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Tube City Community Media Inc. has filed an official request under the state's Right-to-Know law seeking records related to the condition of fire hydrants in McKeesport's Grandview and Hall Park neighborhoods.
The request, dated June 22, was sent to the city's water provider, Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.
The Greensburg-based authority is a public entity but is managed by a private business, Resource Development & Management of Forest Hills, and serves 120,000 customers in five counties. It purchased McKeesport's water system in 1987.
A fire on June 16 on Cleveland Street in McKeesport destroyed one house, heavily damaged a neighboring house, and caused heat damage to four additional houses. Firefighters said that low water volume from nearby fire hydrants, which are supplied and maintained by the Westmoreland water authority, hampered their efforts to battle the blaze.
The authority on June 18 issued a three-line statement saying that it "has invested more than $3 million on our McKeesport system in the past 12 months to improve both water supply and quality. Further investments of $2.1 million are planned in the next 12 months. We are also examining distribution system upgrades that will improve service in this area and others."
Tube City's request seeks a breakdown of the $3 million in investments made over the past 12 months, as well as a breakdown of the $2.1 million of improvements planned in the next 12 months, along with a projected timeline for those improvements.
In addition, Tube City's request asks the Westmoreland authority to provide information on the condition and locations of fire hydrants in the Grandview and Hall Park sections of the city, including when those hydrants were last tested, and the results of those tests.
Tube City is also asking the authority to say if and when it has been alerted to problems with fire hydrants in McKeesport during the past five years, either by city officials or by residents, and what problems were described in those complaints.
The Westmoreland authority has five business days following the receipt of the letter to respond.
Originally published June 24, 2018.