Our country must do better than nearly failing when it comes to something so vital and fundamental as water. Yet a D is our nation’s water infrastructure grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. It has taken the lead contamination scandal in Flint to focus the attention of Congress and elected officials across the nation, but Flint is only the tip of an iceberg.
News reports now say as many as 2,000 water systems across the country may have excessive lead levels, while as many as 10 million homes receive water through lead pipes. Across the nation, many pipes are more than 100 years old, some dating to the Civil War era, posing drinking water risks. Each year, according to the Civil Engineers, there are 240,000 water main breaks. Faulty pipes result in the leakage of 900 billion gallons of wastewater a year, helping to make 28 percent of waterways unfit for human recreation and 18 percent unfit for consumption. According to the ASCE, the cost to fix our nation’s neglect of water resources is now $1.7 trillion – and rising.
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