United States President Donald Trump has signed legislation to replace aging water pipes. The bipartisan measure will help restore the country’s water lines, which are in dire need of upgrades. Washington fears that lack of measures will lead to further drinking water issues, as is being experienced in Flint, Michigan.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund will be reauthorized for the first time since 2003.
Funding for 2019 will be $1.174 billion and will rise annually through 2021 to $1.95 billion. The EPA will use the funding to help improve drinking water pipes in the country, with some of the piping systems dating back to the 19th century. Extensive drain repair will be conducted in Upstate New York.
There will be water-system monitoring for contaminants for any and all utilities that serve more than 3,300 consumers. The previous limit was 10,000 consumers, so there will be a significant number of new monitoring requirements in 2019.
Army Corps of Engineers will also be involved in projects, with the Engineers involved in projects involving storm damage risk reduction, flood risk management, hurricane risk reduction and environmental restoration.
Schools and day care centers that are suffering from lead contamination will benefit from a $5 million annual grant.
Hoosick Falls, suffering from a severe water crisis, was a major turning point for the legislation. The area’s water supply has been known to cause cancer due to the high levels of PFOA in the water. The level of PFOA in the water supply is above the EPA’s recommended limit.
Funding levels to help the country’s aging water systems is deemed as “not enough” by many supporters of the legislation. The funding will be far too little to make a major impact, with estimates that it will cost $500 billion over the next 20 years to provide clean drinking water in the country.
Natural gas pipes in the country are also aging, with some 80,000 miles of piping systems that have unprotected bare steel. Many of these piping systems are as old as the early 1900s and will need to be replaced as well.
Old cast iron pipes are still present in many older communities, which are prone to failure and will need to be replaced, too. The legislation does not tackle any of these issues which politicians are scrambling to correct. As the natural gas lines degrade, they become more prone to failure, leaks and ruptures.