Officials Lay Out Detailed Timeline Leading Up To Boil Water Advisory

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Eighteen-thousand homes on Pittsburgh’s North Side, as well as in Millvale and Reserve remain under a boil water advisory.

The interim director for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Bob Weimar, says the order could be lifted by Thursday, or Friday at the latest.

They need to have two consecutive sets of samples with no coliform bacteria taken 12 hours apart.

It was also pointed out at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in the Mayor’s Office that no one has reported getting sick from the water.

Some members of City Council, including Councilwoman Darlene Harris who represents the North Side, wishes she had known something about the issue before Monday night.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Harris. “It is not fair to the residents of Pittsburgh.”

But a few hours later, officials laid out an even more detailed timeline of what happened.

According Weimar Monday night: “This past Friday, we identified there may be a problem at that reservoir.”

That’s the Lanpher Reservoir in Shaler.

And at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, he got even more detailed, stating that a water test on Saturday showed no coliform bacteria.

“We were advised at that time a boil water advisory was not necessary,” he said.

However, on Sunday, an examination of the reservoir showed a potential tear in the cover. The DEP asked for further inspection Monday morning.

While no water quality problem was found, based on the physical condition of the cover and the potential for bird dropping contamination, the Mayor’s Office was told Monday afternoon that a boil water advisory was coming.

“At 4:01, received an email from the DEP,” said Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin.

At 4:30 p.m., PWSA received the actual order.

“At 5 o’clock, we had the entire public safety team deployed,” said Acklin.

But then came a problem: Rather than the whole city boiling water, they had to show the state that the reservoir only affected a certain area.

“Spent about an hour and half clarifying one point of the order, that had to do with the impact area,” said Acklin.

The reservoir was disconnected from the system at 7:30 p.m., according to Weimar.

A press release was sent out at 8 p.m., and a press conference held at 10 p.m. Monday.

“So from the first notification to the first notification to the public was four hours,” said Acklin. “State law allows for 24 hours.”

And as for when the advisory will be over, Weimar says: “It’s a high probability we should be able to lift it Thursday. At the very latest, we hope that it will be Friday.”

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