|Senator Fontana attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Associated Master Plumbers of
Allegheny County’s new facility in the Sheraden neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh on August 15. He was joined at the
ceremony by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, City Councilwoman Teresa Kail-Smith,
and Kevin Acklin,
Mayor Bill Peduto’s Chief of Staff.
Legislation that Addresses Local Sewer Laterals and Lead in Homes
In April, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) to test 100 homes with known or suspected lead pipes. The result of the tests revealed that 17 percent of those tested exceeded the federal standard of 15 parts per billion. When more than 10 percent of samples are higher than the standard, it triggers corrective actions including creating a complete inventory of all lead service lines and developing a program to replace them at a rate of at least 7 percent each year. The PWSA will have to conduct another round of testing on this matter by the end of the year. Additionally, the DEP is requiring the PWSA develop a public education program on lead by September 1.
I have written about sewer laterals many times before with the most recent being the July 12 edition of my News & Views. What many water customers do not realize is that the PWSA is only responsible for the repairs on publicly-owned main sewer lines and pipes. A home’s private laterals that connect a property to the public lines are the homeowner’s financial responsibility.
As PWSA works to replace some of the authority-owned lead service lines, the authority hopes that homeowners will swap out their own lead lines at the same time. This could help ease the financial burden on the property owner since the PWSA will already have the street and sidewalks dug up. The homeowner’s expense would only come down to the pipeline and installation cost.
Last month, I wrote letters to Mayor Peduto, all of Pittsburgh City Council, and the board members at the PWSA reminding them and encouraging them to advocate for two pieces of legislation I have introduced on this matter.
Senate Bill 20 (SB 20), which I wrote about in the June 28 edition of my News & Views, is aimed at protecting potential homebuyers. When a house or residence that they are considering purchasing contains lead in the tap water or paint, this would need to be disclosed. As a realtor, I believe prospective homeowners should be aware of what they are buying and understand potential risks with the property. Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as Title X, to protect families from exposure to lead from paint, dust, and soil by requiring the disclosure of known information before the sale or lease of most housing built before 1978. However, this is not a part of the required contents under Pennsylvania law regarding property disclosure statements. SB 20 would simply add this into state statute. And in recent light of the PWSA tests, a potential homeowner should know if the house did or still does contain lead pipes.
This bill passed the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee unanimously on June 22 and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate.
On another note, my Senate Bill 289 (SB 289) could play a role with assisting private property owners in the future with these PWSA repairs. Senate Bill 289 would allow municipalities and municipal authorities to make public funds available to repair or replace broken laterals on private property when the leaks pose a threat to the public health or safety. It is important to highlight that my legislation does not force any municipality to participate and this is only an enabling bill. It would be up to each and every local water authority to decide if they want to designate public funding for such a cause and determine the guidelines for eligibility for such a program.
SB 289 has already been approved by the Senate and is now sitting in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Now is the time I am reaching out to my constituency and urging you to contact your Representative in the House to encourage the chamber to swiftly bring SB 289 up for consideration when we return to session in September. We are currently witnessing some of the effects the Pittsburgh region’s aging infrastructure can have on the health of ours and future generations. SB 20 and SB 289 are not magic cures, but can be beneficial resources for homeowners.
Did You Know…
Did you know that according the to the PA Department of Health, Pennsylvania ranks third in the nation for having the most housing units identified as having been built before 1950, when lead was more prevalent, and fourth in the nation for housing units identified as having been built before 1978?
12th Annual FontanaFest
I want to remind everyone that the 12th Annual FontanaFest is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Once again, parking will be free in the stadium’s West Lot, compliments of Forest City!
The annual community event is perfect for families and children, promoting healthy and active lifestyles by providing many fun activities and crafts. Children will have the chance to play on several inflatables, an obstacle course, and a climbing wall and visit with a face painter and balloon maker. All attendees also are provided with the opportunity to engage with several organizations from around the region, participating in crafts and games, while also receiving important information on available services and programs, nutrition, health care, jobs and jobs training.
I’m thrilled that once again this year, students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will join us to perform at 11:15 a.m.! Also new to FontanaFest this year is a Roving Puppet Stage from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and three puppet shows scheduled for 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. The Pittsburgh Firefighters are also participating in this year’s event for the first time to teach children and families about fire safety.
