The water industry continues to feel that its work is underappreciated, and the American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the US water infrastructure system a D grade. Most communities have water treatment systems that were constructed decades ago, and are degrading or will begin to soon. Here are a few ways that communities should begin to improve their water treatment systems.
Ensure all Water Tanks have Protective Linings
The problems with degrading water pipelines are well known, but plant managers should never forget to monitor water tanks at their source. Industrial tank liners are required for all water that is intended for human consumption, but aging concrete structures may be leaking contaminants. Experts should invest in custom linings, heavy duty flexible tank liners, or other liner products to protect water integrity. Industrial tank liners should last at least two decades, but water tank liners should still be regularly inspected for quality assurance.
Seek Federal Support
Water maintenance has long been the responsibility of local governments, but there is an increasing awareness that utilities will only improve with support from state and federal governments. Local governments can apply for loans through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority to remove lead from drinking water and to rehabilitate aging systems. The EPA estimates that roughly $11 billion are available for water infrastructure investment.
Implement Anti-Degradation Measures
States and tribes can also pass antidegradation measures to involve the public in the conversation about local water quality. While the EPA cannot require these measures, states and tribes are encouraged to solicit input from the public to determine ways that they can improve the quality and safety of water for the public and for wildlife. Even if an entity makes the decision to allow the degradation of a body of water (such as for economic reasons), the input of the community is still required for the decision to go forward.
Ensuring that safe water is available is one of the most important functions of any governing body. Repairing infrastructure and passing legislation to improve water takes time and resources, but the trade off is always a safe and quality environment for us all to live in.