The nation’s water and sewer systems are old and in dire need of repair and replacement. At a recent Senate hearing it was estimated that 25 percent of drinking water leaks out from pipes on its way to homes and offices, The Washington Post
For example, in the nation’s capital, the average water pipe is 77 years old and some date to the 1800s, the Post reported. The needed repairs are estimated to run to $335 billion for the water systems and $300 billion for sewers.
A study by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that $9.4 billion per year in additional funding is needed for water and sewer work between now and 2020. About 1.7 trillion gallons of water leaks unused from pipes each year and some 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage ends up in waterways, according to the Post.
“All the big cities have these problems, and to me it’s the unseen catastrophe,” George Hawkins, general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, told the Post. “My humble view is that the industry we’re in is the bedrock of civilization because it’s not just an infrastructure that is a convenience that allows you to get to work faster or slower. At least with bridges or a road, people have some idea of what it is because they drive on them and see them. ”
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