A much-needed $685 billion investment in the nation’s infrastructure must be managed wisely so that communities “struggling to provide safe and reliable basic water services” can turn things around, according to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in her remarks made at the American Water Summit on December 7th. Last week, the EPA released its Drinking Water Action Plan that makes a case for “addressing water needs, but urged the conference of business leaders to explain the financial opportunity in such investments,” according to a Politico Pro report. From McCarthy’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“We’ve known for years that our nation’s investments in water infrastructure aren’t keeping up.… Read More
When water lines break, it creates not just headaches for municipal officials, homeowners, and businesses, headline writers spit out punchy headlines and news photographers grab eye-catching shots. A recent pipe burst in a Los Angeles neighborhood got the headline “pipe rupture sends water gushing.” Another article on the city’s overall infrastructure problems is accompanied by dramatic photos of geyers and massive amounts of water being broomed away from a building.
What’s missing in that drama, though, is the actual durability of these iron pipes. An article from the Los Angeles Times detailing the metropolis’ $1 billion infrastructure problem notes that “[a]bout one-fifth of the city’s water pipes were installed before 1931 and nearly all will reach the end of their useful lives in the next 15 years.” Thousands of miles of pipes were also laid just after World War II in the post-war construction boom as the city began its tremendous years of growth.… Read More
When the results of tests for lead in the water at more than 1,500 New York City school buildings were announced in July, officials said that fewer than 1 percent of all the samples taken showed lead concentrations that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Given other safety measures in place, officials assured parents, the water was safe to drink.
But a review of how the testing was conducted suggests that the amount of lead in the water that students consume could be greater than the results indicate.
According to the city, every water outlet in each school was turned on fully for two hours the night before the samples were taken – a practice known as pre-stagnation flushing that cleans most soluble lead and lead particles from pipes and thus reduces lead levels temporarily.… Read More
A new U.S. Geological Survey assessment of more than 20,000 wells nationwide shows that untreated groundwater in 25 states – including New Jersey – had a potentially high risk of lead contamination.
The states with the largest percentage of wells with a high prevalence of being potentially corrosive are located primarily in the Northeast, the Southeast and the Northwest, according to a release from the USGS.
Two indicators of potential corrosivity were combined to determine that corrosive groundwater occurs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Corrosive groundwater, if untreated, can dissolve lead and other metals from pipes and plumbing fixtures, according to the release.… Read More
The debacle in Flint, Michigan was a betrayal of the public trust at every level of government. The horror of people drinking poisoned water is a microcosm of the sad deterioration of one of America’s greatest accomplishments: the creation of infrastructure to provide virtually universal access to clean water and wastewater treatment.
Across America, water and sewer plants, pipes, and valves are reaching or beyond the end of their useful lives. By failing to invest in maintaining the city’s drinking water infrastructure, Flint officials acted no differently than those in thousands of other communities — high- and low-income — who are neglecting the promise of government that all residents have the right to clean water.… Read More