U.S. EPA Survey Reveals Need for Drinking Water Infrastructure Investment

July 17, 2013

Laws & Regs

Click to see the report. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The results are in, and the findings are staggering. After examining the funding and operational needs of public drinking water systems across the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that $384 billion in improvements are needed for drinking water infrastructure through 2030, according to an EPA news release.

EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment determined that these improvements are needed for thousands of miles of pipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks, and water distribution systems to ensure continued delivery of safe drinking water to residents, the news release says.

Investment needs span 73,400 water systems nationwide. EPA identified that the primary needs are as follows:

  • $247.5 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating lines;
  • $72.5 billion to expand or rehabilitate infrastructure;
  • $39.5 billion to construct, rehabilitate, or cover finished water storage reservoirs; and
  • $20.5 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells, and spring collectors, the news release says.

The survey, required by the Safe Drinking Water Act to be submitted to the U.S. Congress every 4 years, was developed in consultation with all 50 states, as well as the Navajo Nation. After surveyed facilities completed an extensive questionnaire, EPA found that much of the nation’s infrastructure was reported to be 50 to 100 years old, the news release says.

“The nation’s water systems have entered a rehabilitation and replacement era in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe in the news release.

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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