PGH20

Issuer
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The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority

Issuer Type: Water/Sewer

Revenue

Moody's
A3
S&P
A

Welcome to Our Investor Relations Site

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On behalf of the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, I would like to welcome you to our new investor relations website. We appreciate your interest and investment in bonds issued by the Authority, as it allows us to make critical investments in water and sewer infrastructure throughout Pittsburgh. We are committed to maintaining our strong bond ratings, and we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with the investor community and public at large.

I hope you find this website useful as you seek to better understand the credit fundamentals of the Authority. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with suggestions for how we can improve. Thanks again for your interest in our bond program.

Edward Barca, Director of Finance

News & Highlights

June 30, 2021

News
New Water Quality Report Shows PWSA Meeting or Exceeding State and Federal Regulations

Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) released its annual Water Quality Report which shows the Authority is meeting and exceeding standards for quality and safety in Pittsburgh’s drinking water. The full report is available online at pgh2o.com/2020WaterQuality

This annual report outlines the treatment process, the effectiveness of water quality testing, and the results of the various contaminants tested for in the Allegheny River (the source of PWSA’s water). Each day, PWSA tests for approximately 100 different chemical and microbial constituents before, during, and after the treatment process and work tirelessly to maximize their reduction and removal from drinking water. 

"Over the past few years, PWSA has evolved into a water authority that works for our residents with the lowest lead levels we've seen in twenty years and improved treatment and filtration processes and infrastructure,” said Pittsburgh’s Mayor, William Peduto. “We are proud of the innovations and advancements PWSA has used to create and deliver a higher standard of water quality and ensure our residents have equitable access to public water that is safe for all." 

This new video highlights our water testing process and the results of the 2020 Water Quality Report. 

In addition to effective water quality testing, there are several other notable water quality improvements that took place in 2020: 

  • Lowest Lead Levels in 20 Years:  In July 2020, PWSA announced that lead levels came into compliance with federal regulatory standards. Testing showed PWSA’s 90th percentile lead level to be 5.1 parts per billion (ppb), approximately 10 ppb below the state and federal action level of 15 ppb. 

  • Highland Park Microfiltration Plant: The Highland Park Microfiltration Plant provides a second layer of treatment to water leaving the open Highland I Reservoir. The Microfiltration Plant was taken out of service in 2017 to meet stricter state water quality standards. It was fully restored and placed back into service last year with changes to improve treatment methods, rehabilitate the microfiltration system, and provide greater security around the Highland I Reservoir. 

  • Decreased Turbidity: Turbidity is a measure of water quality that refers to the cloudiness of water caused by suspended solids in our source water. As the solids are filtered out during the treatment process, turbidity levels become lower. PWSA is seeing the lowest turbidity levels in three years, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the Authority’s water treatment process. 

Over the next several years, PWSA will implement its Water Reliability Plan, a series of once-in-a-generation projects to renew key components of our water production and distribution systems. These projects, which culminate with the complete restoration of the Clearwell, a large, century-old water storage facility, will strengthen our water system, add needed redundancy, and ensure an uninterrupted supply of quality water to our drinking water customers.

“The PWSA 2020 Water Quality Report shows our best results in years,” said PWSA Chief Executive Officer, Will Pickering. “Our customers can have confidence their water is meeting and exceeding all federal and state regulations. We’ve made tremendous progress mitigating lead levels and improving performance on other water quality measures, and I encourage customers to read the full report to learn more about how we provide this life essential service.”

PWSA’s 2020 Water Quality Report, also referred to as the Consumer Confidence Report, is a requirement of all water systems by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All the contaminants tested for are regulated by the EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This latest report shows that PWSA met or exceeded all state and federal regulations.

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May 3, 2021

News
PWSA Earns 6th Unqualified Audit Opinion

Pittsburgh, PA — The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Board of Directors were pleased to accept the results of our 2020 Audit at their April 2021 meeting. This is the sixth consecutive unqualified independent financial audit, completed by an external auditor, showing that the Authority's financial statements are fairly and appropriately presented, with no identifiable exceptions, and in compliance with generally accepted principles of accounting. 

