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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: hiddenpoison.org.

City's Water Filter Distribution Plan Delayed After Delivery Truck Breaks Down

Liz Reid
90.5 WESA
Some residents, including Steve Hayashi of Squirrel Hill, bought their own water filters before the city's filter distribution program was announced.

The city of Pittsburgh is dealing with a slight hiccup in its water filter distribution program.

A truck carrying Zero Water filtration pitchers from El Paso, Texas to Pittsburgh broke down, causing a delay in the distribution of the pitchers.

Pitchers will be distributed at fire stations in the north and west regions of the city on Friday, June 30; in the eastern neighborhoods on Wednesday, July 5; and in southern neighborhoods on Thursday, July 6.

Sam Ashbaugh, chief financial officer with the city, said that’s still ahead of the schedule originally proposed by Zero Water.

“We wouldn’t have had everything distributed until the end of summer, but Zero Water was able to establish a temporary production facility to expedite our orders,” he said.

Replacement filters cost about $30 for a two-pack. The filtration pitchers themselves run about $35. The company is offering coupons for both.

Ashbaugh said a total of 20,000 water filtration pitchers will be distributed by the end of next week. About 10,000 of those went to expectant mothers and residents with small children, which the city identified by partnering with childcare centers, health clinics and OB/GYN offices.

PWSA estimates that about 19,000 of its customers have lead service lines on the public side, from the curb to the water main in the middle of the street. A spokesman said they did not currently have an estimate on how many have private lead service lines, from the curb to the house.

Funding for the water filter program comes, in part, from People's Gas, which kicked in $500,000. The city and PWSA each contributed $250,000. 

A list of fire stations where filters will be distributed is available on the city’s website.

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