Peduto: Seeking outside help to procure and distribute lead water filters

Pittsburgh officials are looking for outside assistance to secure and distribute thousands of lead filters for water customers, Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday.

Mr. Peduto said a request for proposals will solicit logistical help for the “Safe Water Plan,” announced early this month to offer free lead filters to every Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Pennsylvania American Water Co. customer in the city.

The RFP should go public this week, with filters to be available “as soon as possible,” Mr. Peduto said. He said he did not have an exact date yet for distribution.

An advisory panel appointed by the mayor will meet Friday in an open session at the City-County Building. At the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., the panel is expected to interview RFP finalists and will hear public comments. 

“We want to make sure this happens as soon as possible, but we also want to make sure that when it does happen, it’s being run and administered effectively,” Mr. Peduto told reporters outside his Grant Street office. “That will require a third party being brought in to be able to do that.”

He said PWSA is “already over capacity” and unable to handle the filter project on its own. He estimated the effort could involve some 80,000 filters.

Mr. Peduto has called the filter plan a stop-gap while PWSA addresses widespread infrastructure deficiencies over a period of years. State environmental authorities ordered last summer that the authority begin to inventory and replace its lead service lines after tests found elevated levels of the metal in some homes.

Under a state mandate, PWSA must replace at least 7 percent of its lead service lines each year. Each residence or business uses a perpendicular service line that ties into a larger water main beneath the street. Around 20 percent to 25 percent of 85,000 PWSA service connections likely contain lead, according to the authority.

PWSA and city officials together…

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