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"The City is in the midst of an open, transparent and public process to evaluate the future of the PWSA, which includes looks at lead service line issues, and the authority's crippling $1 billion in debt.It appears the County Controller instead wants to preserve the status quo at the authority and push massive tax increases on City residents, all while taking cheap political shots at those actually working to address the authority's issues.As most lawyers know, Pittsburgh, unlike Philadelphia, is barred by the state Municipal Authorities Act from replacing residential lead service lines.
Contrary to what the Controller stated, the PWSA is under orders by the state Department of Environmental Protection to replace 7% of its lead service lines each year.In the meantime the Mayor's Office has been making legitimate strides to protect residents of the city who – like those in more than 5,300 municipalities nationwide – have unacceptable levels of lead in their water system.At a meeting with water experts yesterday regarding Mayor Peduto's $1 million Safe Water Plan, the group agreed to prioritize issuing free water filters to residents in neighborhoods where the PWSA is replacing its lead service lines.Additionally, early this month the Urban Redevelopment Authority created a low-interest loan program to help low-income residents pay for their lead service line replacements.And this coming Friday morning, a blue-ribbon panel of water experts will do public interviews of proposed professional advisory teams to manage a possible restructuring of the PWSA.The Mayor does agree with the County Controller on one point. As he has repeatedly said, he does not favor privatizing the PWSA."
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