PWSA gets $32 million in BIL funds to boost LSL program

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was awarded a $32.1 million funding package from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) to continue the aggressive removal of lead service lines throughout its drinking water system.

The funding, provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), is split between $13.8 million in grants – marking the largest grant PWSA has received from PENNVEST – and $18.3 million in low-interest loans.  

“Today’s award from PENNVEST advances our mission to protect public health by funding the removal of lead service lines at over 1,000 homes,” said PWSA CEO Will Pickering.  “We’re grateful for the funding partnership with PENNVEST, the Office of Governor Shapiro, U.S. EPA and the Biden Administration that is helping to provide customers with safe, high-quality drinking water,” he continued.  

Over time, funding from state and federal partners helps to reduce the cost to ratepayers during a period of unprecedented investment in our essential water systems. This round of funding will save ratepayers nearly $50 million over the next 30 years when compared to issuing municipal bonds.  

With this award, PWSA estimates replacing 1,375 public and 1,260 private lead service lines in the Borough of Millvale and ten Pittsburgh neighborhoods including Mount Washington, South Side Slopes, South Side Flats, Garfield, Upper Lawrenceville, Central Northside, Manchester, Perry North, Perry South, and Spring Hill-City View. Proactively removing lead service lines is the most effective way to eliminate the presence of lead in drinking water and enhances our ability to protect public health now and for future generations.

Contracting Opportunities

PWSA’s lead service line replacement program creates contracting opportunities for construction firms local to Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania. The use of PENNVEST funding and PWSA’s own procurement policies requires a robust and thorough Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) solicitation process. Investing in DBE firms improves the economic vitality of our region and can help to create jobs that stay in our community.    

Outreach to vendors through the Pennsylvania Department of General Services Supplier Search ensures DBE firms are aware of opportunities and the ability to compete for work funded by EPA financial assistance dollars. PWSA’s Supplier Diversity Policy states a goal of 10% – 25% of all contracts are to be awarded to DBE firms. To learn of these upcoming PWSA opportunities, DBE firms are encouraged to register with our procurement portal.   

Local Economic Impact

The work PWSA is doing throughout the community has a direct economic impact on our region. This $32 million award will generate approximately $56 million in economic benefit helping to fuel our local economy, create jobs, and keep money in our communities. 

Since 2018, PWSA has received from PENNVEST a combination of $637 million in low-interest loans and $62 million in grants, totaling $699 million.  Combined, these funding packages received from PENNVEST are projected to save ratepayers more than $635 million when compared to traditional financing received through municipal loans.  

As a publicly owned and operated water utility, every dollar we receive is reinvested back into the water systems that serve those living and working in Pittsburgh. To learn more about the Authority’s finances, please visit http://www.pgh2o.com/about-us/finance

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