It’s been a hard year for the Lanpher Reservoir.
In February 2017, a section of the water main feeding the aging reservoir ruptured, sending water into the Allegheny River at a rate of 10,000 gallons per minute. The section took five months to repair and cost $25,000,000.
Just a few weeks after repairs were finished in mid-August, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection became concerned that bird droppings had contaminated the water supply. A boil advisory was in effect on the North Side for several days, though tests did not find any contaminants.
Still, as a result of the scare, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) vowed to install new coverings on the reservoir. At the time, it was estimated the process would cost $9,000,000 and be completed within nine months.
Then in May of this year, PWSA was hit with with a $50,000 fine from the Department of Environmental Protection for allowing debris from the repairs into the water supply and not having the required construction permits.
But in a statement released this week, the PWSA appeared ready to declare all the issues of the past year as water under the reservoir. The water authority announced that they have entered the final phase of construction on the new coverings.
“Depending on weather conditions, the Authority expects the work to be completed by the end of 2018,” says the press release, which also notes that the full cost of the repairs will be $12,000,000.
“A renewed Lanpher Reservoir ensures that PWSA will continue to provide safe and reliable water to our customers for decades to come. I applaud our team of PWSA employees and contractors who worked together to get the job done for our customers,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert A. Weimar.
Located in Shaler Township, the Lanpher Reservoir contains 113,000,000 gallons of water and serves more than 30 percent of PWSA’s customers. Both the reservoir and its water main are more than 100 years olds.
In addition to the new linings and coverings, PWSA also spent the summer soliciting bids from private construction groups for a contract to replace the water main that ruptured last year. The final deadline for applications was August 21, and the water authority plans to have the new line installed by 2023.