During the pandemic, dozens of residents in the city of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, saw their tap water shut off due to nonpayment. In addition, many in town say they try to avoid drinking this water because it looks and smells odd. The city needs help with its affordability crisis and its water quality, as do many cities in the United States. Their plight can attract deep-pocketed private companies like Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water Works, the nation’s largest investor-owned water firm. Private companies position themselves as a quick fix for small municipalities starved for manpower, expertise and funding to address water issues. But going private could push bills even higher for communities like Duquesne. "It's disaster capitalism," according to one advocate.