News Briefs: Study Claims Lead Pipe Replacements Could Enhance Minnesota's Economy

Also in this week's sewer and water news, a legislator proposes repurposing federal funds dedicated to the California High-Speed Rail Project to use them for water infrastructure

An interesting feasibility report recently released by the Minnesota Department of Health shows that removing all the lead from the state’s drinking water infrastructure could have a net positive effect on Minnesota’s economy.

The report shows that replacing lead infrastructure could cost a little over $4 billion, but that the benefits to public health and the economy could tally more than $8 billion.

The study estimates that removal of lead pipes over the next 20 years would create benefits by enhancing brain development and lifetime productivity in people, resulting in increased earnings and taxes.

“For every dollar spent on addressing lead in drinking water, we would see at least two dollars in benefits,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm tells the Quad Community Press. “As we see in many other areas of public health, preventing a health problem is more cost-effective than waiting for a health problem to develop and then treating it.”

California Representative Proposes Using High-Speed Railway Funds for Water Infrastructure

Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-California) recently introduced legislation that proposes repurposing recovered federal funding from the California High-Speed Rail project to critical water infrastructure projects in California and the west.

McCarthy’s legislation, HR 1600, is called the Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act.

“The California High-Speed Rail project is a boondoggle that California and American taxpayers must move on from,” McCarthy says, according to a press release from his office. “Since its inception, the project’s costs have ballooned while oversight and accountability within the California High-Speed Rail Authority has been nonexistent. Last month, Gov. Newsom in his State of the State rightfully recognized these shortcomings and announced an end to the project as it was put to the voters.

“The RAILWAY Act would end the federal government’s involvement in this failed endeavor by repurposing up to $3.5 billion in recovered federal funding for the California High-Speed Speed Rail project to water storage infrastructure projects as outlined in the bipartisan WIIN Act. Under the WIIN Act, five storage projects in California are advancing, and when completed, could provide 5 million acre-feet of additional water storage in our state. This is a far better use of taxpayer money that can address more important needs in our state.”

Syracuse, New York, Sees 4,000 Sewer Backups Per Year

A recent study of public records performed by shows that residents of Syracuse, New York, experience somewhere in the ball park of 4,000 sewer backups into private homes and businesses each year.

These kinds of issues are becoming more common in the eastern United States, where city infrastructure is showing its age. Nathan Gardner-Andrews, chief advocacy officer for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, tells reporters it’s an issue lawmakers should start paying more attention to. “If you’re flushing your toilet and suddenly it’s showing up in your basement, that’s a crisis — much more so than potholes on your street or not having power.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh reports city workers are replacing old sewer infrastructure as much as possible. “Anytime a resident has sewage in their basement, that’s a problem. The context of the problem is something, frankly, that we’re still getting an understanding of.”


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.