PWSA remains committed to following all applicable accounting standards while making critical infrastructure investments that will improve the level of service for all customers. PWSA spent $127.3 million on capital projects in 2020—an increase of $19.4 million, or approximately 18 percent, over the $107.9 million expended in 2019. PWSA spent $18.8 million on private lead line replacements in 2020. 

Our responsible approach to investment, including the use of low-interest loans and grants from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), helps us execute our ambitious capital improvement plan while prioritizing ratepayer savings. As of the most recent round of funding we have received approximately $160.6 million from PENNVEST, saving ratepayers a total of $112.0 million since 2018. 

In 2020, the Authority closed on a funding award from PENNVEST for the purpose of financing the 2020 Small Diameter Water Main Replacement Project. This award, a $65.2 million loan with an interest rate of 1.00%, continues to fund the replacement of approximately 80,000 feet of water mains and associated connections, including the replacement of public and private lead service lines. In addition, we were recently awarded a $35.5 million low-interest PENNVEST loan and $3.0 million PENNVEST grant totaling $38.5 million to replace 25,000 feet of water service lines throughout our drinking water service area

Last year, the Authority also completed two significant bond transactions. These transactions led to the assignment of investment-grade credit status, which typically results in lower interest rates that save money in the long term. 

“The results of this audit underscore our commitment to transparency,” said Ed Barca, PWSA’s Director of Finance. “Striking a fair balance between rates and our budget remains a chief priority, and we will continue to pursue funding sources that save ratepayer dollars.” 

An audit is an official, independent examination of an entity’s accounts and financial information. An unqualified opinion is formed only when the results of this inspection leave no doubt or concerns on the part of the independent auditor as to the soundness of an entity’s financial practices.

The independent audit, performed by Maher Duessel, Certified Public Accountants, verifies that an entity follows standard accounting practices and confirms that department-wide financial processes accomplish the Authority's overall goal to use public funds responsibly.

“Our 2020 Audit reflects the dedicated public service of our Finance Department, who are working tirelessly to ensure that every ratepayer dollar is being used effectively and appropriately,” said Will Pickering, PWSA’s Chief Executive Officer.

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April 21, 2021

News
PENNVEST Funding Awarded to PWSA

Pittsburgh, PA — Today the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) was awarded a $35.5 million low-interest PENNVEST loan and $3.0 million PENNVEST grant totaling $38.5 million to replace 25,000 feet of water service lines throughout our drinking water service area.  

“We are thankful for the support of the PENNVEST Board, Governor Wolf, Mayor Peduto, and our city and state legislative leaders for recognizing the essential work we are doing to modernize our water infrastructure,” Will Pickering, PWSA’s Chief Executive Officer said. “This award will save PWSA ratepayers approximately $34.7 million in comparison to issuing a revenue bond,” Pickering stated. “PENNVEST funding has become an important funding source to advance some of our most critical water projects.” 

In addition to replacing nearly five miles of water lines, the funding will also be used to replace 59 fire hydrants and approximately 592 lead service lines – helping us to meet our goal of replacing all lead service lines by 2026. 

Water main and lead line replacements are a significant part of our capital improvement plan. Each year, we commit to replacing a dedicated amount to improve service reliability, reduce service disruptions, and improve water quality throughout our drinking water service area. We are currently completing an effort to replace 14 miles of water main in ten Pittsburgh neighborhoods and will replace an additional six miles later this year under the 2021 water main replacement project.   

PWSA has used PENNVEST funding in the past to help fund the removal of lead lines and replace aging water lines. With this most recent round of funding, we have received approximately $160.6 million saving ratepayers a total of $112.0 million since 2018. While most of the PENNVEST funding are low-interest loans to repay to the state, any grant funding does not need to be repaid and places no burden on our customers.  

“Since the majority of our funding comes from ratepayer dollars, funding through PENNVEST helps to construct necessary capital projects while reducing the onus on PWSA customers,” says Ed Barca, PWSA’s Director of Finance. “State and federal funding is necessary for keeping rates as low as possible especially during this time when the investment in our infrastructure can no longer be delayed.” 

As a publicly owned and operated water utility, every dollar we receive is reinvested back into the water systems that serve those living and working in Pittsburgh. We will continue to pursue opportunities like PENNVEST to keep rates as affordable as possible.

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