Pittsburgh’s history is linked to our water. We are fortunate to live in one of the most water-rich regions in the country, and our rivers made this city what it is today and connected us to the world. Our rivers, and the bridges that span them, make our skyline iconic.
Every day we rely on the infrastructure that brings water to us and takes it away when we’re done. Water is essential to everything we do.
We need water to make a pot of coffee, brush our teeth, or make food. Penguins need water to go swimming at the Aviary, and our Pittsburgh Penguins need (frozen) water to play hockey on too. Boaters want clean water in our rivers. Phipps needs it to water flowers, firefighters need it to put out fires, breweries need it to make beer. Doctors and nurses need water to keep their hands clean, and everyone with a toilet wants water to be there when it is needed.
Our water systems are engineering marvels, built nearly a century ago. They use smart, energy efficient design that takes advantage of our natural topography to make sure gravity –along with the help of pump stations, reservoirs, and tanks– moves water through our hills and valleys.
This has served us well for generations, and with the necessary repairs and upgrades, it can serve us for generations to come.
We are excited to present our vision, goals, and plan to bring safe, reliable drinking water, stormwater, and sewer service to Pittsburgh and the region through 2030 and beyond, using new smart technology to meet the needs and expectations of the future.
At PWSA we take water stewardship seriously. With improvements already underway to our drinking water treatment and distribution systems. We are rebuilding our aging sewer lines, and designing innovative innovative stormwater mitigation projects to reduce pollution and flooding.
Our Vision: Reliability, 24/7
Our vision is for everyone in every neighborhood in Pittsburgh to have access to safe, reliable drinking water and sewer service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
By 2030 we will have removed all lead service lines, ensuring a safe, healthy future for Pittsburgh children and families.
We will complete investments in projects to improve water quality, to ensure we are meeting, and exceeding, regulatory, compliance, and public health standards.
Our Vision: Equity
We envision an equitable water future, in which water rates are affordable while remaining in-line with the cost of repairing and maintaining our system, everyone’s bill accurately reflects the amount of water they use, and bill assistance is available for our customers who need it. Water equity also means workforce development and hiring practices that ensure the money spent by PWSA is reinvested in our community.
Our Vision: Modern Sewers
PWSA is also investing millions of dollars into rebuilding our sewers. Out of sight and out of mind, most people don’t think much about sewers that take wastewater away. But sewers are critical to our water infrastructure system.
Built a century ago for a city that had a different physical footprint and a different population, our sewers are due for maintenance and upgrades. Our vision is for a modern sewer system that keeps sanitary sewage flowing where it belongs, flowing to wastewater treatment plants, not backing up into basements or overflowing into rivers.
Our Vision: Environmentally Friendly Management
And our environmental future relies on the success of our water infrastructure. To reduce pollution in our rivers, we will repair our sewers and invest in innovative stormwater infrastructure projects that will treat and mitigate stormwater runoff. Our waterfront development and health of our waterways depends on our success. Our downstream neighbors rely on us to return safe, clean water to our rivers before it flows down to them.
With an emphasis on green-first, environmentally friendly design principles and construction practices, we will take already great water systems and renew them to take us through the next 12 years and be ready for the next 100 years.
And we’ll do it with transparency and accountability to the public. We are public servants who believe we are all in this together.
Generations before us built incredible public water systems, and we owe it to generations to come to leave those systems better than we found them.