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Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority must protect residents

Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority must do more to ensure residents have access to public, safe and affordable water.

Read the below petition and sign your name to demand change.

Get the Lead out, PGH

Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority (WPJWA) needs to ensure healthy drinking water and access to it by adopting assistance programs to protect people who are unable to afford their water bill and ensure that lead service line replacement plans are implemented in an equitable and effective way, starting in communities with the highest rates of lead poisoning and those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Lead in the water is a huge crisis in our country, not just in Flint, Michigan, but in the WPJWA service area:

  • WPJWA’s lead in drinking water levels have been going up recently (in 2016 and 2019), and the levels1 are just below the federal action level of 15 ppb (at which a water crisis is declared)
  • WPJWA’s service area has some of the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning in Allegheny County, which contributes to permanent developmental and behavioral problems
  • WPJWA continues to conduct PARTIAL (from the curb to the water main in the street) lead water line replacements that are known to make lead levels worse
  • WPJWA received a $9.3 million dollar grant2 in 2021 to replace around 1,000 lead service lines. This won’t cover all 22 communities served by the Authority

Unaffordable water has dire consequences, including putting families at risk of losing their health, home, children, family, and freedom3.

  • WPJWA provides ZERO assistance funding for customers who are struggling to pay their water bills4; some low-income residents in the service area spend approximately 27% of their disposable income on water and sewer charges5.
  • It is also estimated that some low-income families in the WPJWA service area would need to work 20.35 hours at minimum wage to pay for their monthly water and sewer bill6.
  • Nearly 1 out of 6 WPJWA customers became delinquent during the pandemic, raising alarms about the community’s ability to afford water bills7.
Sign this petition to demand Executive Director Nick Bianchi and the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority:
  • Create a Community Lead Response Advisory Committee
  • End partial-lead line replacements, which exacerbate the lead in the water problem8
  • Replace every lead service line (including the private side), starting in the communities with the highest rates of lead poisoning
  • Extend the moratorium for low-income customers to continue for those at or below 300% of the federal poverty limit
  • Create a customer assistance program
Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority Service Area
(courtesy of WPJWA website, August 2021)
  • BRADDOCK HILLS
    CHALFANT
    SWISSVALE
    CHURCHILL
    EDGEWOOD
    FOREST HILLS
    NORTH BRADDOCK*
    TRAFFORD
    WILKINSBURG*
    EAST PITTSBURGH*
    WILMERDING*
    TURTLE CREEK*
    EAST McKEESPORT
    PITCAIRN*
    WILKINS TWP.
    RANKIN
Parts of:
  • BRADDOCK (4TH WARD)*
    MONROEVILLE
    NORTH VERSAILLES
    PITTSBURGH (13TH WARD)
    MUNICIPALITY OF PENN HILLS
    NORTH HUNTINGDON

*Of the 22 communities serviced by Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority, seven of them – Wilmerding, North Braddock, Braddock, Turtle Creek, East Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, and Pitcairn – have recent rates of childhood lead poisoning (among those who have been tested) that put them the top 10% of municipalities most impacted by childhood lead poisoning in Allegheny County.

