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USEPA Drinking Water Infrastructure Survey: $384 Billion Needed by 2030

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has released the results of a drinking water infrastructure survey that indicates $384 billion in improvements are needed by 2030 in order to continue providing safe drinking water to 297 million Americans. The USEPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment identified thousands of miles of transmission pipelines, treatment plants, storage tanks, and water distribution systems that need to be updated. The $384 billion investment includes the needs of 73,400 water systems across the country.

The survey is required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to be submitted to Congress every four years by the USEPA. The study evaluated the funding and operational needs of more than 3,000 public drinking water systems across the United States, including those in Tribal communities, through an extensive questionnaire. In many cases, drinking water infrastructure was reported to be 50-100 years old.

The assessment shows that improvements are primarily needed in these drinking water areas:

USEPA Source: $20.5 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells, and spring collectors.

Treatment: $72.5 billion to construct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination.

Storage: $39.5 billion to construct, rehabilitate or cover finished water storage reservoirs.

Distribution & Transmission: $247.5 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating pipelines.

The USEPA findings echo the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) recent assessment that the country's drinking water infrastructure deserves a "D" grade. Overall, the ASCE gave the nation's infrastructure a "D+," and indicated a cumulative investment of $3.6 trillion in 16 types of infrastructure is necessary by the year 2020, in order for the U.S. to earn a passing grade. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates it could cost more than $1 trillion to update the nation's drinking water infrastructure over the coming decades.

 

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