Infrastructure Week 2016 Puts Spotlight on Value of Water

Infrastructure Week 2016 kicks off today and a national tour of innovators in the water sector will take part in various initiatives and activities throughout the week to highlight water awareness and its importance to infrastructure development.

There is no doubt that the infrastructure crises facing the country are vast, from roads and rails, to ports and pipes. In the water sector, the infrastructure crisis comes in the form of systems that are 100 years old — or older. There are water main breaks every two minutes across the country and severe stresses on systems, from flooding to drought, which make in increasingly difficult to maintain a safe, reliable water supply. But there are innovators advancing solutions to our nation’s water challenges.

One exciting initiative during Infrastructure Week is the Value of Water Coalition’s Value of Water Local Innovators Tour, which celebrates and spotlights innovative solutions to the nation’s water infrastructure crisis. Participating cities will tell the story about why water infrastructure matters to their communities and the nation.

Here is an overview of what some cities and communities across the country have planned.

Cleveland, Ohio
Monday May 16 – Friday, May 20

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District kicked off a week of activities with “Someone Forgot to Pay America’s Water Infrastructure Bill” presentation at the City Club of Cleveland on Wednesday May 11. The activities continue with an up close and personal sewer walk for media, a green infrastructure tour for elected officials, and a “Sewer U” seminar series for the general public.

Norfolk, Virginia
Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 20

Hampton Roads Sanitation District takes you on a virtual tour of a $156 million project to upgrade its Virginia Initiative Plant (VIP) in Norfolk, VA by enhancing its ability to remove nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from wastewater, increasing the hydraulic capacity so the plant can treat additional flows during storms, and replacing aging equipment to improve operations. See how this VIP project will protect public health, improve water quality, enhance reliable wastewater treatment and provide jobs for contractors and their suppliers.

Hampton Roads, Virginia
Monday, May 16 – 11am-Noon

The  Hampton Roads Sanitation District will host a groundbreaking ceremony for a new wastewater pump station, which will replace a facility that was first built in 1945. Speakers include the Honorable George Wallace, Mayor of the City of Hampton, and the Honorable Molly Joseph Ward, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources.

Camden, New Jersey
Tuesday, May 17 – 11am-Noon

American Water and the City of Camden will host a press event to announce a major milestone in a public-private partnership to improve water and wastewater services, and provide workforce training and skill development in the community. Speakers include The Honorable Dana L. Redd, Mayor of the City of Camden and Sharon Cameron, President of American Water Enterprises, and others.

Alexandria, Virginia
Tuesday, May 17 – 11:30am-2:30pm and Thursday May 19 – 10:30am-1:00pm

Behind-the-scenes tours for press and elected officials will demonstrate how Alexandria Renew Enterprises transforms 13 billion gallons of wastewater each year into reclaimed water, clean energy, and nutrient-rich soil amendment. The tour will also preview the new LEED Platinum Environmental Center and innovative nutrient management facility and adjacent athletic field, the only one of its kind in the country.

Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, May 21 – 9:00am-Noon

A day of open houses is scheduled at six of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s six water treatment plants across the Chicago region. The open houses offer an exclusive look at plant operations and stormwater management practices. MWRD is also giving away hundreds of free potted oak tree saplings to restore the region’s depleted canopy and help reduce flooding.

Members of the media interested who are interested in joining the Value of Water Local Innovators Tour at one or more stops should contact Abigail Gardner (

Visit the Value of Water Coalition website for daily updates on the great events, studies, news stories, social media engagement opportunities, and more that will be a part of Infrastructure Week 2016.

Infrastructure Week 2016 is led by a steering committee consisting of the AFL-CIO, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Building America’s Future, Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Value of Water Coalition.

Find out more about Infrastructure Week at Follow the conversation on Twitter, @InfraWeek and #InfrastructureMatters.

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