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EPA: Billions Must Be Spent to Maintain and Upgrade Nation’s Water Systems

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In January, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released a survey showing the nation needs to spend $271 billion to maintain and improve the country’s water systems.

The survey, according to the EPA, estimates the capital investment necessary for publicly owned treatment works (POTW) to address the water quality objectives of the Clean Water Act (CWA). This work ensures POTWs meet minimum CWA standards.

Among the items listed in the survey that need to be maintained, upgraded or replaced include:

  • Secondary wastewater treatment: $52.4 billion to meet secondary treatment standards. Secondary treatment uses biological processes to meet the minimum level of treatment required by law.
  • Conveyance system repair: $51.2 billion to rehabilitate and repair conveyance systems.
  • Advanced wastewater treatment: $49.6 billion to provide upgrades so treatment plants can attain a level of treatment more protective than secondary treatment. Advanced treatment may also treat nonconventional or toxic pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, ammonia or metals.
  • Combined sewer overflow correction: $48 billion to prevent periodic discharges of mixed stormwater and untreated wastewater during wet-weather events.
  • New conveyance systems: $44.5 billion to install new sewer collection systems, interceptor sewers and pumping stations.
  • Stormwater management programs: $19.2 billion to plan and implement structural and nonstructural measures to control polluted runoff from storm events.
  • Recycled water distribution: $6.1 billion for conveyance and further treatment of wastewater for reuse.

The EPA survey only looked ahead five years when coming up with the $271 billion figure. Projects expected to take place farther out in the future do not count toward the total.

Through a tool on their website, the EPA identifies a total of nearly $14.6 billion worth of projects in Ohio. Locally, the numbers breakdown as follows:

  • Lucas County: $298.5 million
  • Defiance County $65 million
  • Wood County: $55 million
  • Henry County: $31 million
  • Ottawa County: $30 million
  • Fulton County: $26 million
  • Williams County $14 million

The Northwest Ohio Piping Industry is committed to ensuring our members are prepared and, if called upon, will produce the highest quality of work on these projects in order to protect and improve the water quality for all Northwest Ohioans.