PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA)- The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will remain publicly-owned under a proposal being taken up by City Council next week.

The current cooperation agreement between the City and PWSA ends July 5, 2019.  The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which assumed oversight of the PWSA last year, asked for much of the language in the new agreement, such as requirements that the city make payments for PWSA water and sewer services, and that PWSA make payments for city services.  Several provisions also reflect recommendations made by the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on PWSA.

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“In the past five years, following decades of disinvestment and poor management of the PWSA, the authority has been making great strides at becoming more accountable and more customer-friendly to Pittsburgh residents. This agreement is a needed next step in formalizing those positive changes,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.

“The updated agreement reflects the reality that PWSA is evolving into a mature and modern publicly-owned water, sewer and stormwater utility. The agreement creates a reasonable and justified footing for how the City and PWSA will interact in the future,” PWSA board chair Paul Leger said.

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Under the cooperation agreement:

  • The City will pay PWSA for water, sewer and fire hydrant charges on a five-year phased-in basis beginning in January 2020
  • PWSA will reimburse the City for PWSA employees enrolled in the City pension plan
  • PWSA will begin paying City permit fees
  • PWSA will take control over the Pennsylvania American Water Company ratepayer subsidy agreement
  • All City facilities will be metered (with the cost of placing meters shared by both entities)
  • The City will be treated like a commercial customer in regard to water service line and sewer lateral maintenance, with two distinctions (a five-year phase-in for City costs, and PWSA will maintain all lines/laterals in City parks larger than 50 acres)
  • PWSA will pay for city services such as fuel for authority vehicles, fleet maintenance and street sweeping costs
  • All payments between the City and PWSA will meet auditing standards

A copy of the proposed cooperation agreement is available here. Resolutions on the agreement will be introduced to Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday and the PWSA board at its next meeting June 28.

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