Monday, February 15, 2010

Hearing Scheduled for "Opt-out" Waterline Insurance

Pittsburgh City Council resolved Thursday to host a special meeting for residents to speak on the “opt-out” waterline insurance instated by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The insurance charges customers $5 per month in exchange for covering possible problems with many water and sewer pipes running from the street to structures. Those pipes are the responsibility of the landowner.

The PWSA used to offer an “opt-in” version of the insurance, but changed their policy to opt-out because few property owners took them up on the offer. The insurance now covers water pipes 2 inches or less wide, and sewer pipes 8 inches or less in diameter.

The problem is that many residents whose pipes don’t fit these measurements are still being charged.

Councilman and water authority Board Member Patrick Dowd says since governmental entities can legally use opt-out programs, there’s not much Council can do to change this policy.

Dowd says he’d like to work with the water authority to allow more pipe sizes to be covered. He says for people who have this insurance, it would cost less than $2000 for 30 years.

“In fact, $2000 is a bonus, a bargain relative to the woman that I talked to in the East Liberty portion of our district who had to pay $15,000 to have her sewer line repaired,” says Dowd.

He says anyone who wants to drop the coverage can contact the PWSA to get a full refund before June.

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