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How We Ended Up With Lead Piping And Why Removing It Will Be Hard

Irina Zhorov


In Vogt True Value Hardware on the Southside of Pittsburgh the stock of plumbing pipes includes copper and plastic. The owner of the neighborhood store, Shawn Vogt, shook his head no when I asked if he carries any lead lines.  

“It’s no longer legal,” he said. “That’s like an old fashioned thing.”

The store hasn’t carried any lead pipes in decades, he said.  

“The [Environmental Protection Agency] monitors the city and they actually did a run through here probably within the past year checking all the hardware stores to make sure that there isn’t anything on the shelves. And we didn’t have any,” he said.  

With a chuckle, he added, “I think it’s pretty common sense that you don’t want lead in your drinking water.”

That wasn’t always so.

Read the full version of this report at Keystone Crossroads' websiteKeystone Crossroads is a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.

Irina Zhorov was WESA’s reporter for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide public media initiative focused on issues in older Pennsylvania communities.