PWSA tests pilot program on lead lines

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority took a big step Wednesday in the battle to lower lead levels in Pittsburgh's water.

A pilot program is testing six homes in the Hill District, using a technology called ePipe.

It appears to be less expensive and less intrusive.

"We've lined it with an epoxy resin and it will effectively stop the lead from leaching into the water supply," said Larry Gillanders, CEO of Pipe Restoration Technologies, which is based in Santa Ana, California.


Instead of replacing lead lines, his company uses ePipe to shoot an epoxy resin into the line that hardens, coats the inside of the pipe and keeps the lead from getting into the water.

"We've been doing this for more than a decade," Gillanders said. "We've done thousands of lines in England. They've talked their lead problem going back about six years now using this process."

Pipe Restoration Technologies is not charging PWSA as they show how the program works.

"If it works it's OK," said Walter Anderson, whose home is one being tested. "I wish they could help everybody out, I really do."

Gillanders told Channel 11 his company would normally charge anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 apiece for each of the six houses.

That's considerably less than the $5,000 to $10,000 to replace the lines and the whole process only takes about four hours.


PWSA says this is another option they're considering.

"A lot of people may not want their yards dug up, so this might be a good alternative and it really was four hours they were done," Sarah Bolenbaugh, with PWSA, said.

The company completed the work on the lateral lines that are typically the responsibility of the homeowners.

PWSA will take samples for the next several weeks to see how the process worked.