EPA Survey: $384 Billion Needed for Drinking Water Infrastructure by 2030

 

The U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA) recently released results of a survey showing that $384 billionin improvements are needed for the nation’s drinking water infrastructurethrough 2030 for systems to continue providing safe drinking water to 297million Americans.

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EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessmentidentifies investments needed over the next 20 years for thousands of miles ofpipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks and water distributionsystems, which are all vital to public health and the economy. The nationaltotal of $384 billion includes the needs of 73,400 water systems across thecountry, as well as American Indian and Alaska Native Village water systems.

“A safe and adequate supply of drinking water in our homes, schools andbusinesses is essential to the health and prosperity of every American,” saidEPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “The survey EPA released today showsthat the nation’s water systems have entered a rehabilitation and replacementera in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached or is approachingthe end of its useful life. This is a major issue that must be addressed sothat American families continue to have the access they need to clean andhealthy water sources.”

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The survey, required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to be submitted toCongress every four years by EPA, was developed in consultation with all 50states and the Navajo Nation. The survey looked at the funding and operationalneeds of more than 3,000 public drinking water systems across the UnitedStates, including those in Tribal communities, through an extensivequestionnaire. In many cases, drinking water infrastructure was reported to be50 to 100 years old.

The assessment shows that improvements are primarily needed in:

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· Distribution and transmission: $247.5billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating lines.

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· Treatment: $72.5 billion toconstruct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination.

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· Storage: $39.5 billion to construct,rehabilitate or cover finished water storage reservoirs.

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· Source: $20.5 billion to construct orrehabilitate intake structures, wells and spring collectors.

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The EPA allocates Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants to states based onthe finding of the assessment. These funds help states to provide low-cost financingto public water systems for infrastructure improvements necessary to protectpublic health and comply with drinking water regulations.

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Since its inception in 1997, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund hasprovided close to $15 billion in grants to all 50 states and Puerto Rico toimprove drinking water treatment, transmission and distribution. The DrinkingWater State Revolving Fund program has also provided more than $5.5 billion toprotect drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

The EPA is committed to utilizing the tools provided under the Safe DrinkingWater Act to assist states and to better target resources and technicalassistance toward managing the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. Inaddition to Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants, the EPA awarded nearly$15 million in funding in 2012 to provide training and technical assistance tosmall drinking and wastewater systems – those serving fewer than 10,000 people– and to private well owners to improve small system operations and managementpractices and to promote sustainability. The EPA also works with states,municipalities and water utilities to strengthen the resiliency of drinkingwater systems against the potential impacts of severe weather events andclimate change.

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For more information, visit: https://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/dwsrf/index.cfm

 

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