HARRISBURG – Legislation to place the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) under the oversight of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) passed the House today by a vote of 195-0, said House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny).
Over the last year, local and national newspapers have recounted many service issues facing PWSA. They include multi-million dollar debt and uncollectibles, unmetered accounts, incorrect billing, system leaks, and thousands of lead service lines, many of which have not been identified or located. Most recently, they have been cited with non-compliance by the Environmental Protection Agency for Clean Water Act violations. These issues call into serious question the sustainability of PWSA and the health and safety of those served by the system.
“Pennsylvanians served by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority need safe water like everyone in the Commonwealth,” said Turzai. “The stability of the authority to serve its customers requires fiscal responsibility and best practices, both of which are lacking. House Bill 1490
represents a positive step forward to address PWSA’s persistent problems.”
“This legislation is about consumer protection and the health and safety of those served by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority,” said Readshaw. “This is really a commonsense approach that will move the system in a positive direction.”
PUC oversight is crucial to correcting the authority’s long-standing difficulties. The PUC has the power to demand sound financial practices, systemic upgrades to infrastructure and reliable service delivery to customers.
“The city and the authority clearly need guidance and direction that will be provided by the PUC. This is a critical issue for our entire region that we want to see addressed,” said Turzai.
The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives