Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Allegheny Conference Calls for Changes in PWSA

The PWSA has faced dire problems the last several years, including rapidly crumbling infrastructure, billing problems and concerns over lead levels in water.




photo by shane henderson via flickr creative commons

 

Less than two months after Stefani Pashman was named CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, her first major announcement painted the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority as a “failed agency in a state of crisis.” This followed a consulting firm’s recommendation: sweeping changes to tackle deep-seated infrastructure and organizational issues.

“The severity and urgency of the problem merit prompt and decisive actions and fundamental transformation of the structure, governance, operations, maintenance and capital investment activities of the PWSA. The Allegheny Conference is prepared to stand with all parties willing to take the necessary steps to protect the region, its reputation and quality of life,” Pashman’s statement, released Nov. 8, read.

When the Allegheny Conference — which is made up of the region’s business and foundation leaders — decides that an issue is important, that’s a strong statement, says Michael Langley, conference CEO from 2003-2009 and current CEO and president of the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership.

The PWSA has faced dire problems the last several years, including rapidly crumbling infrastructure, billing problems and concerns over lead levels in water. The PWSA issued two boil water advisories in the last year because of suspected contamination, affecting tens of thousands of customers.

In March, Mayor William Peduto named a panel of government, nonprofit, business and energy leaders to look at possible restructuring of the PWSA. Mayoral spokesman Timothy McNulty noted that Peduto “welcomes the conference’s interest in the matter.”

Infrastructure Management Group Inc., a consulting firm hired by the city, recommended major changes including moving oversight from the city to a public trust, working with a private firm to repair infrastructure, and establishing rates under Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission oversight. The PWSA in November passed a budget that will raise rates nearly 50 percent over three years to help fund infrastructure upgrades.

William Demchak, chairman, president and CEO, PNC Financial Services, and incoming Allegheny Conference chair, echoed Pashman’s strong stance during the conference’s annual meeting Nov. 14: “The [PWSA], as it’s currently structured, creates significant public health issues in the region and threatens our residents, businesses and the enormous economic, environmental and quality-of-life progress that we’ve made in recent decades.”

​PWSA Interim Executive Director Robert Weimar says that the PWSA welcomes the input of other agencies to help solve the decades-long issues.

“The Authority remains confident that the recently approved 2018 budget, rates and strategic plan will give PWSA’s current leadership the foundation to aggressively address decades of neglect and disinvestment.”
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

House of the Week: Custom Built Contemporary on Nine Acres

This Marshall Township home, built with commercial grade construction and materials, has plenty of room both inside and out.

Local Business Owner Pays it Forward

Ed Meyer overcame challenges with the help of others — now he gives back to those in the same situation.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2018

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.

How Pittsburgh is Advancing the Care for the Young

Meet four physicians making breakthroughs in medical care to improve the lives of Pittsburgh’s children and adolescents.

‘Conversations’: 8 Interesting People Revive a Lost Art

We sit down with hockey coaches, college students, farmers and the mayors of two cities to see what they had to say.

Restaurant Review: Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette is a Sweet Success

Becca Hegarty’s establishment in Bloomfield blends contemporary sourcing with old-fashioned community for a simple yet satisfying neighborhood restaurant.

Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

The Steelers could choose a Hercules, a bouncer or a guy with a big butt that he can “anchor,” but can any of them catch a javelin?

After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

A spoiler-free review of "Avengers: Infinity War."

Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Juju Smith-Schuster’s dog makes some sweet aerial moves to get out of its cage.

A Bitter Pennsylvania Rivalry Is the Focus of a New Movie

Few questions spark such intense debate as “Wawa or Sheetz?” A local filmmaker hopes to answer which regional chain reigns supreme.

Kraft Heinz Squeezes Out New Ketchup with Vintage Taste

Can a recipe from 1896 still taste as good?

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.

Is Gabby Barrett the Next Carrie Underwood?

The 18-year-old singer from Munhall wowed the “American Idol” judges once again.

17 Vintage Photos of the Steel City of Old

Take a trip back to a very different Pittsburgh.

These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

Find out why these couples ditched the traditional guestbook and instead chose a drum head, a giant wooden letter and a dictionary for their guests to sign.

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.