 Sign the Petition

Current Signers

as of September 23, 2021
Gail Aronson, Highland Park
Lois Campbell, Edgewood
Caitlin Schroering, Greenfield
Tom Hoffman, Point Breeze
Brenda Smith, Regent Square
Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy, Point Breeze
Wilmus Randolph, Point Breeze
Linda A Atkins, Wilkinsburg
Kimberly Parker, Wilkinsburg
Paige Trice, Wilkinsburg
Sabrina Gibson, Wilkinsburg
Pamela Macklin, Wilkinsburg
Jackie Payne, Wilkinsburg
Virginia Magwood, Wilkinsburg
Barbara Lynum, Wilkinsburg
Darnell Magwood, Wilkinsburg
Elizabeth Fleioscher, Wilkinsburg
Frankie Turner, Wilkinsburg
Daja McGuire, Wilkinsburg
Marsha Robinson, Wilkinsburg
Beverly McCoy, Wilkinsburg
Pearl Caldwell, Wilkinsburg
Maryann Murray
Jeff Muster, Wilkinsburg
Roy Clark, Wilkinsburg
Marsha Anderson, Homewood
Miranda Symons
LaVeda Cox-Hill, Wilkinsburg
Alvia Carter, East Pittsburgh
Tina Ferguson, Wilkinsburg
Krisha Atkins, Wilkinsburg
Shantanu Satpuk, Wilkinsburg
Rachel Moore, Polish Hill
Jameelah Luster, Wilkinsburg
Darryl Green, Wilkinsburg
Larry Malone, Wilkinsburg
Candace Butter Foster, Homewood
Yvonne Edmunds, Wilkinsburg
Brenda Hicks, Wilkinsburg
Helen Bisers, West View
Anna Coleman, Point Breeze
Sara Mastros, North Braddock
Ian Price, Bloomfield
Betty Arenth, Penn Hills
Ross Carmichael, Greenfield
Rahn Leggett, North Braddock 
Joyce Rothermel, Wilkins Township
Lisa Hollingsworth, Edgewood
Carina Lobel-West, New Kensington
Ann Depner, Penn Hills
Avigail Oren, Swissvale
James Ruck, Forest Hills
Jamie Forrest, Squirrel Hill
Harry Hochheiser, Squirrel Hill
Molly Juliussen, Trafford
Nasyr Bey, Squirrel Hill
Walter Bowman, Oakmont
Joshua Friedman, Squirrel Hill
Christine Probert, Edgewood
Jack O’Malley, Highland Park
Diane Kemmerer, North Braddock
Savarino Kathleen, Swissvale
Thomas Severin, Connellsville
John Oesterle, East McKeesport
Molly Rush, Dormont 
Marion Reynoso, Penn Hills
Rae O’Hair, Edgewood
Dean Brandt, Wilkinsburg
Pat Downey, Wilkinsburg
Steve Karas, Forest Hills
Marita Garrett, Wilkinsburg
Lisa Porter, Squirrel Hill
Harrison Apple, Swissvale
Shandel Gilbert, Squirrel Hill
Matthew Rubin, Beechview
Bill Vandivier, Park Place
Edmund LoPresti, Stanton Heights
Mary C Desmone, Millcreek
Diane Berman, Swisshelm Park
James Lee, Swissvale
Joan Cucinotta, Highland Park
Therese Geever, Shaler
Lauren Winkler, Greenfield
Clint Edwards, Freeport
Mary Jane Probola, Chalfant
Monica Tuttle, North Point Breeze
Vicki Sheridan, Shadyside
Lynn Glorieux, East Allegheny
Glenn Wood, Moon Twp
James O’Toole, Shadyside
Donna Brett, Ross Township
Carol Hardeman, Hill District
Connie Cavara, Brookline
Judith-Olwyn Best, West Wilmerding/North Versailles
K Danowski
Myra Kazanjian, Bethel Park
Laura Horowitz, Squirrel Hill
Zelda Curtiss, Squirrel Hill
Sophia Carpenter, Mount Washington
Jess Gold, Bloomfield
Martin Rafanan, Hill District
Judy Ruszkowski, Highland Park
Kia Davis, Penn Hills
Velouise Bell, Swissvale
Sandy Ellifritz, Braddock Hills
Terrence Sklenar, North Braddock
Lois Powers, Braddock Hills
Lauren Beachom, North Braddock
Diane Hillen, Chalfant
Ann Biehl, North Braddock
Samantha Nickoson, Swissvale
Rebecca Ashkettle, Penn Hills
Rich Lenhart, Chalfant
Jerrod Morse, Penn Hills
Heather Groomes, Braddock Hills
Phillip Windell, Regent Square
Trista Yatsko-Shurr, Braddock Hills
Rebecca Scuffle, North Braddock
Caroline Mendis, Swissvale
Patricia Wolfson, Braddock Hills
Irene Surmik, Oakland
Claire Walker, Oakland (formerly 36 yrs in Wilkinsburg)
Joan Jacob, Wilkins Twp
Denise Hill, Wilkinburgh
Carol Richardson, Wilkins Township
Maggie Krell, Wilkinsburg
Amanda Strawder, Penn Hills
Sharon Reeher, Forest Hills
Jackie Smith, Park Place
Emily Elliott, Oakland
Elizabeth Morrissey, Swissvale
Chris Hermann, Churchill
Rhianna Davis, Squirrel Hill
Ethan Story, Greenfield
Daniel Griffith, Turtle Creek
Edith Abeyta, North Braddock
William Barman, Wilkins
Yvonne Colon, Turtle Creek
Victoria Vargo, North Braddock
Louis Berry, Rankin
Gary Web, Wilkins Twp
Ethan Barry, Forest Hills
Benjamin Congedo, Swissvale
LaShawn Means, East Pittsburgh
Edward Sneed, North Braddock
Bonnie Sneed, North Braddock
Samantha Gorsuch, Braddock Hills
Jane Spangler, Forest Hills
Andrew Adelson
Matt Bruington, Turtle Creek
Desiree Andrews, North Braddock
Robert Tower, North Braddock
Patti Amato, Churchill
Robert Valko, Braddock
Nicole Opieliwski, North Braddock
Lisa Gardner, Churchill
Dorothy Dudley, North Braddock
Gladys Festa, East McKeesport
Laura Kuster, Swissvale
Jay Crystal, Wilkins/Turtle Creek
Grace Polakoski, Wilkins Township
Gabe DeFelippis, Wilkinsburg
Bethany Trenk, Swissvale
Joyce Green, Forest Hills
Sharon Dornetto, Forest Hills
Ronnie Cook Zuhlke, Squirrel Hill
Terri Minor Spencer, Pittsburgh
Robert King, Squirrel Hill
Jon Webb, Squirrel Hill
Sandra Woolley, Squirrel Hill
Rev Richard Freeman, Mount Lebanon
Judy Thompson, Forest Hills
Robert Xollino, Wilkinsburg
John Ballance, Wexford
Carlyn Nehez, North Braddock
Patricia Murray, Mt Lebanon
Suzanne Broughton, McCandless
Jessica VanBuskirk, North Braddock 
Bill Westover, North Braddock
Robert Maddock, Observatory Hill
Gayle Smith, Churchill 
Susan Cohen, Point Breeze
Betty Arenth, Penn Hills
Lindsey Scherloum, North Braddock
Edward Chop, North Braddock
Cybil Federer, Penn Hills
Joseph Shaughnessy, Mount Lebanon
Megan Lindeman, South Park
Doris Steppe, Hopewell
Connie Hester, Shaler
Michael Hester, Formerly Braddock Hills
Robert Lee, South Hills
Melissa Alcorn-Ferry, New Kensington with family in friends in the area!
Christine DeCarolis, Penn Hills
Carol Ballance, Pine Twp
Lynn Richards, Seven Fields Borough
Marilyn Miles, McCandless
Mark LeSchack, Wilkinsburg
Monica Garcia, Wilkinsburg 
Cheryl Rampelt, Ohio Twp
Barbara Brock, Franklin Park
Dorothy Chester, Sewickley
Elizabeth Perkins, Squirrel Hill
Rachael Beam, Peters Township
Stephanie Dumaine, East Liberty
Edith Ruiz, Gibsonia
Tricia Dugan, Ohio Twp
Matthew Mehalik, Gibsonia (Forest Hills native)
Julia Kant, Marshall Township
Ella Scales, Swissvale
Lisa Franklin-Robinson, North Braddock
Gillian Graber, Trafford
Annie Deely, Squirrel Hill
Reesa Rosenthal, Swissvale 
Jennifer Silver, Wilkinsburg
Susan Wood, Ross Township
Alyssa Silver, Wilkinsburg
Susan Merenstein, Greenfield
Michele Clarke, Shadyside
Steven Lowry, Point Breeze
Marylyn Devlin, Monroeville
Deb Rohe, Downtown Pittsburgh
Carol Slomski, Upper St. Clair
Kara Rubio, Lawrenceville
Josh Lederer, Squirrel Hill
Nancy McGuire, Wilkinsburg
Erin Dunn, Wilmerding 
Joel Rosenthal, Swissvale
Madeline Myers, West Oakland
Talia Padawer, Dormont
Talor Musil, Observatory Hill
Zuleikha Erbeldinger-Bjork, Forest hills 
Heather Lyle, Swissvale
Allen Humphrey, Point Breeze
Rayden Sorock, Wilkinsburg
Janet Kallery, Wilkinsburg
Lindsay Cashman, Mt. Lebanon
Nancy Lindahl, Wilkinsburg
Beth Battaline, Edgewood
Jenny Johnson, Regents Square
Allan Willinger, Edgewood
Ali Hoefnagel, Swissvale
Carin Mincemoyer, Wilkinsburg
Ruby Western, Swissvale
Stephanie Beveridge, South Park
Catherine Burke, Park Place
Ginny Hildebrand, North Point Breeze
Krystina Benjamin, Wilkinsburg
Karen Lyons, Braddock Hills 
Emily Lippert, Wilkinsburg 
Sharon Yeager, Duquesne Heights
Denice Galpern, Point Breeze
Kim Tipton, Ohio Township
Rev. Stephanie Gannon, Highland Park
Norma Caquatto, Squirrel Hill
Lois Powers, Braddock Hills
Antonetta Avila, Brookline
Ashley Comans, Wilkinsburg 
Julie Caryl, Churchill 
Dontae Comans, Wilkinsburg
Joy Gibson, Wilkinsburg
Christina Hammond, Edgewood 
Patsy Austin, Wilkinsburg 
Ian Petrulli, Wilkinsburg
Ursula Brown, Wilkinsburg
Kathleen Holsinger, Wilkinsburg
Michael Jehn, Wilkinsburg
Kathy Chamberlain, Penn Hills
Megan McCombs, Wilkinsburg
Kelli Thompson, Wilkinsburg

1 Lead Testing Results from 2016 and 2019
2 PennVest Funding Announcement
3 The Invisible Crisis: Water Unaffordability in the United States (report)
4 How much help do low-income Pittsburghers get on their water bills? Depends on which utility does the helping. Public Source. (July 20, 2021)
5 Water and Sewer Affordability: An Insight into Water Equity in Allegheny County. Report by Amanda Zelnis, on behalf of the Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach. Available upon email request to ajz32@pitt.edu.
6 Ibid 5
7 Ibid 4
8 Trueman, Benjamin F., Eliman Camara, and Graham A. Gagnon. “Evaluating the effects of full and partial lead service line replacement on lead levels in drinking water.” Environmental science & technology 50.14 (2016): 7389-7396.

Deshommes, Elise, et al. “Short-and long-term lead release after partial lead service line replacements in a metropolitan water distribution system.” Environmental science & technology 51.17 (2017): 9507-9515.

 

Get the Lead Out, Pittsburgh
Our Water Campaign