.96 $7.95
Residential Tier 3:
(>= 2,710 sf)
2 $11.93 $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?

Let’s look at current and future rates for a typical residential customer. A typical residential customer uses 3,000 gallons of water per month with a 5/8-inch meter and generates stormwater runoff from one ERU. That customer’s total bill would increase from $79.34 per month to $87.19 per month or by 9.89% in 2022, and from $87.19 to $91.05 per month or by 4.43% in 2023.

Requested Rates - Residential Customers

Minimum Charges

Monthly Usage (1,000 gal)

2021
 Existing Water1

2021 Existing Sewer 2021 Existing Total1 2022 Proposed Water1 2022 Proposed Sewer1 Proposed Stormwater2 2022 Proposed Total Monthly Impact $
5/8" 1 $28.63 8.94 37.57 28.92 8.46 5.96 43.34 5.77
5/8" 3 54.36 24.98 79.34 58.09 23.14 5.96 87.19 7.85
5/8" 5 80.08 41.02 121.11 87.26 37.82 5.96 131.04 9.93
5/8" 7 105.81 57.07 162.88 116.42 52.50 5.96 174.88 12.01
5/8" 12 170.12 97.18 267.30 189.35 89.20 5.96 284.50 17.21
1" 20 287.25 163.30 450.54 322.18 144.82 5.96 472.96 22.41

Minimum charges are based on a customer's meter size. The typical residential customer has a 5/8 inch meter. 1: five percent DSIC included. 2: Stormwater Tier 2

Customer Assistance

During these challenging times, customer protections and the affordability of our rates cannot be ignored. In January 2021, we implemented several enhancements to our Customer Assistance Programs as well as a series of COVID-19 relief measures. Our current rate proposal continues to expand upon these programs to provide financial relief to income-qualified customers having difficulty paying their water and sewer bill. You can learn more about our customer assistance programs at www.pgh2o.com/CAP

Requested Rates - Customers Eligible for Bill Assistance

Minimum Charges

Monthly Usage (1,000 gal)

2021
 Existing Water1

2021 Existing Sewer1 2021 Existing Total1 2022 Proposed Water1 2022 Proposed Sewer1 Proposed Stormwater2 2022 Proposed Total Monthly Impact $
5/8" 1 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.49 1.49 1.49
5/8" 2 12.86 8.02 20.88 14.58 7.34 1.49 23.41 2.53
5/8" 3 25.73 16.04 41.77 29.17 14.68 1.49 45.34 3.57
5/8" 4 38.59 24.07 62.65 43.75 22.02 1.49 67.26 4.61
5/8" 5 51.45 32.09 83.54 58.34 29.36      

Minimum charges are based on a customer's meter size. The typical residential customer has a 5/8 inch meter. 1: five percent DSIC included. 2: Stormwater Tier 2 Discounted