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Pittsburgh's history of lead in our water, paint, and soil continues to have enormous repercussions for the area's public health. Hidden Poison is a series on lead problems and solutions, reported by public media partners 90.5 WESA News, Allegheny Front, PublicSource, and Keystone Crossroads. Read more at our website:

Pittsburgh Will Add Chemical To Water To Reduce Lead Risk

Kailey Love
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh officials have received approval from the state to add a chemical to its water supply to help reduce lead contamination.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will start adding orthophosphate to its water in August. The chemical works by forming a coating inside lead pipes, stopping lead from filtering into the water.

The city's water has been above the federal limit for lead since 2016.

Data from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency shows lead levels in the city were at 21 parts per billion in January. The limit is 15 parts per billion.

PWSA Executive Director Robert Weimar says he expects to see lower lead levels by the end of the year.