Press Release

PENNVEST Awards PWSA $209M for Water Reliability Plan Projects

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July 20, 2022

Press Release

Pittsburgh, PA – Today, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) was awarded $209 million in low-interest loan funds from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) for the construction of projects within our Water Reliability Plan. The 30-year loan award will save ratepayers approximately $156 million compared to traditional municipal bond financing.   

“We would like to thank the PENNVEST Board, Governor Wolf, state legislative leaders, and the City of Pittsburgh for continuing to support PWSA’s essential projects,” said PWSA Chief Executive Officer, Will Pickering. “Once complete, our ambitious Water Reliability Plan will safeguard quality water service for our customers for the next one hundred years.”  

PWSA’s Water Reliability Plan involves the rehabilitation or replacement of critical components of our water pumping and distribution system. These components include large diameter transmission pipes, reservoirs, pump stations, and electrical stations that help to deliver water. PWSA will also replace the Clearwell - a large, century-old storage facility used to disinfect and kill any harmful bacteria or pathogens in the water. When built, these assets will be the resilient backbone of the water system and allow us to provide continuous service to all customers, even in the event of power outages, weather events, or other unforeseen issues that can impact service.

Over the next five years, we will invest nearly $470 million into these once-in-a-generation projects. To cover the bulk of the remaining costs after the PENNVEST award, we have applied to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and expect to be notified of this award in late 2022 or in early 2023.   

The Water Reliability Plan will create numerous contracting opportunities for engineering and construction firms, construction management companies, and other suppliers locally in Pittsburgh and across the country. The use of PENNVEST funding requires a robust and thorough Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) solicitation process.

Outreach to vendors through the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program database ensures DBE firms are aware of opportunities and the ability to compete for work funded by EPA financial assistance dollars. PWSA’s Supplier Diversity Policy, which states a goal of 10-25% of all contracts are to be awarded to DBE firms, will direct $20-50 million of this funding for DBE firms. To learn of these upcoming PWSA opportunities, DBE firms are encouraged to register with our procurement portal

PWSA is proud to be the recipient of this generous PENNVEST funding package. It is the largest amount provided by PENNVEST in their history. The second largest award of $65 million was also issued to PWSA in January 2020 for the replacement of water service lines. Since 2018, PWSA has received from PENNVEST a combination of low interest loans and grants totaling $210 million primarily for the replacement of lead service lines.   

“Our partnership with PENNVEST and EPA is producing meaningful savings to our customers. Over time, these low-interest loans reduce the need for rate increases during an unprecedented level of investment in our essential water systems,” said PWSA Finance Director Ed Barca.  

To learn more about our Water Reliability Plan, please visit pgh2o.com/your-water/water-reliability-plan

PPENNVEST Awards PWSA $209M for Water Reliability Plan Projects