running faucet, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Steve Johnson’s photostream

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is holding a series of community meetings regarding lead in our water, how residents can limit exposure to this lead, and the steps being taken to address the issue. Meetings are being held by City Council District, and while there will be data presented specific to each district, each meeting is open to all. Meetings will include a Q+A session during which residents can ask questions to PWSA experts.

The next meeting (Council District 8) will take place on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Jared L. Cohon University Center – The McConomy Auditorium, 5032 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. There will be free parking available in the CMU garage after 5:00 p.m.


Drippy, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Lucas Policastro’s photostream

Earlier this year, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered PWSA to “conduct testing after the state agency learned that the water authority switched the chemical it uses to control corrosion on its pipelines without notifying the state, and then switched again two years later, also without telling the DEP.” The results of that testing were released in July and showed that 17% of the 100 homes tested exceeded the federal standard for lead of 15 parts per billion.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water and other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.”

You can find a full list of all the community meetings here.

PWSA has also produced a brochure and 60 second video on the lead issue:

PWSA is providing free lead test kits. To receive yours, please e-mail to , or call 412-255-2423 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. You will need to provide your name, address and phone number with your request. They also ask that you specify if you live in an apartment and provide instructions on how PWSA can drop off and pick up the sample bottles.