Broken water and sewage systems are contaminating rivers and streams. This statement is not describing a developing country. A recent report found that a significant sewer/water line break on average every two minutes somewhere in the country or 750 times daily.
State and federal research indicates that thousands of water and sewer systems are too outdated to operate properly. These systems, built around the time of the Civil War, have been sitting at the bottom of budgets ranging from politicians to local residents. Every year, thousands of sewer ruptures damage streets and homes causing hazardous pollutants to enter our drinking water. Here are some interesting statistics regarding our water and wastewater expenditures:
Drinking Water: America’s drinking water systems face an annual price tag of at least $10 billion to replace aging facilities that are at the end of their useful life. This does not account for growth in the demand for safe drinking water over the next 10 years. Leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day.
Wastewater: Aged systems discharge billions of gallons of untreated wastewater into U.S. surface waters each year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the nation should invest $350 billion over the next 20 years to update or replace existing systems.
The intensity of this problem is not yet fully understood, because water and sewer systems, are hidden from the naked eye. The average person gives little to no thought to it, until they do not function properly.