Nicknamed the “steel city” due to its steel mills in the 20th century Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is one the world’s fastest growing cities. The city’s recent developments, along with big name companies such as Google, and Amazon eyeing the city for prospective future offices, it is no wonder why people would want to move to Pittsburgh! But with all of the recent developments there is a major issue that could stop the fast migration to Pittsburgh—– water. Although it has been years since the smoke from the steel mills filled the Pittsburgh air, the city is still suffering from the aftermath.
Within recent years, The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority(PWSA) have issued multiple “boil water advisories”. Water advisories are given by the government or health authorities to alert consumers that their water is contaminated. In one of the more recent water advisories the PWSA, sent letters to residents in the area issuing a water advisory that explained that the tap water contained more that 22 parts per billion of lead! Anything over the level of 15 parts per billion is deemed unsafe. In the wake of the growing lead concerns in the city of Pittsburgh, the PWSA is seen by many as a “failed organization”. It was reported that the increasing lead levels were caused by the PWSA. In 2014, the PWSA addressed the growing amounts of cancer causing chemicals called trihalomethanes in the city’s water, but in order to get rid of the trihalomethanes the PWSA had to drop the chlorine levels in the city’s water. The dropped chlorine levels are said to have caused the increase of lead in the water.
Water pollution is a hot topic these days, especially with the highly publicized case of Flint, Michigan, who after four years is still in need of clean water. More Americans are now more cautious when it comes to drinking water.
In a recent Gallup poll 75% of Americans who earn less than $30,000 a year are concerned about their drinking water. Studies show that low income, minority communities tend to have a higher level of lead in their water. As a result of that, one could ask is clean water only for the wealthy, or is this a case of environmental racism?