Press Release
Highland I Reservoir Security Improvements
A series of projects to maintain the uncovered Highland I Reservoir and improve water quality
A photo of the uncovered Highland I Reservoir in Highland Park
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is working to return the Highland I Reservoir to service by completing a series of projects to improve water quality and security of the reservoir.
The Highland I Reservoir is a historic landmark in Highland Park. To maintain the open reservoir as a public amenity, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is constructing several projects to meet stricter state water quality regulations and security requirements. 
These projects include heightened security measures around the reservoir and the addition of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection at the Membrane Filtration Plant (MFP) on Reservoir Drive. The UV disinfection provides an additional layer of treatment before water from the Highland I Reservoir is distributed to homes. The installation of the UV disinfection is currently taking place within the MFP and has not impacted the public. This project will be completed by the end of August.
We are also making needed improvements to secure the reservoir. Those currently underway include: 
  • Installation of security cameras to provide a 360-degree view of the reservoir and surrounding area
  • Installation of bollards to restrict private vehicle access to the open reservoir and surrounding walkway
  • Renovating the former chlorination building into the new security monitoring facility and guard station
Restoring the parapet wall
Restoration of the parapet wall around the Highland I Reservoir is also part of the security enhancements. The improvements to the wall will secure its perimeter, prevent most wildlife from wading into this source of drinking water, and will enhance its overall appearance. The restoration work will begin later this month after completing minor repairs to the liner of the reservoir. While the liner repairs are being made, customers will not experience any disruption in water service because the reservoir is not currently in service. 
Restoration of the parapet wall will continue through the spring of 2020. Of all the Highland I security improvements, this project will have the most public impact. During construction, the public will not have access to the walkway around the reservoir. We are closing it to expedite the work and to maintain public safety while construction is taking place. 
Returning the Highland I Reservoir to service
The Highland I Reservoir was taken out of service in early 2017 due to state required changes to our operating permit. Installation of UV disinfection and the security measures taking place around the perimeter of the reservoir will meet the water quality standards required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and will provide the security that is needed to maintain the open reservoir. 
The UV disinfection, the new security monitoring facility, and installation of the bollards and security cameras will be complete by the end of August meeting the DEP’s directive to bring the reservoir back into service this summer. The Highland I Reservoir provides drinking water to customers living in Pittsburgh’s eastern neighborhoods, the Hill District and parts of Oakland. This accounts for more than half of our drinking water customers.
“We recognize that the Highland I Reservoir is a community asset and a popular destination within the park, but it is also an important part of our water infrastructure,” stated Robert Weimar, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. “We worked with our regulators, city officials, and community partners to find a solution to maintain its status as the last uncovered reservoir while also making needed improvements to secure our drinking water.” 
The Highland I Reservoir Security Improvements received approval from the Art Commission of Pittsburgh and took place in coordination with Councilmember Deborah Gross, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the Highland Park Community Council, and the Highland Park Community Development Corporation. For more information, please visit
  • Published
  • Friday, August 9, 2019

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