Water systems may need more cash

Steve Henn Nov 4, 2009
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Water systems may need more cash

Steve Henn Nov 4, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: When there’s a really big rainstorm, there’s a good chance a water-treatment plant near you will overflow. That discharges untreated waste into a local river. Congress set aside billions of dollars in this year’s stimulus bill to help fix the perennial mess. But Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports, it’s probably not enough.


Steve Henn: Erick Gillespie from Recovery.com says Congress didn’t pinch pennies when it came to money for water-treatment systems.

Erick Gillespie: There is $6 billion set aside.

Members of Congress might be expecting a thank you. But they won’t be getting it at a hearing later today.

SUSAN BRUNINGA: We have an estimated annual need of around $23 billion — or $500 billion over 20 years.

Susan Bruninga is at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. She says the stimulus bill was a good first step. But the nation’s sewer systems need their own trust fund.

Bruninga: We have trust fund for airports and for highways and for other things. And for other things and we all use water every single day.

Bruninga wants to tax toilet paper and chemicals that end up in our water supply and use the cash to pay for the cleanup.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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