Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Foaming Water in Pittsburgh's Strip District, Downtown

If they weren't distracted enough by the 3-alarm warehouse fire, some residents and business owners in the Strip District found soapy water coming from their taps. That lead to a water advisory for the Strip and Downtown, which remained in effect until around 5 AM.
The polluted water was first reported around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) believes it's connected with the firefighting efforts at 25th and Smallman Streets earlier in the day. PWSA opened fire hydrants along the Strip to track the contamination's progress and flush the water system. Later, the pollutants spread to downtown, and PWSA shut off the water main and opened more hydrants.
If you didn't know about the advisory and ate or cooked with your tap water, you're probably not in danger. Allegheny County Health Department spokesman Guillermo Cole says the substance was widely diluted once it entered the system, and the chance of illness is slight. None have been reported yet.
Bob Hutton of the PWSA says they're not sure just how the foam got into the water system. PWSA administrators, City of Pittsburgh officials, and Fire Department officials were to meet today to find out what happened.

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