News21’s investigative report that around 63 million Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water is making headlines in the USA’s major online news agencies.
The report examined the Environmental Protection Agency violations on water quality and monitoring affecting places from California to New York City
The USA Today reports:
The findings highlight how six decades of industrial dumping, farming pollution, and water plant and distribution pipe deterioration have taken a toll on local water systems.
Those found to have problems cleaning their water typically took more than two years to fix these issues, with some only recently resolving decades-old violations of EPA standards and others still delivering tainted water, according to data from the agency’s Safe Drinking Water Information System.
Many local water treatment plants, especially those in small, poor and minority communities, can’t afford the equipment necessary to filter out contaminants. Those can include arsenic found naturally in rock, chemicals from factories and nitrates and fecal matter from farming. In addition, much of the country’s aging distribution pipes delivering the water to millions of people are susceptible to lead contamination, leaks, breaks and bacterial growth.
Adding to the woes of the EPA and water treatment industry is the present end-of-life condition of pipes and treatment plants that were constructed in the mid-20th century or earlier.
The USA Today quoted the comment of Jeffrey Griffiths, a former member of the Drinking Water Committee of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board: “We’re in this really stupid situation where, because of neglect of the infrastructure, we’re spending our scarce resources on putting our fingers in the dike, if you will, taking care of these emergencies, but we’ re not doing anything to think about the future in terms of what we should be doing.”
If you’re the town or city’s infrastructure asset management practitioner and this challenge is confronting you, how do you tackle this critical situation?
Please take time to review the resources here on Inframanage.com, which may assist you with your thinking and decision making.