In a hard-hitting statement released yesterday, new Allegheny Conference head Stefani Pashman said it’s time to act now, and act together, to fix the problems at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. Here’s the statement in full:
The presentation made today by Infrastructure Management Group, Inc. (IMG), the firm enlisted by the City of Pittsburgh to evaluate restructuring options for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), should serve as a wake-up call to everyone who values safe, quality drinking water in the Pittsburgh region.
The IMG presentation painted a damning picture of PWSA as a failed agency in a state of crisis that is unable to correct the immense structural, operational and physical challenges that have plagued the authority for many decades. IMG’s findings, coupled with the recent state audit of PWSA, lead the Allegheny Conference to believe that PWSA, as it is currently structured, creates significant public health issues in the region and threatens our residents, businesses and the enormous economic, environmental and quality of life progress that we have made in recent decades.
The enormous challenges faced by PWSA are not a recent phenomenon. They have been building over decades to create the situation we find ourselves in today. The focus now must be on how to move forward.
The severity and urgency of the problem merit prompt and decisive actions and fundamental transformation of the structure, governance, operations, maintenance and capital investment activities of the PWSA. The Allegheny Conference is prepared to stand with all parties willing to take the necessary steps to protect the region, its reputation and quality of life.
The time to act is now.
And more on the subject? Bill Demchak, vice chair of the Allegheny Conference and chair, president and CEO of PNC made a similar plea in this op-ed in the Post-Gazette this morning. “The threats to public health and safety created by long-neglected infrastructure require the city to act with urgency to avoid unraveling the enormous economic, environmental and quality-of-life progress Pittsburgh has made in recent decades,” he wrote.