PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Lead in the water has been a nationwide concern since the contamination in Flint, Michigan.
Now, alarming levels of lead found in the drinking water of some Pittsburgh homes is prompting calls for immediate action by state environmental regulators.
State environmental officials are demanding that the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority take immediate action after results show dangerous levels of lead found in more than 10 percent of the homes tested.
Tests of at-risk homes found that 18 of an initial sample of 100 residences had lead levels in excess of the federal allowable limit of 15 parts per billion.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the PWSA to implement a plan to address that issue.
Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement: “This is a serious concern, and DEP will be working with PWSA to inform and educate consumers of the risks of lead in drinking water and find solutions to reduce the lead levels in the water. The top priority is to return the system to below the action level as quickly as possible.”
Most of the homes in question have lead services lines conveying the water into their homes. The lines are known to shed trace deposit of lead.
The DEP is ordering that the PWSA development a complete listing of all lead service lines and begin a lead service line replacement program where at least seven percent of the lines are replaced annually.
It is also requiring the PWSA to implement a public awareness program by September.
Replacing a lead service line is the customer’s responsibility and can cost thousands of dollars. PWSA officials say they are working on a customer assistance program.