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Keep Water Safe by Investing Now

Jan 7, 2008 USA Today, Opinion

Beach closings caused by sewage overflows are occurring at the highest rate ever, and economically crucial waterways across the country are being crippled by pollution.

Despite these alarming facts, federal funding for clean water has been on a steady decline. Overall the federal government contribution to total clean water spending has shrunk dramatically - from 78% in 1978 to just 3% today, according to a 2007 report by Food & Water Watch.

Meanwhile, consumer utility rates have been increasing at twice the rate of inflation over the last several years. Itís time for a new solution to the nationís water infrastructure funding crisis. Congress should create a national trust fund for clean water to provide a reliable and equitable source of funding for needed projects across the country.

A dedicated flow of federal funds will provide our communities with the resources they need to keep water safe for people and the environment.

Generational movement

Andrew D. Brunhart, general manager, The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission - Laurel, Md.

Water utilities need a definitive, long-term infrastructure investment strategy to replace an aging underground water and wastewater system that has been historically out of sight, out of mind. Without significant investment, residents can look forward to some of the problems Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has faced in recent years.

As the nationís eighth largest water and wastewater utility serving 1. 8 million people in Maryland, WSSC has had a record 2,129 water main breaks and leaks in the past year. About 25% or 1,300 miles of our mains are more than 50 years old.

Our grandparents and parents laid the foundation by paying for great water and sewer systems. Our generation is now charged with the hard task of replacing aging pipes. This challenge will not go away. The time to act is now.

 
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