The additional attention from the lead crisis had set off a more general sense of crisis at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
PWSA couldn’t keep its executive directors. Bob Weimar had just taken over as interim executive director, the fourth leader in just over a year. The billing problems weren’t getting resolved. And some of the long-standing issues the authority faced, including its need for improved infrastructure, were finally coming to the fore.
In the same month that three board members resigned in 2017, Mayor Bill Peduto hired an outside consultant to analyze how the authority should be reformed and appointed a Blue Ribbon panel to choose the consultant and add to their recommendations. The panel was made up of water experts, nonprofit leaders, former board members, city employees and community advocates.
These multipronged crises were both a threat and an opportunity for environmental activists in the city.