More Pittsburghers eligible for loans to replace lead water lines
April 14, 2017 12:37 AM
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
By Adam Smeltz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
More Pittsburghers will be eligible for a low-interest loan program to help replace water service lines that contain lead.
Voting without dissent, the Urban Redevelopment Authority board agreed Thursday to expand the program’s income guidelines. The change means households with up to 150 percent of the area median income will fall within the eligibility standards.
That’s up from 120 percent under plans approved by the URA board last month. Under the 150 percent threshold, a family of four with up to $106,800 in annual income will qualify. For a household of one, the cap is $74,800.
“This is an initial investment,” URA board Chairman Kevin Acklin said. The authority has set aside $500,000 for the loans, which carry a 3 percent interest rate. The allocation could grow depending on resident demand.
Service lines act as a connection between a public water main and a building’s own plumbing. PWSA owns and is responsible for the public portion, which intersects with the main, while a private segment completes the service line connection into the building. Replacing that private portion, under state law, is up to the homeowner and often runs about $2,000 to $3,000, according to PWSA.
Still, the figure could reach as high as $10,000 for some property owners, officials have warned. The URA may waive the loan eligibility guidelines under extenuating circumstances, according to the authority. It wasn’t immediately clear Thursday how many homeowners would qualify.
Also Thursday, the URA board approved final plans for a 136-unit residential complex to be built at the corner of Penn Avenue and Eighth Street, Downtown. The board also approved engaging Asakura Robinson Co. of Austin, Texas, to help develop a community plan for Homewood. The agreement, which will help guide future neighborhood design and planning, shouldn’t exceed $150,000.
Adam Smeltz: 412-263-2625, firstname.lastname@example.org, @asmeltz.
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