EPA: $473 billion needed for drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its sixth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment, and the results show that nearly $473 billion is needed over the next 20 years to improve drinking water infrastructure in the United States.

The agency is required under the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments to conduct an assessment of the nation’s public water systems’ infrastructure every four years. The newest Needs Survey, issued March 30, shows that $472.6 billion is needed.

The results of the new Drinking Water Needs Survey will form the basis for the state allocation formula for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

“These survey results show just how much investment is needed in drinking water infrastructure,” said Diane VanDe Hei, CEO of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, which represents large drinking water utilities in the United States.  “Most water infrastructure projects are funded by utility rate-payers, but programs like EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program and tax-exempt financing can help reduce costs and make investments go farther.”

EPA’s assessment shows that investments are primarily needed in four areas:

  • Distribution and transmission – $312.6 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating pipelines;
  • Treatment – $83 billion to construct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination;
  • Storage – $47.6 billion to construct, rehabilitate or cover water storage reservoirs; and,
  • Source – $21.8 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells and spring collectors.

Source: AMWA

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