$630 billion needed over 20 years to improve water infrastructure across the nation, EPA report finds

(UI) – On May 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency transmitted a report to Congress outlining clean water infrastructure investments—including wastewater and stormwater system upgrades—that are needed over the next 20 years.

The 2022 Clean Watersheds Needs 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.

Through the survey, states and U.S. territories report on future capital costs or investment needs to maintain and modernize publicly owned wastewater treatment works, stormwater infrastructure, nonpoint source control, and decentralized wastewater treatment systems like septic tanks. These investments are essential to supporting the Clean Water Act’s goal that our nation’s waters are fishable and swimmable.

 This is the 17th survey conducted since the passage of the Clean Water Act over 50 years ago. The last survey was conducted in 2012. Along with the needs data, the survey also collected technical data from all existing treatment facilities (e.g., flow, population served, effluent level, etc.). As of January 2022, there are 17,544 POTWs serving 270.4 million Americans, or 82% of the population.

EPA has many federal funding resources available for communities and utilities to improve vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $50 billion investment in upgrading critical water infrastructure – with almost $13 billion going to wastewater and stormwater management.

EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving fund has supported over $160 billion in infrastructure since its inception in 1987, and EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program has issued over $43 billion in financing for water infrastructure projects since 2018.

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