The Biden administration recently unveiled its $2 trillion infrastructure spending program. The bigger elements of the plan focus on roads, bridges, public transit, rail, airports and electric vehicles. Within the proposed plan, $111 billion relates to water infrastructure. Of this amount, $45 billion would go toward replacing 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. The Flint, Michigan, lead pipe debacle a few years ago certainly highlighted the problems we have with lead water pipes.
Some are saying this is taking a “moonshot approach” to replace the lead water pipes, because so many are privately owned. That work would require the consent and cooperation of the homeowner. The EPA has estimated there are between 6.5 million and 10 million lead service lines across the country. The average replacement cost is about $4,700 per line.
The usual discussion about how to address this lead pipe issue from a construction standpoint is to dig up the aging pipe and replace them with modern ones. As much as trenchless construction has taken hold, it continues to surprise me that trenchless is not discussed as a more likely approach.
In the meantime, of course, this infrastructure spending plan is facing huge political hurdles in Washington, D.C. The GOP feels too many elements of this infrastructure plan are not truly infrastructure related. There’s also a lot of debate about how all of this would be funded. So, per usual with politics in the United States: Stay tuned.
NASTT No-Dig Show — Orlando
As many of us in the trenchless industry were in Orlando for the 2021 show, we kept saying those who missed the event would be disappointed. Why? Because the attendance was at 1,300 — well in excess of anyone’s estimate of what it would be for the first in-person, trenchless tradeshow of the COVID-19 era. The usual banter at the show was that it was great to get out from under the COVID problem and meet with old friends.
The show went off without any glitches. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, events were cut back; likewise, were the awards ceremonies. All in all, everybody left Orlando quite pleased with the results and looking forward to next year’s show in Minneapolis.
Annual Directory of the North American Trenchless Technology Industry
Last year, we incorporated the standalone Directory into our May issue. We have done so again year and that is the plan going forward. A big added feature this year is the new online Directory that goes hand-in-hand with the print Directory. The print and the online directories are the most comprehensive source of where to go for contractor engineering, contractor and manufacturer services. It takes a lot of effort to assemble all of this. We trust that you find this resource useful to your businesses.
Here’s to a COVID-free construction summer,
Bernard P. Krzys, Publisher