DEP: Pittsburgh's water authority altered water treatment chemicals without approval

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 16, 2017 2:29 PM

Workers from a local water service fill the water buffaloes from their tanker at a city fire station in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh where the city made water available for the public on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. The city set up over a dozen spots across town to distribute potable water after tests by the state Department of Environmental Protection showed low levels of chlorine in water at a facility that draws water from the city's Highland Park reservoirs, prompting the closure of nearly two dozen schools and a boil-water advisory for 100,000 customers of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(Pittsburgh) -- State environmental officials found that the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority altered its water treatment chemicals without approval, although there is so far no evidence that this move has caused any public health risk.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports this is the second time in three years that the PWSA has been accused of making unauthorized changes to its treatment chemicals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says state inspectors conducted a review of the PWSA's main treatment plant along the Allegheny River on Jan. 6 that discovered that the facility was using ferric chloride and caustic soda as coagulating agents in place of lime.

An investigation into whether the public's health was jeopardized is ongoing.

A PWSA spokesman declined to comment on the DEP's findings.

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