EPA: Wastewater infrastructure needs total $271 billion
Survey identifies wastewater infrastructure, stormwater projects nationwide over next five years
With the double shot of a years-long drought followed by El Niño bringing storm runoff and flooding, state and local authorities are finding it ever more difficult to confront their water problems. Whether it’s ensuring citizens have clean water to drink or managing a sudden and extreme excess of stormwater, governments need to be able to rely on their infrastructure to manage the problems.
And they increasingly cannot do so. According to a survey released last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wastewater infrastructure project needs over the next five years amount to $271 billion. The survey represents estimated capital costs to meet water quality goals of the Clean Water Act. It addresses water quality and public health concerns related to water quality. The kinds of infrastructure included in the survey are the pipes that carry wastewater to treatment plants, the technology that treats the water and facilities for managing stormwater runoff.
EPA officials note that parts of the country have made tremendous strides in the modernization of treatment plants and the upgrade and replacement of water pipes. Between 1972 and 2012, the U.S. population receiving advanced water treatment increased from 7.8 million to 127 million, and the number of people receiving less-than-secondary treatment decreased from almost 60 million to 4.1 million. Still, the EPA notes that wastewater infrastructure needs are steadily growing.
“The only way to have clean and reliable water is to have infrastructure that is up to the task,” said Joel Beauvais (pictured), acting deputy assistant administrator for water for the EPA. “Our nation has made tremendous progress in modernizing our treatment plants and pipes in recent decades, but this survey tells us that a great deal of work remains.”
Some of the projects that make up the $271 billion in needs for wastewater-related projects include:
- Biological processes necessary to meet secondary treatment standards – $52.4 billion;
- Upgrades to provide treatment even more stringent than secondary treatment – $49.6 billion;
- Construction of new sewer collection systems, interceptor sewers and pumping stations – $44.5 billion;
- Planning and implementing stormwater management programs – $19.2 billion;
- Upgrades and repairs to conveyance systems – $51.2 billion;
- Recycled water distribution – $6.1 billion; and
- Combined sewer overflow correction – $48 billion.
As the country’s population continues to grow, demand for clean and reliable water sources will grow exponentially. And that will provide countless opportunities for those interested in working with government. If that’s you and your company, SPI’s government affairs experts and government contracting research team can help.