News Articles 

EDITORIAL: KUB sewer rehab project worth its considerable cost
Source: The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Publication date: 2012-02-12

Feb. 12--For the past eight years, workers for the Knoxville Utilities Board have been digging throughout the city, repairing the long-neglected sewer system. And though customers have had to dig deeper into their pockets to pay the tab, the extensive repairs are needed to keep sewage out of the city streets. 

EPA: US needs $300B in sewer, water work
Source: Associated Press/AP Online
Publication date: 2012-02-08

ALBANY, N.Y. - A federal study shows municipalities nationwide need more than $300 billion worth of essential upgrades to long overlooked water and sewer systems over the next 20 years.

What's Wrong With Us?   

Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert
The New York Times 2010-02-16

Gov. Ed Rendell likes to tell a sotry that goes back to his days as mayor of Philadephia.  As he recalled, the city had a long cold snap with about a month and a half of below-freezing temperatures.  Then, abruptly, the mercury rose into the 60s, he said, "and 58 of our water mains broke, causing all sorts of havoc."

L.A. fire truck gets stuck in sinkhole
Crew escapes after engine’s cab plunges into hole when water line bursts
Associated Press 2009-09-08

Water main break floods NYC buildings, streets
Associated Press/AP Online
Publication date: 2009-08-07

INFRASTRUCTURE Warning Signs Study on Human Sewage in Area Waterways and Beaches Should Serve As a Wake-Up Call to Local Officials on the Question of Deteriorating Sanitary and Storm Water Pipes.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

City flushes sewage into river
Antiquated Civil War-era underground pipe system is overwhelmed when it rains. City searches for solutions.
Intelligencer Journal
Lancaster New Era

EDITORIAL: Water, Water: Baltimore Needs More National Help to Rebuild Its Aging Water Systems and Avoid Future Deterioration and Leaks
Source: The Baltimore Sun, Maryland
Publication date: 2009-04-30

Flushing government stimulus cash down the toilet?
By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press Writer Michael Tarm, Associated Press Writer
CARBON HILL, Ill. – Sewage from toilets flows in open ditches here, spilling into back yards and even onto the lone baseball diamond where children play after school. The nose-wrinkling stench carries throughout this century-old, one-diner village outside Chicago.

U.S. infrastructure is deplored
Engineers' appraisal fuels Senate hunt for more funding
Thursday, March 26, 2009
By Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The nation has gone backward in the last four years from an already sorry performance in maintaining vital infrastructure, a national engineers group reported yesterday.

Failing Infrastructure Cannot Support a Healthy Economy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 PRNewswire-USNewswire
Decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation's infrastructure to support our economy and facilitate our way of life. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) today released its 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure - assigning a cumulative grade of D to the nation's infrastructure and noting a five-year investment need of $2.2 trillion from all levels of government and the private sector. Since ASCE's last assessment in 2005 there has been little change in the condition of the nation's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works, and the cost of improvement has increased by more than half a trillion dollars.

Stimulus Funding for Wastewater Infrastructure
How Much Is Available and What Could It Mean for My Community?
Monday, February 2, 2009
2:00 – 3:30pm Eastern

This webcast highlighted the stimulus package.  Funding of historic proportions is expected to be made available to projects across the country.  Webcast participants heard first hand from government officials and had an opportunity to submit questions.  

Proposed Stimulus Plan Targets Water & Sewer Construction
By James W. Rush
Jan 16, 2009

In the days leading up to his inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama has made clear his desire to introduce a massive economic stimulus package that would include billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, including water and sewer infrastructure.

Water Main Break Forces Dramatic Rescue of Nine

'The Road Literally Exploded'

By Dan Morse and Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 24, 2008; Page A01

This, Marcia Espinola thought, must be what a tsunami is like. One minute, the road beneath her was as dry as the 17-degree air outside. The next, a torrent of water carrying rocks and branches rushed toward her, crashing over the roof of her Honda.

