Press Release
PWSA Update on Precautionary Flush and Boil Water Advisory for Northern Areas of Pittsburgh, the Borough of Millvale and Reserve Township

Pittsburgh, PA - The precautionary flush and boil water advisory for customers in the northern neighborhoods of the City, as well as the Borough of Millvale and Reserve Township remains in place. PWSA apologizes for the major inconvenience this precautionary action causes to impacted residents and businesses.  It is essential to ensure that all drinking water meets regulatory standards, and the health and safety of our drinking water remains a number one priority.


Timeline and Actions Taken

Last Friday, PWSA and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) performed a visual inspection of the Lanpher reservoir floating cover and discovered the presence of surface water and birds. PWSA deployed an expert consultant on Sunday August 27th to further assess the condition of the cover. Monday morning, August 28th, the consultant determined that the cover may be compromised, which has the potential for untreated water to enter the reservoir. The following actions have been taken since this condition was confirmed:  


  • At 2:30 pm on Monday August 28th, PWSA shared these findings with ACHD and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
  • At 4:30 pm, DEP issued a boil water order to PWSA until corrective action could be taken at Lanpher Reservoir. The order granted PWSA 24 hours to take action and issue the advisory to the public.
  • By 7:30 pm, PWSA removed Lanpher reservoir from service to eliminate the risk of potentially compromised water entering the drinking water system; determined the impacted service area; developed detailed communications materials; coordinated with emergency responders; and informed the public with accurate information and safety recommendations.


Next Steps

With the reservoir offline, PWSA must now provide evidence to DEP that the water in the Lanpher system meets or exceeds all drinking water standards. PWSA is in the process of conducting two consecutive rounds of water quality tests, at least 12 hours apart and on two separate days before the boil water order will be lifted by DEP. Samples take approximately 24 hours to analyze.


As of 11:00 pm last night, tests taken from the Lanpher service area on Monday and Tuesday have not detected the presence of any contaminants. If PWSA maintains acceptable levels of chlorine in the service area, and further sample results to be received late today do not detect the presence of contaminants, PWSA will request that DEP lift the boil water advisory. The final determination and timing to lift the order will be made by DEP.

The City is coordinating with PWSA to provide water to those in the impacted area that do not have the ability to purchase bottled water, or boil their water: Water Distribution Locations and Information.

The impacted areas are shown on the attached map (also available on an interactive searchable map here: PWSA Boil Water Area). PWSA estimates the precautionary flush and boil water advisory affects approximately 18,000 homes in the PWSA service area. Impacted areas include:


Borough of Millvale


Reserve Township


Allegheny Center

North Shore

Allegheny West

Northview Heights

Brighton Heights

Perry North


Perry South

Central Northside

Spring Garden


Spring Hill – City View

East Allegheny

Summer Hill


Troy Hill

Herr’s Island




Customers within the impacted area should continue flushing and boiling water before using water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice.


Residents who do not know if their property has lead water pipes or solder, it is recommended to first flush your lines by running water from your tap for at least one minute before boiling.


  1. Boil tap water vigorously for at least one minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets.
  2. Wait for the water to cool before using it, or store it in the refrigerator in a clean container. 


Benefits of Flushing and Boiling Water

Boiling kills harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness. You should throw away ice made during the time the advisory or notice was issued, as freezing does not kill bacteria.


Flushing water brings in fresh water from the main and boiling fresh water kills any bacteria and other organisms that can enter the water. You can also use bottled water. A frequently asked questions document for boiling water can be found on the homepage.


Impacted customers will be notified by PWSA via automated robocalls. Customers in this service area are being advised to flush their taps and then boil their fresh water to ensure that drinking water meets or exceeds all state and federal water quality requirements. The boil water advisory will remain in place until further notice. Customers with questions can go to our website homepage at or call Customer Service at 412.255.2423. Representatives will be available until 9:00 pm every day until the advisory is lifted.  


  • Published
  • Thursday, August 31, 2017

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