Pittsburgh's Improving Water Quality

Jan 7, 2015

Credit Joseph / Flickr

Although not as apparent today, Pittsburgh was once one of the top industrial cities in America- and one of the dirtiest.

Often described as “hell with the lid off,” Pittsburgh of old was a city of dark noons where workers had to change their white shirts during the day. Since the Steel City’s mid-century renaissance, the air quality has improved significantly.

Improving the water quality of the famed three rivers- which were often used as garbage disposal by past residents- has been a longer process.

But encouraging news came out of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently, when they announced that the Monongahela River had been removed from the department’s list of Rivers with Impaired Drinking Water.

The department’s Deputy Secretary of Water Management Kelly Heffner said that though this was a step in the right direction, there is still plenty of work to be done in Western Pennsylvania.

“Our expectation is that folks continue restoration and that folks who do have permits on the river stay in compliance, and not lose sight of the fact that they have to continue to pay attention,” she said.

Heffner noted that in addition to being safe, the Mon’s cleanliness would also benefit taxpayers. “Certainly the treatment costs are going to go down… so in the event that that can be passed on to a consumer, that would certainly be a good thing.”