PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro Files 161 Criminal Counts Against PWSA

Shapiro says the water authority failed to follow state law when it repaired residential service lines

Joe DeStio
February 01, 2019 - 1:24 pm

Joe DeStio

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is filing criminal charges against the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Shapiro said during a news conference in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh Friday he is filing 161 counts against the PWSA for failing to follow state law in 2016 and 2017 when it repaired residential service lines.

“Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water – I’m here to defend that,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro said each count represents a house affected.

“That is one count for each of the 161 households including much right here in this Lawrenceville neighborhood that were not given notice of the line replacement or did not have their water sampled,” said Shapiro. “The Water & Sewer Authority knew it was required to notify residents of its plans to replace service lines, and it knew it was required to sample the lines for lead content – yet it failed to do so. That makes PWSA criminally liable under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

Notice and sampling are both required. No individual faces charges but the PWSA could be fined. That decision will be made by the courts.

After the charges were filed the PWSA said in a statement they are disappointed with the decision and that they "self-reported the issues to DEP, agreed to a civil penalty of $2.4 million, and have since established one of the most comprehensive lead service line replacement programs in the nation."

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