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A $202,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments bolsters PWSA’s fundraising capacity

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March 27, 2024


Enhances our pursuit of funding for clean energy projects, green infrastructure, and water system improvements.

Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) announces the award of a $202,388 grant from The Heinz Endowments to expand fundraising capacity. The grant will fund a new position focused on pursuing federal grants to support our sustainability goals, projects to protect the environment and enhance the water services customers rely on.  

Since 2018, we have received more than $700 million, primarily in low-interest loans as well as grants, from state and federal partners. This external funding expedites projects that will protect public health and improve water reliability now and for future generations of customers. Specifically, this funding has gone towards the replacement of thousands of lead pipes as well as projects that will modernize our drinking water system and reduce service interruptions.  

Funding from The Heinz Endowments is part of its investment of up to $10 million to expand our region’s capacity to compete for federal funds through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and other government programs, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). PWSA’s mission to protect public health and the environment aligns with their vision to strengthen infrastructure, support sustainable development, and improve the quality of life for residents in Pittsburgh and throughout our region.  

“It’s our responsibility to be proactive and compete for federal dollars to reduce the costs of our essential, but costly, infrastructure projects,” said PWSA CEO Will Pickering. “This gracious and strategic investment from The Heinz Endowments will ensure we seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity presented by the BIL and IRA for the benefit of our region and the environment,” he continued.   

"PWSA has been a regional leader in infrastructure improvements to protect public health and the environment," said Matt Barron, Program Director for Sustainability at The Heinz Endowments. "We are proud to support their efforts to accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources and continue to build a modern and resilient drinking water system that will serve generations to come." 

Over the past several years, we have invested more than $700 million to transform the water systems our customers rely on. This work uses a combination of local, state, and federal grants that do not need to be repaid, low-interest loans, and ratepayer dollars. Funding from our government partners and local foundations helps to expedite this work while reducing the onus on ratepayers. 

PWSA hired its first grants administrator in late 2023 to improve current fundraising efforts and expand fundraising to newly available federal sources. With two full-time staff dedicated to fundraising, we can pursue additional grant opportunities and tap into sources available for green and environmental projects that will advance our use of renewable energy, enhance long-term stormwater planning, and improve water quality in our rivers and streams. 

“With support from The Heinz Endowments, we are better positioned to access the funding available for infrastructure projects,” said PWSA’s Director of Finance Ed Barca. “During this time of unprecedented investment in our water systems, we owe it to our customers to pursue every possible source of funding so we can effectively reduce the cost of these improvements over time.”  

As a non-profit, publicly owned and operated water utility, we are eligible for these more cost-effective grants and loans, which are invested directly back into the system without profit motive. To learn more about our finances and use of ratepayer dollars, please visit www.pgh2o.com/about-

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