Pittsburgh Lead Levels Still Above Federal Action Levels

PWSA Says Orthophosphate Is Working

Joe DeStio
July 26, 2019 - 4:15 pm
The latest test results of Pittsburgh tap water show lead levels still above federal limits but moving in the right direction.

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – The latest test results of Pittsburgh tap water show lead levels still above federal limits but moving in the right direction. The January through June results of the ten percent worst-case-scenario properties show a reading of 17.5 parts per billion. The federal action level is 15 ppb.

“We are encouraged by this round of sampling,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar. “This compliance data and our system wide testing have demonstrated that the longer orthophosphate is present in our water system, the more effective it is at reducing lead levels.”

The PWSA started adding orthophosphate in April. The additive forms a protective layer inside lead service lines to prevent lead from leaching into the system.

“As orthophosphate continues to do its job, we anticipate lead levels to be reduced to single digit or non-detectible levels at most homes with lead service lines or plumbing,” said Weimar.

Of 176 samples in the most recent testing, 113 had a lead concentration of less than 5 ppb. 29 were between 5.0 and 9.9 ppb. 14 were between 10.0 and 14.9 ppb. Six were between 15.0 and 19.9 ppb. Eight were between 20 and 49.9 ppb. Six were higher than 50 ppb.

The PWSA continues to replace lead service lines. It says it has replaced more than 4,200 lead service lined since July, 2016.

The next readings are due in January.

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