Our Water Future

At the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, we take water stewardship seriously and are making the needed investment to provide customers with safe and reliable water services. 

Public Input Hearings

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has scheduled six telephonic public input hearings to gather information from ratepayers regarding the proposed rate increase filed by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. The public input hearings will take place at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, and Thursday, July 9, 2020. 

More information about the rate proposal is available below. To testify at the hearing, please use the registration link or call the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) at 1-800-684-6560 no later than 1:00 p.m. on Monday, July 6, 2020. More information about the public hearings can be found on our Events and Meetings page

From 2018 to 2020, we will more than triple the amount of investment in our overall water system in these critical areas:

  • Aggressively replacing lead service lines
  • Improving our drinking water treatment and the pipe system that delivers water to our customers
  • Rebuilding aging sewer lines
  • Designing innovative stormwater projects to reduce pollution and sewer overflows

Last year was our most productive year ever. We invested over $100 million on capital improvements and are poised to spend over $200 million in 2020. We have gained momentum on critical water infrastructure projects and must continue this investment to create a modern water system that current and future residents can count on.

Over the next few years, we will make further progress on critical water projects. These include improvements to security and backup power systems at the Aspinwall Water Treatment Plant, constructing new large-volume water mains, retrofitting existing sewer lines, and building new stormwater infrastructure. We are on the right path and are proud to provide Pittsburgh with the water services it expects and deserves.

Visit the project pages on our website to learn more about the work we are doing on our overall water system and in neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh. You can also explore our recent Capital Improvement Program to understand the investment we will make over the next several years.

Rate Proposal

With this investment comes the need for additional revenue, the majority of which comes from the rates our customers pay. In March, we submitted a multi-year rate plan to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). Pending their review and approval, the new rates may go into effect next January. 

In our rate proposal, we are requesting an additional $43.8 million in 2021 and $12.6 million in 2022. Included in this amount is a request for a Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) assigned at 10 percent of the total monthly charges. The DSIC provides utilities with the ability to place a small surcharge on a customer’s monthly bill. The funding goes towards PUC-approved upgrades like water and sewer main replacements.

What does this mean for customers?

Currently, a typical residential customer using 3,000 gallons of water pays $72.49 per month. If our request is approved by the PUC for next year, this would increase to $86.03 or by $13.54 per month. 

Requested Rates - Residential Customers

Minimum Charges

Monthly Usage Charges

2020 Existing Water

2020 Existing Sewer 2020 Existing Total 2021 Proposed Water 2021 Proposed Sewer 2021 Proposed Total Monthly Impact $
5/8" 1 $27.27 $8.28 $35.55 $29.55 $10.84 $40.39 $4.84
5/8" 3 $49.35 $23.14 $72.49 $58.01 $28.02 $86.03 $13.54
5/8" 5 $71.43 $38.00 $109.43 $86.48 $45.20 $131.68 $22.25
5/8" 7 $93.51 $52.86 $146.37 $114.95 $62.38 $177.33 $30.96
5/8" 12 $148.71 $90.01 $238.72 $186.12 $105.34 $291.46 $52.74
1" 20 $255.42 $151.27 $406.69 $321.40 $173.64 $495.04 $88.35

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

Customer Assistance

To help balance these increases, we are also expanding our Customer Assistance Programs.  These programs provide financial relief to income-qualified customers who are having difficulty paying their water and sewer bill. If approved by the PUC, we will provide a 100 percent discount on fixed water charges on your water 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 Charges

2020 Existing Water

2020 Existing Sewer 2020 Existing Total 2021 Proposed Water 2021 Proposed Sewer 2021 Proposed Total Monthly Impact $
5/8" 1 $6.82 $2.07 $8.89 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 -$8.89
5/8" 2 $17.86 $9.50 $27.36 $14.23 $8.59 $22.82 -$4.54
5/8" 3 $28.90 $16.93 $45.83 $28.47 $17.18 $45.65 -$0.18
5/8" 4 $39.94 $24.36 $64.30 $42.70 $25.77 $68.47 $4.17
5/8" 5 $50.98 $31.79 $82.77 $56.94 $34.36 $91.30 $8.53

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How will PWSA’s current rate filing affect me?

The typical residential customer using 3,000 gallons of water currently pays $72.49 per month under the existing rates. If our rate request is approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) next year, this would increase to $86.03 or by $13.54 per month. More information is available at www.pgh2o.com/ourwaterfuture.

What financial relief will you offer to customers that may have difficulty paying their bill?

We offer a Bill Discount Program that provides income-eligible customers with a reduction on fixed monthly water and wastewater conveyance charges for one year. The program currently provides a 75 percent reduction on these charges. Due to PWSA’s response to COVID-19, our Board of Directors has lifted the recertification requirement for the entire year of 2020. Our rate proposal includes a request to expand the program to a 100 percent reduction on the fixed monthly charges. More information is available at www.pgh2o.com/cap.

When will the new rates go into effect?

The effective date will be determined as part of the PUC review process, which can take up to nine months. We submitted the rate filing to the PUC on March 6, 2020.

Will customers have an opportunity to participate in the rate setting process?

Yes, there is greater transparency and more opportunity for the public to participate in the rate-setting process under PUC oversight. We will co-host a series of community listening sessions scheduled from July 7th through July 9th. These hearings are an opportunity for the public to present their views to the PUC. Any testimony given, whether supporting or opposing our request, can be helpful when the PUC investigates our proposal and makes a final determination on the rate request. The public will be notified about the upcoming public input sessions.

Why did we request a multi-year rate increase?

Our five-year capital improvement program (CIP) budget identifies the projects that are needed to modernize our water system. This budget is closely linked to our rates. By requesting a multi-year rate increase, we are providing customers with more transparency about our budget needs, being more proactive about our rate-setting process, and efficiently managing the time and expense of the process.  Approving rates across multiple years provides PWSA with more revenue stability while also giving customers more information about rate fluctuations.

How is PWSA going to use this additional funding?

We will use this funding to continue the investment that is needed to modernize our water system. In 2019, we spent more than $100 million on necessary improvements to aggressively replace lead lines, improve our drinking water treatment, refurbish aging sewer lines, and design stormwater projects to reduce flooding and sewer overflows. We plan to invest an additional $200 million into our capital program in 2020. This funding allows us to maintain the momentum that is needed to complete critical water infrastructure projects.

What is the DSIC and what will it fund?

The DSIC, which is an acronym for Distribution System Improvement Charge, is a small surcharge placed on a customer’s monthly bill. It will fund PUC-approved upgrades to water and sewer mains. We have requested a DSIC equivalent to 10 percent of the total monthly charges.

Why did you submit the stormwater compliance plan?

When we submitted our first rate-filing in 2018, the PUC required us to submit a proposal outlining the structure for a stormwater program with the 2020 rate filing. The proposal outlines our approach to managing stormwater, needed stormwater projects, and funding needs. For more information about our approach to managing stormwater, please visit www.pgh2o.com/gi-overview.

Learn More

RAW Talk February 2020: Consistent investment in our infrastructure is beneficial to everyone. In this month's RAW Talk, Executive Director, Robert A. Weimar discusses our progress and the momentum that is needed to meet customers' expectations.

Press Release: PWSA Submits Multi-Year Rate Increase to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Answers to frequently asked questions about the rate filing. Download a printable version of our FAQ. 

Press Release: Pittsburgh Community Invited to Participate in PA Public Utility Commission Public Hearings

Press Release: PUC Announces Public Input Hearings in Early July for Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Rate Increase Requests