PWSA ordered to pay half million dollars after sludge dumped into Allegheny River

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was ordered to pay half a million dollars and was put on three years’ probation after a federal judge found the company violated the Clean Water Act.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, PWSA violated its permit when it “discharged a substance known as clarifier sludge into the Allegheny River.” Officials said that happened “on a number of occasions” from 2010 to 2017. Under the permit, PWSA was not legally allowed to discharge the substance into the popular fishing and boating waterway.

Additionally, officials said PWSA violated another permit by lying to ALCOSAN about how much sludge was being shipped to the agency’s waste treatment facility. Meters measuring the flow of sludge to the facility stopped working and PWSA then supplied estimated numbers to ALCOSAN instead of the actual numbers. Those meters were not replaced until five years later, after federal investigators found they weren’t working.