PWSA boil advisory affects disabled residents, small businesses

PITTSBURGH — Housing authority employees handed out bottled water to some of those affected by the boil water advisory, but residents told us they are fed up.

Some people aren't able to physically leave their homes to get water, so 311 is asking them call for water deliveries.

But if you are able to leave your house, several water buffalos have been positioned around the city for you to fill up your water bottles, or sanitized containers.

At Pressley High Rise on the North Side, the housing authority spent much of the day going door-to-door, making their way up 16 floors to hand out notices of the water boil advisory and make sure residents who aren't able to get out have water.

Outside the high rise, Channel 11 found a lot of people using a water buffalo to fill up their bottles and containers for the day.

“This has got to get corrected. Forget the bike lanes, get this water situation corrected,” resident Christ Spinnenwever.

"They said we needed water bad so I had to go back to the store and get me a bigger water, so I bought bottles from Giant Eagle," added Rita Coleman, a recent stroke survivor who just relearned how to talk and walk and didn't want to take any chances with the boil advisory. “I have a tube in my stomach so I needed it bad, I didn't want to get sick.”

While crews work feverishly to fix the problem, other neighbors say they're left with concerns about what they could have consumed in their water before they were even told about the advisory.


"If they knew about this Friday, why didn't they address it with us then, instead of waiting until now? We drank that water, we bathed in it, we cooked in it. What kind of diseases are we gonna end up with?"

Homeowners aren't the only ones affected by this water advisory; businesses have been hit, too. The Allegheny County Health Department shut down a North side Subway restaurant for operating normally during the boil water advisory.

But other businesses Channel 11 visited are going through great lengths to stay open.

Nana's Hot Dog Shop employee Raheene Dodd has never experienced a seven-hour workday quite as hectic as this one.

"It's like hell and then someone came a saved us and then brought us back to hell again," Dodd said.

Late Monday night, PWSA issued a boil water advisory for much of Northern Pittsburgh, Millvale and Reserve Township.

The advisory is impacting at least 18,000 homes, schools and countless businesses.

Stores and restaurants are forced to change the way they do things, all the way down to how they wash their dishes.

"Once we have our water boiled, then we could go to the second process of getting the clean trays," Dodd said.

Right next door to Nana's, Channel 11 checked in with El Burro. They were forced to close early Tuesday and were unable to serve fountain drinks because of the boil advisory.

And on the corner of North Avenue and Federal Street at Crazy Mocha, a few menu items had to be eliminated because they were unable to wash their blender and other necessary utensils.

Fortunately, businesses say they haven't felt financial effects yet. So far, this advisory has just been a little more of an inconvenience.