South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Free, on-demand lead service line replacements still available to income-qualified customers

 

September 8, 2020



Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) lead levels are at their lowest in 20 years, but there is no safe amount of lead. As PWSA continues to replace all lead service lines by 2026, it wants to ensure there is an income-based replacement program to address lead lines on-demand for its customers.

This program, administered through Dollar Energy Fund and our Lead Help Desk, provides free private lead service line replacements to those who meet income requirements. Funding will expire in February of 2021 or when funding runs out, which means customers should act fast to take advantage of this free water quality upgrade.

By calling Dollar Energy Fund, a representative will verify income to determine if the caller falls within the income guidelines. Eligible customers participating in the program will enter into an agreement with PWSA allowing it to work on private property. The program includes necessary plumbing upgrades, a free pitcher filter, and post construction lead testing.

In January, PWSA increased the threshold for qualification from 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 300 percent FPL. This means that an individual making $38,280 or a family of four with a household income of $78,600 would qualify.

Crews contracted by PWSA are incentivized to complete work with the least invasive methods possible. Using a "trenchless method," workers can pull the old lead line out from underneath the ground while simultaneously replacing it with a copper line. After completing thousands of lead line replacements across Pittsburgh, 98 percent of them were completed using a trenchless method. When a PWSA-owned public lead line is found during the work, crews will coordinate a full lead line replacement. 

Funds for this program are available from a settlement of an enforcement action between PWSA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Approximately $700,000 remains in the fund.

The process is simple and easy: customers can call Dollar Energy Fund at 866-762-2348 to take advantage of this free service.

 

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