Pittsburgh Agency Admits Pumping Sludge into Allegheny River

November 20, 2020

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has admitted violating the Clean Water Act when workers illegally pumped sludge into the Allegheny River between 2010 and 2017.

The authority on Wednesday pleaded guilty to federal charges, including falsifying written reports to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Under terms of a plea agreement, the authority has agreed to pay $500,000 into a self-funded compliance program and must submit annual reports and face audits while on probation for three years, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.

The authority also is barred from raising rates to pay the fine.

“We are not allowing PWSA to pass on the cost of their failures to the city of Pittsburgh,” Brady said.

In a statement, the authority said the actions did not threaten the city’s water quality.

“Both compliance issues raised in the investigation have been rectified and had no impact on the quality or safety of the drinking water. The authority has altered the treatment plant to make these discharges to the river physically impossible.”

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