Volume III, Number 10
eMDE is a bi-monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state.
As part of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, Congress established the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to provide low interest loans and other forms of financial assistance to public water systems. As part of the DWSRF, every four years the EPA and the States work collaboratively to conduct the Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey, a cost analysis of projects necessary to upgrade, repair, and replace major components of the nation’s public water systems. The Survey covers needs for the next 20 years and addresses water treatment plants, storage facilities, distribution systems, and other eligible portions of water systems. The Survey does not include needs based on growth or fire protection. An infrastructure need could be due to aging, failure, inadequate sizing, outdated technology, or inability to meet current regulation. The result of the Survey is used to distribute the Federal allocation of funds targeted for each state under the DWSRF. MDE’s Water Supply Program surveyed 26 of Maryland's 500 public water systems, including the two largest, Baltimore City and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. During the interviews, some water systems provided up-to-date Capital Improvement Plans, Master Plans, and Engineering Studies that greatly facilitated the data collection. For other systems, however, costs were determined through analysis of the current conditions and projections of infrastructure needed during the next 20 years to maintain the delivery of safe drinking water. When an actual cost could not be determined, cost modeling was performed by the EPA. The first Survey was conducted in 1995 and showed needs for the entire nation’s water supplies totaling almost $200 billion. In the most recent 2007 Survey, the nation’s 52,000 water systems’ needs rose to almost $325 billion. Large systems, those serving populations over 100,000, represent 36 percent of the total need while serving 45 percent of the country’s population. The remainder, those serving 55 percent of the population, came from small and medium systems.
Maryland’s needs rose from about $1.8 billion in 1995 to over $5.4 billion in 2007. About 72 percent of the State’s needs came from large systems, with the remaining coming from medium and small systems.
Since each state collects and submits its own data, a thorough and complete effort is required in order to obtain maximum funding through the DWSRF.
Click here for more information on the Needs Survey.
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