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Peoples Unveils Proposal for World-Class Water Partnership

July 3rd, 2018

Fellow Pittsburghers,

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Morgan O’Brien. Like my fellow Peoples employees, I am a proud Pittsburgher – born and raised. As many of us say, we bleed black and gold. Every day, from our offices at Peoples Natural Gas, we are able to see our city’s beautiful skyline, bridges and rivers. We live here; our families live here; our colleagues and our friends live here. We want this region – our home – to thrive.

Today, we proudly announce a partnership plan to bring together municipalities in Allegheny County, including the City of Pittsburgh, trade unions, social services providers, businesses, universities and civic leaders to make the lives of the people who live in our region – your lives – better by addressing important social and infrastructure issues that impact us all.

At the heart of this proposed partnership is the construction of a world-class water system. A new entity, Peoples Water, has been created to establish a partnership with local, city and county officials to build the safest, cleanest and most modern drinking water system in the country. This new system will provide drinking water of the highest standard to the residents of the City of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.

This partnership is not just about water; it’s about the people of our region.

Our region has a bright future built upon the shoulders of the generations of Pittsburghers who came before us. The many business leaders and entrepreneurs who are drawn to our “city of the future” attest to the opportunities that are within reach. But there are some communities that have been left behind and significant challenges that we need to overcome. This partnership will tackle these systemic issues head-on and revolutionize our region.


By building a partnership that will protect our water, land and air. We are proposing to build a new water treatment facility that will aspire to be the greenest in the world and will be powered entirely by renewable energy. And, it will include a historic expansion of a park along the Allegheny River and provide us with more trails and greenspaces.

By ensuring all our neighbors have their basic human needs met – not just utility needs, but food, shelter and medical assistance. Offering payment programs customized for families struggling to pay their water, gas and electricity bills. But not stopping there. Addressing the needs of the whole family and connecting them with the network of strong social services providers of this region.

By building new infrastructure made by Pittsburghers and training the next generation of skilled laborers. Using our local talent and expertise from our building trades to build the water treatment facility and at the same time mentoring our youth.

By keeping water rates affordable. We will provide the highest-quality water at the lowest cost, ensuring that everyone in Pittsburgh has access to safe, affordable water.

Some of the goals of this partnership are:

  • Jobs and Equity.  We will create hundreds of new, family-sustaining jobs to construct and operate the water filtration system. Local skilled laborers from our building trades will fill these jobs. Partnerships with local organizations will include youth training and mentoring with specific commitments of including the African-American community. Peoples Water will have a goal of making one in three new hires from the African-American Community.
  • Affordability and Customer Assistance.   We will produce the lowest-cost water and freeze rates for three years.  A “holistic” approach to helping those in need will be applied. It will go beyond offering programs for water, gas and electricity, and include assistance with food, shelter and medical assistance.
  • New Infrastructure.  We will invest more than $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades in the Pittsburgh region. By replacing the old water lines and gas lines together with new infrastructure, we can offer significant cost savings to the region and reduce the impact on the everyday lives of Pittsburgh’s residents and workers.
  • A “Green” Facility Powered By 100% Renewable Energy. We will build a new water treatment facility that will aspire to be among the greenest in the world and will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, through a combination of solar and hydroelectric power.
  • Parks and Green Infrastructure.  We will build a new Allegheny riverfront park space and green infrastructure to address stormwater mitigation. We will restore our streets with the latest green design and technology to address our region’s stormwater and flooding issues. 
  • Public-Private Partnership.  We will help relieve the public of the burdens caused by decades of past disinvestment. Public property not needed under the partnership can be repurposed into new greenspaces, ponds, affordable housing, and community and economic development projects.

Partnerships like this are a Pittsburgh tradition. They are how we have overcome tough times in our past. We have the opportunity to partner together to embrace new solutions and use this plan to build a sustainable path forward.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing the details of this partnership plan at neighborhood meetings across the Pittsburgh region. I invite you to join us to learn more. You can sign up for updates and learn more about upcoming meetings in your community.

Our partnership plan is not just about building a world-class water system for our region; it’s about our people, and about building the strongest future we can for all of us.



Morgan O’Brien


President & CEO, Peoples Natural Gas

  • Play Icon Play Video
    Peoples CEO Morgan O'Brien
  • Through this proposed partnership, we will deliver safe, clean drinking water to all customers.
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    We will construct a world-class water treatment facility, powered entirely by renewable energy.
  • Our proposed plan will create thousands of jobs, and we commit to hiring and training a local workforce.