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Poisoned water in Pittsburgh

Veolia – one of the largest water corporations in the world – was supposed to manage Pittsburgh’s water system to deliver safe drinking water and save the city money.

But that’s not what they got. Today, tens of thousands of Pittsburgh residents are at risk from high levels of lead in their water -- and people around the city are calling for action.

Under Veolia’s management, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority changed how it treated the city’s water.

Before making such a major switch, the Veolia-run PWSA was required to get approval from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. But the Veolia managers failed to make sure that happened. The corporation cut corners and implemented cost-cutting measures to “save” money--half of which went straight into corporate coffers.

After the switch, Pittsburgh’s lead levels exceeded federal limits for the first time on record.

Holding Veolia accountable 

You can be sure that the people in Pittsburgh and across Pennsylvania are demanding accountability from the corporation.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is suing Veolia. The Pittsburgh city council unanimously called for Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro to investigate Veolia’s contract with the water authority.

And Corporate Accountability International is supporting and amplifying the work of the Our Water Campaign coalition in Pittsburgh. Residents from across the city are making their voices heard and coming together to demand public control of their water.

On Tuesday, April 11, they'll be hosting "Not Another Flint" -- a community gathering featuring Nayyirah Shariff, Flint water activist and Director of Flint Rising. I'll also be speaking about the consequences of corporations taking over our water systems and the variety of tactics the private water industry employs in cities.

If you live in Pittsburgh, I hope you’ll attend and get involved. You can reach us at, or come say “hi” to me at the event. And if you live elsewhere but know Pittsburgh folks who might want to get involved, please send them this post!

Alissa Weinman is an organizer on the campaign to Challenge Corporate Control of Water.

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