Press Release

PWSA Removes 11,000th Lead Service Line

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April 25, 2024

Press Release

Pittsburgh, PA – Today, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) announces the removal of the 11,000th lead service line from our drinking water system. Block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, this milestone, reached 13 months after the 10,000th lead service line was replaced in Hazelwood, reflects our commitment to protecting the health of our customers and communities served.

“Removing lead service lines is the most proactive way to eliminate the presence of lead in tap water. This milestone demonstrates our continued commitment to protecting public health,” said Will Pickering, PWSA’s CEO. “With support from state and federal funding partners, local officials, and our customers, we’ll continue to aggressively replace all remaining lead service lines,” he said. 

We have come a long way since first implementing our Community Lead Response. This community-based program, which prioritizes those at highest risk of lead exposure, like persons of childbearing age and young children, uses a multi-pronged approach to protect customers from the risks of lead in drinking water.

  1. Mapping Lead Service Lines: First, we set out on a multi-year effort to improve our inventory of lead service lines – without a database of where lead lines were located, no comprehensive replacement effort could take place. To this day, we are improving our inventory through service line investigations, data research, and machine learning models. Our lead map is publicly available for customers to search, track our progress, and examine the material of their own service line.
  2. Improved Water Treatment: We also immediately began to study a new treatment to reduce lead exposure for anyone with an existing lead line. Orthophosphate was ultimately chosen and has kept lead levels at record-low levels since 2020. We are now experiencing historically low lead levels, well below the current and future EPA action levels.
  3. Aggressive Removal of Lead Service Lines: Finally, we set out on a long-term plan to replace all lead lines in our water distribution system. With the removal of 11,000 public lead service lines, we continue to work towards our goal of replacing all lead service lines by 2026.
  4. Elimination of Partial Replacements: There is no safe level of lead and leaving any portion of the lead line behind can increase lead levels at the home. We have long been committed to replacing both the publicly and privately-owned portion of the lead line at no cost to the customer. This simple but important standard ensures all customers, regardless of their financial situation, receive higher quality water service at their home. 

Getting to 11,000

Since last February, we continued our aggressive removal of lead service lines through a variety of programs including several lead line replacement projects and water main replacement projects that remove lead lines in the process. In addition to one-off replacements completed by our internal Field Operations team and the Lead Line Reimbursement Program, we worked in the following neighborhoods to reach 11,000 lead lines removed:

  • Bloomfield
  • Bluff
  • Brighton Heights
  • East Allegheny
  • Elliott
  • Esplen
  • Friendship
  • Greenfield
  • Hazelwood
  • Homewood North
  • Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar
  • Marshall-Shadeland
  • Millvale
  • Perry South
  • South Side Flats
  • Squirrel Hill North
  • Stanton Heights
  • Troy Hill

Funding from local, state, and federal partners expedites the ongoing removal of lead service lines throughout our drinking water area. Since 2018, we have received more than $250 million in low-interest loans and nearly $80 million in grants that do not need to be repaid. With this additional funding, we can fund more lead line replacements while saving customers millions of dollars over time.

What Comes Next?

Ongoing Removal of Lead Lines: We have set a goal to replace all public lead service lines in our service area by 2026. We will continue to aggressively pursue this goal through programs like the ones that got us to 11,000 replacements. By working with our customers and using efficient construction methods, we will continue our efforts to make our water service area free of lead pipes. We will accomplish this by continuing to improve our inventory of remaining lead lines and through the aggressive pursuit of state and federal funding for projects. If you want to see if your home is in an upcoming lead line replacement area, visit www.pgh2o.com/leadmap.

Maintaining Low Lead Levels: While we pursue this replacement goal, maintaining historically low lead levels is crucial. We recently moved to an every-three-year regulatory water testing program but remain committed to regularly testing the water system and providing updates to our regulators to ensure lead levels remain low.

Sharing Our Success: Our nationally recognized, award winning Community Lead Response, is a model lead mitigation program. Now in its sixth year, we have many lessons-learned and best practices to share with other utilities around the country. We will continue to provide guidance and feedback to other water providers, building on the dozens of consultations we have provided over the last three years.  


  • To investigate your service line material record and see projects in your area, visit www.pgh2o.com/leadmap.
  • Free lead test kits are available by filling out a simple form on our website, or by contacting our Lead Help Desk at 412-255-8987 or by email at LeadHelp@pgh2o.com.
  • If you are interested in proactively replacing the private portion of your lead service line, you can qualify for the Lead Line Reimbursement Program. To learn more and begin the process, visit www.lead.pgh2o.com/leadreimbursement/.
  • For more information on PWSA’s Community Lead Response, please visit www.lead.pgh2o.com.

PWSA Removes 11,000th Lead Service Line