U.S. infrastructure gets near failing grade in new ASCE report

March 9, 2017
Drinking water received a D, wastewater a D+ in 2017 ASCE Infrastructure Report Card.

WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 9, 2017 -- The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure has rated the nation’s drinking water systems a D grade and wastewater systems a D+ grade. The grades fall in line with the last few reports and continue to highlight the need for investment in the country's infrastructure, especially in light of events like those seen in Flint, Mich., and the ongoing drought in the western U.S.

Members of water agencies across the country spoke out upon hearing the news.

Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance, said: "Water is essential to everything we do. Every community in the country relies on drinking water and wastewater service, and many sectors of our economy are completely reliant on water as well. A D and D+ are daunting grades, but I am optimistic about our future because I see the innovative work of the members of the US Water Alliance every day. I want to thank the ASCE for its steadfast work to shine a light on the incredibly important issue of infrastructure investment. It was a topic that was overlooked for far too long, but we believe is starting to get the attention it deserves. This report reinforces the fact that we need to make reinvesting in water a national priority."

In a statement, NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane said, "The findings released by the ASCE affirm the urgent need to repair or replace aging water infrastructure to ensure resiliency for health, safety, and robust local economies. … While the nation’s water infrastructure faces significant challenges, the National Association of Water Companies’ (NAWC) member utilities work diligently with their respective state economic regulators to ensure rates for water service support the investment needed to meet all water quality and environmental standards and provide the service that customers expect and deserve. NAWC’s members look forward to helping more communities across the country to "improve their grades.'"

Today, American Water Senior Vice President, Regulatory Policy and Business Development Kathy Pape testified before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Sub-Committee on Water Resources and Environment in Washington, D.C. and offered perspectives and recommendations on solving our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure challenges.

In a statement, she said, "American Water commends the House Transportation & Infrastructure Sub-Committee on Water Resources and Environment for providing a forum to discuss the challenges that face our water and wastewater infrastructure and the potential solutions available through the continued partnership of the private and public sector."

According to Pape, the value of the ASCE Report Card is in raising customer awareness of the critical nature of these issues and the value of our water and wastewater infrastructure, which is largely hidden underground. “That infrastructure is essential to delivering clean, safe, reliable water to our customers, but is often taken for granted until there is an issue,” Pape said. “While much work needs to be done to raise the grade of the nation’s deteriorating water infrastructure, recognizing that a healthy water system truly promotes economic vitality, provides public health, and protects our environment can only improve future scores across the country.”

Read more about the ASCE report card here.

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