Infrastructure goes unloved at U.S. conventions

Wed Sep 3, 2008 5:50pm EDT
By Emily Kaiser and Ed Stoddard - Analysis
ST. PAUL (Reuters) - Not far from the site of a deadly Minnesota bridge collapse, infrastructure investment was hardly mentioned when Republicans gathered to nominate Sen. John McCain for president.
It was a similar story at the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver where Sen. Barack Obama accepted his party's presidential nomination with a speech that spoke only in passing of rebuilding U.S. cities.

Governors Suggest More Federal Funding for Infrastructure July 13, 2008 Paul Nussbaum

PHILADELPHIA - Many of the nation's governors, dealing with crumbling schools, roads, bridges and water systems, would like economic stimulus checks of their own. 
Gathered in Philadelphia for a conference of the National Governors Association...

The Real Infrastructure Crisis
National Journal
July 5, 2008
By Burt Solomon
It’s a frighteningly familiar catastrophe to imagine.  An earthquake in Northern California ruptures 30 levees along the converging Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, and 300 billion gallons of saltwater rush inland from San Francisco Bay, flooding 16 islands and ruining the supply of fresh water across two-thirds of the nation’s most populous state…

Giant Hole Swallows Toyota

The Miami Herald
June 18, 2008
Emilce Gomez had just paid the toll to get onto the Rickenbacker Causeway when the earth caved in.  Gomez, 47, was behind the wheel of a blue Toyota Corolla that fell into a mammoth pothole, which formed instantly in the eastbound lanes of the Rickenbacker just before rush hour Tuesday.  The hole -- estimated at 15 feet wide and at least 6 feet deep -- was the result of a water-main break of a pipe roughly 50 years old, said an official with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department.

Old Pipes Leak Below Streets in Cleveland

Chattanooga Times/Free Press
June 1, 2008
By Randall Higgins, Chattanooga Times/Free Press, Tenn.
Jun. 1--Cleveland, Tenn. -- Century-old clay utility pipes are cracking and leaking beneath some of the oldest city streets. To fix that, Cleveland Utilities has contracted with a company to install inserts to seal the leaks. "That eliminates the traffic nightmares that would occur if we dug into the streets from the surface," General Manager Tom Wheeler said at a CU board meeting last week.

Utility Rate Hikes Vital, Mayor Says

Tulsa World
May 30, 2008
May 30--Mayor Kathy Taylor's proposed utility rate increases are necessary to keep up with capital needs of the water, sewer and stormwater systems, the City Council was told Thursday. If the increases are not approved, Taylor said, those systems could fall into a situation similar to what the city faces today with the condition of the streets.

Pennsylvania Takes Water Problem to the People
Water & Wastewater News
May 15, 2008
Members of Pennsylvania's Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force are setting out to gather the public's ideas on how to address the challenge.
Aging Systems Releasing Sewage into Rivers, Streams
By Larry Wheeler and Grant Smith, Gannett News Service
America's aging sewer systems continue to dump human waste into rivers and streams, despite years of fines and penalties targeting publicly owned agencies responsible for sewage overflows, a Gannett News Service analysis shows.

Researchers Set the Stage for a National Database of Water Pipe Infrastructure
By Ana Constantinescu
Blacksburg, Va., April 8, 2008 -- A group of Virginia Tech faculty and researchers are working to create the prototype of a national internet-based geospatial database of underground water pipes with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.

What Environment?
War and economic insecurity dominate the presidential campaign
By G. Tracy Mehan, III
Principal, The Cadmus Group, Inc. & Former Assistant Administrator for Water U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
March 2008
It is understandable, but nevertheless disappointing, that environmental and natural resources issues have not received much attention during the presidential campaign to date.  Two wars, illegal immigration, loss of manufacturing jobs, health care, a housing bubble, and a cratering stock market rivet the attention of the candidates and the voters both of whom are groping for a path forward amidst great uncertainty at home and abroad.

US Water Pipelines Are Breaking
By Colleen Long
NEW YORK (AP) — Two hours north of New York City, a mile-long stream and a marsh the size of a football field have mysteriously formed along a country road. They are such a marvel that people come from miles around to drink the crystal-clear water, believing it is bubbling up from a hidden natural spring.

