Sunday, October 4, 2015

MACOMB DAILY Examines Future Water Costs

An article in the Macomb Daily by Norb Franz on September 28, 2015 about the cost of overdue water infrastructure upgrades is noteworthy.  Data in the accompanying graphic are especially revealing   Under the title “Billions needed to keep water systems working,” Franz wrote (excerpts):

Around the country, scores of decaying drinking water systems built around the time of World War II and earlier are in need of replacement. The costs to rebuild them will be staggering.

But without big changes in national policy, local governments and their ratepayers will be largely on their own in paying for the upgrades. The amount of federal money available is a drop in the bucket.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency projects it will cost $384 billion over 20 years just to maintain the nation’s existing drinking water infrastructure. Replacing pipes, treatment plants and other infrastructure as well as expanding drinking water systems to handle population growth could cost as much as $1 trillion.

New Orleans once boasted about not raising water rates for two decades. But in 2012, the city approved 10 percent increases on water bills for eight straight years as part of a plan to fix its crumbling system. The average household’s monthly water-and-sewer bill will climb to $115 by 2020.

Michigan ranks 27th in per capita federal spending for capital improvement projects for water. The state ranks 9th in projected money needed over 20 years at $13.8 billion…

Locally, the city of Mount Clemens, which operates its own water filtration plant and a waste water treatment plant, has borrowed $16.6 million to finance water system improvements. The last time was 2007, when $3.9 million was used for various upgrades, including an ozone system.

On the waste water side, Mount Clemens has borrowed $22 million. Nearly one-third is still to be paid off. That includes $1.19 million in 2010 from the State Revolving Fund for an ultraviolent light treatment system that cuts down on the use of chemicals. The city of Warren made the same improvement years ago.

There’s much, much more of interest in Franz’s piece, as well as the graphic.

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