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First set of filters in Safe Water Lead Filter Plan to be given to expectant mothers and families with small children

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 3, 2017) The William Peduto administration is set to begin distributing free water filters next week, with the first set of filters being given to expectant mothers and families with children less than six years old.

Approximately 6,000 people have requested the filters so far, and among that group 1,600 have identified themselves as expectant mothers or with young children. They will be notified soon of locations to pick up the free filters, which will be distributed at fire stations throughout the city.

Additionally, City staff have conducted outreach to federally funded health clinics, early childhood centers, day care centers and other facilities with clientele who are part of the target population for prioritized distribution of the filters. The City will work with ZeroWater (the supplier for the pitchers/filters) to deliver the products directly to those facilities for distribution to the clientele over the next few weeks.

Others requesting the filters will be able to pick them up at a later date, once more are delivered to the City by ZeroWater. Those interested can visit http://pittsburghpa.gov/safepgh2o/ or call the 311 customer service line.

One shipment of filters has already been delivered and more are expected by the end of this week.

By the end of this week, coupons for discounted ZeroWater products will be available for download from the Safe Water Program website, and copies will be available at fire stations and other city facilities. These coupons can be used by all City residents who do not receive a free pitcher/filter through the prioritized distribution process to purchase pitchers at a discounted rate, as well as to purchase additional filters.

The $1 million free filter plan is being financed with a $500,000 donation by Peoples Gas and $250,000 each from both the City and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Though the filters will ultimately be available to all City residents, two groups are being initially prioritized to receive them: expectant mothers and families with children under six years old, and those residents in neighborhoods receiving lead service line replacements.

There are approximately 7,000 households in the City of Pittsburgh with a child under six in the home.

City residents who will be receiving partial lead service line replacements will have filters given to them. There is no need for residents receiving partial lead service line replacements to request filters through the Safe Water website, as the filters will be automatically provided to them.

The filters, which purify drinking water, will be in the form of scientifically certified half-gallon pitchers.

Like many older cities, the City of Pittsburgh has a significant number of lead service lines. If you believe your home may have lead, here are further steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in your water:

  • Run your water to flush out lead
  • If you haven’t used your water for several hours, run your cold tap for one minute before using for cooking or drinking. Homes with longer lead water service lines may require flushing for a longer period of time. Using toilets, washing clothes, showering, or doing dishes before you drink from your tap are all ways that you can flush your service line without wasting water.
  • Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula
  • Lead dissolves more easily in hot water. Do not drink, cook with, or make baby formula using hot water.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead; it will not reduce lead levels.

For additional information about the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Lead remediation efforts, please visit http://www.pgh2o.com/lead-facts.