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Lanpher Reservoir Back At Full Capacity 2 Years After Bird Droppings Caused Contamination Concerns

Kathleen Davis
90.5 WESA
Tears in the old Lanpher Reservoir cover led to concerns about possible contamination from bird droppings.

Two years ago, local birds and animals got a little too comfortable atop the Lanpher Reservoir's torn covering, leading to flush and boil warnings in Millvale and Reserve Township. After an $8.7 million renovation, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Wednesday that the reservoir is back to its full operating capacity.

The reservoir, located in Shaler Township, is split into east and west cells. Renovations to the western cell were completed in August 2018. The eastern cell, where a 21-year-old cover previously exposed drinking water to contamination from bird and animal droppings, has now been refilled with 56 million gallons of water.

The lifespan of the new covering is 20 years, the same as the old cover.

"We’re programming [that] into our capital improvement plan," said PWSA spokesman Will Pickering. "Well before 20 years we’re going to begin to make plans and design a replacement."

In addition to the cover, PWSA installed a new ground liner and made improvements to the concrete wall surrounding the reservoir. There is also a new system in place to keep the top of the reservoir covering dry.

"It won't encourage any roosting or nesting there and its an airtight seal, it's all brand new, so we're feeling good about this project," Pickering said.