Meet Albany's Unsung Heroes
Source:  The Albany Herald
Publication Date:  March 24, 2008
As Albany officials look to rebuild the city’s downtown area and focus on the customer services provided its citizens, one of the buzz words that has cropped up during City Commission meetings and during one-on-one conversations is “infrastructure.”

Mayors Water Council
Newsletter of the Mayors Water Council of the United States Conference of Mayors, Winter 2008
This particular issue focuses on water infrastructure and reflects the growing utilization of the asset management approach.

Gov. Easley Aims to Make N.C. Drought-Proof
Greensboro News Record
Publication date: March 12, 2008
Gov. Mike Easley on Tuesday unveiled a broad set of legislative proposals aimed at shoring up North Carolina's ability to withstand droughts as the state's population rises.  The state is too vulnerable to the periods of dry weather that have hit the region in recent years, he said, including the current drought that officials say is far from over. "We really have a 19th century water system in place in the 21st century," he said during a news conference in Raleigh. "We want to make North Carolina drought-proof."

Blumenauer Plans Water "Trust Fund" Proposal as Part of Larger Infrastructure Offensive
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) confirmed this week that he will draft and introduce a water “trust fund” proposal in this Congress.  Although the legislation would not be expected to pass, Blumenauer sees its introduction as one part of a larger offensive to raise public and legislative awareness about the need for greater investment in public infrastructure.

Governor Rendell Describes New Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Coalition
Governor Edward Rendell (D-PA) was in Washington on March 10 to brief leaders of national organizations, including WEF, on a new initiative that aims to make infrastructure investment a higher national priority. 

Town of Tonawanda Proposes Fee to Fix Aging Water System
Source: Buffalo News
Publication date: March 13, 2008
A capital improvement fee that would cost homeowners $20.40 a year has been proposed to address the Town of Tonawanda's aging water system.

Pennsylvania Sets Up Infrastructure Task Force 
Source: Water & Wastewater News
Publication date: March 10, 2008
Gov. Edward G. Rendell has established a high-level task force that will evaluate what Pennsylvania needs to do to maintain a sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure in light of continued cuts from the federal government.

Senate, House Hearings Attack Budget Cuts to Water Infrastructure
Source: This Week in Washington
Publication date: February 29, 2008
Author: Water Environment Federation (WEF)
This week the U.S. House and Senate held a series of hearings to examine President Bush’s budget cuts to land and water management agencies.  Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power, and the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee all expressed concern regarding water infrastructure cuts in the $7.1 billion budget.

Water Utility Joins Climate Change Group
Source: Las Vegas Review - Journal
Publication date: February 27, 2008
Author: Henry Brean
As water authority General Manager Pat Mulroy put it in a written statement announcing the alliance, "Water agencies throughout the nation will invest hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure over the next 15 years alone, and those investments must be informed by climate projections that are as accurate as possible."

New Documentary
Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure is a new documentary being sponsored by WEF, NACWA, and other water organizations.  The program seeks to educate the public on the condition of drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure in the United States.  Produced by Penn State Public Broadcasting, it will begin airing in Fall 2008.

Raleigh Has No Savior in Drought: City Lacks Links to Other Supplies
Source: The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.
Publication date: February 25, 2008
Author: David Bracken, The News & Observer
Raleigh, North Carolina, is seeking potential links for back up water resources, but lacks the infrastructure needed to make the connections.  The article emphasizes the value of water system interconnections.  As the Infrastructure Director put it, “You can never have enough friends in this business.”

Sinkhole Shuts Down Interstate 25
Source: The Denver Channel, ABC 7 News
Publication date: February 8, 2008
Denver -- Interstate 25 reopened at 6:37 p.m. Friday as crews continued to repair a 40-foot-wide sinkhole on Interstate 25 Friday that shut down northbound lanes and backed up traffic for 10 miles during the Thursday afternoon commute. The sinkhole, at I-25 at 58th Avenue, was caused by a 66-inch-diameter conduit that broke, sending 2 million gallons of water under the highway.

