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 Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

My Favorite Room with Heather Abraham

Each issue, HOME goes inside the room of one of our favorite Pittsburghers.

Look Inside a Home That's a True Gateway to Pittsburgh

After 50 years away, Dick and Vicki Mallary returned to Pittsburgh and spent years painstakingly remodeling a condo in the heart of Downtown.

This Old Pittsburgh House: A Ghost in the Library

It's said that the mischievous spirit of Amanda Bayne Balph still haunts the red brick Victorian home in Bellevue.

“Trocking” Along: Living the Art-Filled Life in Pittsburgh

Patricia Sheahan’s home in the Brewhouse Art Lofts on the South side doubles as a gallery space showcasing her collection of art, antique finds and roadside treasures.

Down to Earth is the Hottest Trend at High Point Market

Get the scoop on the furnishing and decor trends to come out of the influential High Point Market trade show, including a return to natural materials.

Winter 2019: Things We Love

Here are the local gems worth obsessing over.

The Best New Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2018

Our dining critic picks the eight top openings of 2018 and suggests one more to keep an eye on.

A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

Guest blogger Sarah Connor helps college kids head out at night, whatever their birth year.

The 400-Word Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The animated wing of Spider-Man's movie world proves to be a groundbreaking step in animation.

New Venue To Serve as Downtown's Home for Magic

The intimate venue will offer close-up, "parlour" magic shows for small audiences beginning in February.

Watch: Rocky Bleier's “Heart Ripped Out” by Steelers

In a blunt public assessment, unusual from a former player, Bleier opens his video by declaring that he's “done” with the Steelers. Then he takes aim at the kicker and the coaching staff.

Historic Larimer Schoolhouse Will Graduate to Apartment Complex

Federal funds will be used to turn to the vacant Romanesque-style building into 35 mixed-income apartments.

First Look: Seasons in Etna

David Bulman’s hyper-local, 12-seat restaurant has the potential to become a dining destination.

Pittsburgh Rings, Sings and Dances into the New Year

“Highmark’s First Night Pittsburgh” features 100 performances for kids of all ages and, of course, fireworks for everyone.

The 400-Word Review: At Eternity's Gate

It's a fair Vincent Van Gogh biopic, but fails to make a strong impression.