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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s being characterized as a new partnership to supply drinking water to some 111,000 customers of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Peoples Natural Gas began campaigning for a joint venture in early July. The proposal requires public hearings before Pittsburgh City Council takes the plan into consideration.

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Several residents and activists spoke at a public meeting in Council chambers Wednesday night.

Many worry that any level of privatization would lead to less control, and, eventually, higher rates.

Peoples, earlier, had revealed plans for a $350 million water treatment facility along the Allegheny River in O’Hara Township. The company promising a state-of-the-art plant that would supply cleaner water.

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There’s also talk of a three-year rate freeze.

Critics argue oversight by any private company would put profits over the public interest.