Perdue Announces $31.7 Million in Loans to Finance Water, Sewer and Reservoir Improvements
Source: Dawson County News
Publication date: January 29, 2008

Water Mains Rupture Daily: Professionals Say the Loss is Almost Inevitable
Source: The News & Observer
Publication date: January 30, 2008
As professional gardener Helen Yoest of Raleigh drove toward Glenwood Avenue's intersection with Oberlin Road on Monday afternoon, her children saw it first: the muddy gushing of a broken water main.

Town Tries to Increase its Waste-Line
Source: Concord Monitor
Publication date: January 29, 2008
By Meg Heckman
Sewage plant has been over capacity for years.

Water Crisis
Source: Associated Press
Publication date: January 28, 2008
By Ben Evans
Georgia runs dry as clout in Congress runs low.  Funds that could fix leaks in our cities often flow to other states.

New Coalition to Rebuild Ailing U.S. Infrastructure
On Tuesday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the formation of a non-partisan national coalition that will advocate for federal investment in America’s eroding infrastructure.  The coalition, called Building America’s Future, will be made up of elected and executive officials serving at the state and local levels of government.  In the immediate future the coalition will work with presidential candidates and platform committees to ensure that the next president understands the extent of the infrastructure crisis and is willing to increase federal funding.  In the long-term the coalition hopes to acquire $1.6 trillion dollars for infrastructure over the next five years. “We have an infrastructure crisis,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who used leaky sewage plants and crumbling water lines as an example.  Also present at the announcement was the Rockefeller Foundation.  The Foundation has already offered its support by committing funding for staffing and resources.

PA Governor announces $83 million in water infrastructure projects
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the PENNVEST Board of Directors' approval of $82.9 million in low interest loans and grants for 21 brownfields, drinking water and wastewater projects in 18 counties. The Governor cited the importance of these projects to the environment, the health of Pennsylvania citizens and the economic vitality of communities.

EPA Reports on Clean Water Infrastructure Needs
(Washington, D.C. – January 16, 2008) A new report from the EPA estimates $202.5 billion is the nationwide capital investment needed to control wastewater pollution for up to a 20-year period. Delivered to Congress this week, the 2004 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey summarizes the results of the agency's 14th national survey on the needs of publicly owned wastewater treatment works. The estimate includes $134.4 billion for wastewater treatment and collection systems, $54.8 billion for combined sewer overflow corrections, and $9.0 billion for stormwater management.  

Huge Hikes in Water, Sewer Rates on Tap Across USA

Source:  USA TODAY
Publication date:  December 27, 2007
Main stream media is starting to take note of the water and wastewater infrastructure crisis.  Read about the “Quirky” pricing policy of water and sewer systems that drive shock waves through many systems built after World War II.   

Texas Monthly Publishes Wastewater Article, "Everyone's Poop"

A Texas Monthly article, “Everyone’s Poop,” written by Nate Blakeslee, gives a thorough and entertaining layman’s explanation of the wastewater treatment process and the importance of infrastructure.  Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT) President and Austin’s Water Utility Manager Raj Bhatarrai was quoted extensively.  His expertise and passion are reflected by the in-depth understanding offered in the writer’s story.  WEAT plans to use the article as part of a targeted campaign to reach state legislators for funding infrastructure. 

35% Rise Seen for MMSD User Charges
The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is bracing itself for an anticipated 35% increase in customer user charges.  The increase comes after the 10-year contract that protected the district, and its customers, from the dramatic surge in energy prices in 2005 that followed Hurricane Katrina. 

Money, People, and Water Appreciation
From Water and Wastewater News
Image is a big part of being able to secure public support for necessary infrastructure rate increases.  Author Michael Cherniak suggests proactive steps the water sector should take to elevate and ensure the availability of a competent water/wastewater treatment workforce. 

EPA Launches New Websites on Wastewater for Small Communities and Nutrient Pollution
On September 19, EPA launched a new website to help small communities achieve and maintain sustainable wastewater services. The new site provides information about grants, funding resources, technical assistance and training.  A variety of tools are also available to help small communities plan, design, build, and maintain their wastewater infrastructure.  Visit the Wastewater in Small Communities website at   

Slippery Slope for U.S. Sewers: Age, Rains, Funding Shortfalls a Bad Mix
Publication date: 2007-09-14