Two events in the past week illustrate the effects of our nation’s deteriorating water infrastructure and the urgent need for resources and funds directed to modernizing and replacing that infrastructure all over the country.
On July 29, a broken 30-inch water main gushed water onto Sunset Boulevard near the University of California, Los Angeles campus. The geyser from the 93-year-old water main turned the street into a river and sent an estimated 20 million gallons of water across the school’s athletic facilities, including the famed floor of Pauley Pavilion, the neighboring Wooden Center and the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The water main rupture was the worst in Los Angeles since a larger and older pipeline burst in the Studio City district in 2009, flooding nearby homes and businesses, according to the city’s Department of Water and Power. The break on July 29 highlighted the aging condition of much of the city’s water infrastructure.
And between August 2 and 4, more than 400,000 residents of the Toledo, Ohio metropolitan area were deprived of safe drinking water as a result of toxins contaminating the area’s water supply from Lake Erie. A two-day ban on the use of drinking water was imposed when city officials identified toxins in the water supply stemming from runoff of fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens. Leaky septic tanks and storm water drains were a significant contributing factor in release of the toxins.
While these incidents attracted significant media attention because of their size and widespread impact, they are just two examples of water infrastructure failures that affect residents of urban, suburban and rural communities every day all over the United States. CWC staff actively monitors these events and is working hard to raise Congressional awareness of the need for funds and resources for water infrastructure improvements.