EPA: U.S. Needs $202.5 Billion for Clean Water Infrastructure

A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates $202.5 billion is the nationwide capital investment needed to control wastewater pollution for up to a 20-year period. Delivered to Congress this week, the 2004 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey summarizes the results of the agency's 14th national survey on the needs of publicly owned wastewater treatment works. The estimate includes $134.4 billion for wastewater treatment and collection systems, $54.8 billion for combined sewer overflow corrections, and $9.0 billion for stormwater management.

"Water infrastructure is a lifeline for health and prosperity in communities across America," said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "EPA is working with our partners to promote sustainable solutions and help utilities and households save money, water and energy."

Communities across the country face challenges in sustaining their water infrastructure. EPA is working with states, tribes, utilities, and other partners to reduce the demand on infrastructure through improved asset management, improved technology, water efficiency, and watershed-based decision making, and is working with Congress to enact the administration's Water Enterprise Bond proposal.

The report provides information to help the nation make informed decisions about pollution control needs necessary to meet the environmental and human health objectives of the Clean Water Act. The figures represent documented wastewater investment needs but do not account for expected investment and revenues. Wastewater treatment utilities pay for infrastructure using revenue from rates charged to customers and may finance large projects using loans or bonds. State and federal funding programs, such as EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, are available to help communities meet their wastewater pollution control needs. The needs in this survey represent a $16.1 billion (8.6 percent) increase (in constant 2004 dollars) over the 2000 report. The increase in overall national needs is due to a combination of population growth, more protective water quality standards, and aging infrastructure.

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