PITTSBURGH, PA (February 3, 2017) Mayor William Peduto's Administration today released a call for a financial and legal advisory team to assist the City with the critical need to improve the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, consider long-term plans for the authority's operations, and improve customer services to Pittsburgh residents.
"The City of Pittsburgh owns the water and sewer system that was leased to the PWSA decades ago. It's time to reevaluate this structure," Mayor Peduto said. "After systemic problems with inadequate billing, lead in our service lines, and this week's flush and boil water advisory, the City has the duty to find new ways to improve our water services, and create the safe, effective and sustainable water authority our residents deserve."
A request for proposals was issued today to identify an advisory team to manage evaluations of a possible restructuring the PWSA to enhance water and sewer service delivery. This team, once chosen, will help kickstart a process of addressing the agency's repeated structural failures. This could include plans to implement alternate ways to provide water services, possibly through a public-private partnership to jointly manage some authority operations.
The PWSA board has been advised of the request for proposals, and supports it.
The Administration is next considering plans to gauge interest from organizations to partner with the city in the operation of the water and sewer asset, including a capital improvement plan to invest in critical infrastructure needs. The advisory team will help with that endeavor by studying the financial condition of the city's water and sewer lines; engaging with residents and other water consumers for their input; recommending ways for the City to maximize public control in any partnership; and other matters.
"While we are not presently considering a full privatization, nor a third-party arrangement similar to the previous engagement with Veolia, we are seeking a full financial and operations partner. With disintegrating water infrastructure, massive debt problems, and repeated failures in customer service and billing issues, deep changes to the PWSA are obviously necessary. We will work diligently with City Council, and the public, to identify the best solutions for our residents," said the Mayor's Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin.
Responses to the RFP will be evaluated in coming weeks, with hopes of hiring an advisory team by the end of February. A copy of the RFP is available here on the city's procurement website.
Source: City of Pittsburgh
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