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Report: At Least $630 Billion Needed for Wastewater, Stormwater Over Next 20 Years

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently sent a report to Congress detailing the necessary investments in clean water infrastructure, encompassing upgrades to wastewater and stormwater systems required over the next 20 years.

According to Water Finance Management, the 2022 survey represents the most recent comprehensive and robust report on wastewater, stormwater, and other clean water infrastructure needs in the U.S., and shows that at least $630 billion will be needed over the next 20 years to protect our nation’s waterbodies. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) said this represents a 73 percent increase in total reported needs since the previous 2012 report a decade ago.

“[This] report to Congress confirms what public clean water utilities across America already know – that there is a massive gap between available funds and the dollars actually needed to invest in the country’s clean water infrastructure, and that the gap is growing at a rapid and unsustainable pace,” said Adam Krantz, NACWA CEO. “Local utilities and their ratepayers simply cannot continue to bear the full burden for these costs. While the $50 billion in federal water investments provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) are important and much appreciated, this new report makes clear that amount will hardly make a dent in the overall need. Local ratepayers will continue to pay for the majority of investments, but the federal government must step up and come forward as a full and long-term partner to address the funding need.”

According to NACWA, unlike the Drinking Water Needs Assessment, which is EPA is required by statute to complete every four years, there is no similar statutory requirement for EPA to complete the CWNS on a specific timeline. The last survey was in 2012, and NACWA advocated strongly to include language in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) requiring EPA to produce an updated CWNS.

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