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The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Blog

EPA Survey Highlights the Need for an Additional $271 Billion in Wastewater Infrastructure

January 17th, 2016 · No Comments · Waste, Water

A US EPA survey released this week highlights the need for an estimated $271 billion to maintain and improve wastewater infrastructure nationwide. Wastewater infrastructure includes pipes that carry water to treatment plants, water treatment technology and funds for other types of stormwater runoff management. The release of this survey was the result of a collaborative effort between the EPA and US states and territories. Projects included in the survey were required to include a description and the location of their water-quality related public health issue, as well as detailing a specific solution with projections for the estimated cost of the project.
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Wastewater infrastructure plays an important role in maintaining the health of streams, rivers and other waterways. A current focus of many projects is to ensure that this infrastructure will be resilient to the impacts of climate change. Many areas are projected to have stronger and more frequent storms and flooding in the coming decades.

The EPA launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance center in early 2015 in order to work with communities at the local and state level to identify strategies for financing stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water infrastructure. Fortunately, the EPA offers financial assistance to address the needs detailed in this survey through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund which has allocated more than $111 billion in low interest loans since 1987 to these types of projects– including $5.8 billion in fiscal year 2015.

Of the $271 billion in needed funds highlighted by this survey, most projects require funding within the next five years. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the needs assessment:

  • $52.4 billion is needed for secondary wastewater treatment, which uses biological processes to meet minimum levels required by law
  • $49.6 billion is required for advanced wastewater treatment to attain a level of treatment more proetective than secondary treatment. Advanced treatment removes pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorious, ammonia, and metals.
  • $44.5 billion is needed to install new conveyance system, sewer collection, interceptor sewers, and pumping stations.
  • $48 billion is required for combined sewer overflow correction in order to prevent periodic discharges of mixed stormwater and untreated wastewater during heavy storms.
  • An additional $19.2 billion is needed to plan or implement measures to control polluted runoff from storm events.

Follow this link to the EPA for more details.

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