PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh’s city controller released the findings of a PWSA performance audit Thursday morning.
The biggest problem for the controller was the PWSA’s continually changing leadership.
“Everywhere we turned at the PWSA, there’s a problem. So whether it’s in the leadership, whether it’s in the lead issue, whether it’s in the billing issue, customer service, at every turn we came up with problems. While we were doing this audit, as you know, there were several news events that occurred that added to the complexity of this. In addition to that, since we started this audit, we’ve gone through four different directors down there,” City Controller Michael Lamb said.
Another issue for Lamb was the PWSA’s hiring of Veolia Water North America, a private company, for $11 million in order to cut costs and increase profits. That move led to problems such as changing to cheaper chemicals to treat the water only to see lead levels rise.
The controller also found that a new meter system didn’t work.
“All of that led to these ridiculous billing problems. I’m one of those customers that didn’t get a bill for a year,” Lamb said.
Lamb’s audit is just a draft at this point and will be reviewed with the PWSA.
PWSA Board Chairman Alex Thomson issued the following statement about the audit:
“We thank the City of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb for his draft audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA). The Authority’s Board of Directors and Executive Team are currently reviewing the findings and will implement all appropriate actions for improvement. PWSA’s Board and Executive Team are also committed to working with Pennsylvania State Auditor General DePasquale to identify additional areas where PWSA can improve its governance and performance.”
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will also be conducting an audit. He hopes his audit will compliment what Lamb has done.
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