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Event Details

Controlling Lead in Drinking Water with Orthophosphate: Are There Impacts on Urban Stream Health?

  • 20 Nov 2019
  • 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Roland's Seafood Grill


Cancellations must be made one week prior to the event by e-mail to the event organizer. No-shows will be billed.
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Controlling Lead in Drinking Water with Orthophosphate: Are There Impacts on Urban Stream Health?

Dr. Sarah Haig and Ronald Bargiel

Wednesday, November 20th

The City of Pittsburgh recently started adding corrosion inhibitors (e.g., orthophosphate -PO43−) to the drinking water to combat lead sourced from historic lead service lines. However, the rate of addition is 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than current levels of reactive phosphorus (P) that normally occurs in drinking water and urban streams. This substantial change in P concentration, alongside the fact that Pittsburgh’s drinking water pipe network loses approximately 15 million gallons/day due to leaks, suggests that water with elevated concentrations of P may have the potential to infiltrate into groundwater and could ultimately impact the health of urban streams. This presentation will discuss how PO43− corrosion control works and explain the approaches being used to answer fundamental ecological questions relating to how leaking drinking water infrastructure can impact the health of aquatic ecosystems in hydrologically connected urban streams.

Dr. Sarah Haig is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Dr. Haig’s research combines environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and public health to improve water quality with a focus on drinking water systems.

Mr. Ronald Bargiel is currently the Chief of Water Quality at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, and retired from PA American Water Quality and Compliance Department with 30 years of service.

Wednesday, November 20th at 5:00 PM

Roland’s Seafood Grill

1904 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Cost: Members $20; Non-members $30; Students & Government Engineers $10

  • 1.0            PDH Certificate Upon Attendance

Register at or email Ben Briston (

Learn more about Dr. Haig’s research:   

Twitter: @SarahJaneHaig


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