Only 1 plumber currently employed by City of Pittsburgh

Only one person works as a plumber for the city of Pittsburgh.

A spokesman for the building department called this a “very unfortunate hiring situation” and stated that “the building department has been working for years to fill and retain plumbing positions.”

The problem came to light after a Mount Washington resident complained that many fountains in city parks were still turned off.

Vivian Kowalski contacted Channel 11 after initially filing reports with 311 and contacting City Councilman Bob Charland.

Weeks passed and she still couldn't use the fountains on her routine walks through Grandview Park.

“They added the parking tax and I don't know if that covers everything, but you know, I mean, we pay taxes and we should have water to drink,” she said.

On Wednesday morning, Kowalski observed a DPW employee turn on the water at one location in the park. Another location remained turned off. Channel 11 visited several parks in the city on Wednesday and some fountains were on, others were not.

Apparently only one man can accomplish this task.

“He's alone and gets called out for clogged toilets in the parks and things like that, so he's busy,” she said. “We have to hire plumbers for the city.”

The city spokesperson told Channel 11 that the positions were advertised because they were actively looking for plumbers.

“In addition, we are actively working on developing an internal training program to train and promote employees internally for the plumbing position, as well as a training program with Pittsburgh Public Schools.”

The city has more than 200 fountains in city parks, and with only one plumber, there were delays in getting them started. The Public Works Department is also tasked with turning on all of the city's water features, pools and food stands.

The spokesman said that “many” of the fountains had been turned on since Wednesday and the rest should be turned on “soon”.

Efforts to reach City Councilor Charland were unsuccessful on Wednesday.

However, Channel 11 was able to reach City Councilman Bobby Wilson, who provided us with the following statement:

“The city currently has a plumber whose job is not only to fill the city pools, turn on the water playgrounds, water features, fountains and restrooms, but also to fix any problems that arise in city facilities such as recreation centers. One person cannot and should not be solely responsible for all of the city's plumbing. We, the City Council, the Mayor's administration and the DPW, are all working hard to figure out how we can get these facilities back up and running for this summer and prevent this from happening in the future.”

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