I’m very pleased the following organizations will be joining us this year: The Home Depot, Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen’s office; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Science Center; Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Homeless Children’s Education Fund; Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater; WQED-TV; Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; Calgon Carbon; Penn State Center Pittsburgh; Gateway Health Plan; Comcast; Duquesne Light; PA Parks and Forests Foundation; and Life’s Work of Western PA.
Stay tuned for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Friday, September 30 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure to bring your card with you.
I am also pleased that several organizations from around the region will be present to provide seniors with important information on available services and resources. Organizations scheduled to participate thus far include: AARP; Allegheny County Bar Association; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy; Office of the Consumer Advocate; Public Utility Commission and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office. I will continue to update you with additional information on this year’s Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic throughout the summer.
Gaming Revenue Increases in July
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced recently announced that gross revenue from table games play at Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos during July was up 8.5 percent over revenue generated during July 2015. Revenue generated from table games in July was more than $75 million compared to the just over $69 million generated in July 2015. Total tax revenue from table games in July was over $10.6 million.
The increase in table games revenue during July combined with July slots revenue resulted in an overall gaming revenue increase for the month of just under 3 percent.
Table games in Pennsylvania are taxed at 14 percent with the majority of that revenue directed into the state’s General Fund and the remaining funds directed to local governments. Slot machines are taxed at 55 percent in Pennsylvania and directed as follows: 34 percent for property tax reduction; 12 percent supporting the horse racing industry; five percent is placed in a state economic development fund; and two percent goes to local governments that host casinos.
The state’s gaming industry employs over 17,000 people and generates more than $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue from both table games and slot machines. For more information on gaming in Pennsylvania and to read reports from the Gaming Control Board, please visit www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.
Back To School Immunizations
The PA Department of Health is holding immunization clinics across the commonwealth through September 2 to provide vaccines at little or no cost for children through 18 years of age who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian or Alaska Native.
The cost is $5 per child for families above income guidelines. No child will be turned away because of an inability to pay.
The Allegheny County Health Department will be performing these immunizations here locally. They are located at 3441 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland neighborhood in the City of Pittsburgh. Immunizations are available from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 1 – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information please call 412-578-8062.
Faces Never Forgotten
The Pennsylvania Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA), in partnership with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), is still hoping to locate nearly 400 photos of Pennsylvanians who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War as part of the Wall of Faces program.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund wants to collect photos for each of the 58,307 men and women whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., so that they can keep the legacies of these service members alive for future generations. Since the photo campaign was launched in 2009, the VVMF has located photos for more than 41,000 of the names inscribed on the Memorial. Of the 3,148 service members from Pennsylvania whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial, nearly 400 photos are still needed.
For a complete listing of Pennsylvania service members whose photos are still needed please visit www.dmva.state.pa.us and click on the “Wall of Faces” tab. For information on how to submit a photo please visit http://www.vvmf.org/faces-never-forgotten.
Taste of Beechview
The 4th annual Taste of Beechview is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10 from 2 – 5 p.m. The festival will take place in the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s lot at Beechview and Broadway Avenues and along the sidewalks of the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Broadway. Attendees will have the chance to sample some of Beechview’s best restaurants and caterers reflecting the neighborhood’s rich diversity and culture. There also will be live music, prizes from local businesses, and the chance to take a photo with the two-dimensional re-creation of the historic Beechview trolley. Following the Taste of Beechview will be a happy hour from 5 – 7 p.m. featuring specials from The Alpine, BREW on Broadway, and Moose Lodge 609.
Beechview Junior Chess Club
All Beechview children between the ages of 8 – 16 are welcome to participate in the new Beechview Junior Chess Club. The new club meets weekly, every Tuesday from 4 – 5 p.m., at the Brew on Broadway, located at 1557 Broadway Avenue. The Beechview Junior Chess Club is being led by Pittsburgh Police Officer Tiffany Costa. Similar clubs have taken place in Hazelwood and Sheraden neighborhoods. Anyone with an interest in chess, no matter whether a beginner or advanced, is welcome to play.
For the first time since 1904 the Summer Olympic Games, which concluded on Sunday in Rio, had athletes from around the world compete in golf. The course used in Rio was designed by Gil Hanse, a golf course designer from Pennsylvania.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm