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PWSA Fined For Clean Water Act Violations

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Jake Savitz
/
90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was sentenced in federal court earlier this week for violating the Clean Water Act.

According to federal prosecutors, PWSA dumped a type of waste known as ‘clarifier sludge’ into the Allegheny River multiple times between 2010 and 2017. It also gave the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority inaccurate data about the amount of sludge it was sending to ALCOSAN’s waste treatment facility. PWSA did not replace the meters that collect data about the amount of waste until “five years after they became inoperable and federal investigators learned of their inoperability,” according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

PWSA will spend three years on probation and pay a $500,000 fine that will be used to “establish a comprehensive environmental compliance program.” It must also hire an environmental compliance manager to ensure PWSA follows environmental regulations in the future.

In June, a former PWSA supervisor who oversaw some of the violations wasalso charged in federal court.

The fine and probation are meant to “ensure future compliance with federal environmental laws, rules, and regulations” and “deter the Authority from engaging in future criminal conduct,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephen Kaufman.

Customer rates will not change as a result of the fine.

Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at jzenkevich@wesa.fm.
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