A combination of poor economic policy and too much pork-barrel funding of projects results in unsustainable infrastructure.
“Deep inside a 70-year-old water-treatment plant, drinking water for Iowa’s capital city is cleansed of harmful nitrates that come from the state’s famously rich farmland.” click here
“American diplomats are upset that dozens of countries — including Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh — have flocked to join China’s new infrastructure investment bank, a potential rival to the World Bank and other financial institutions backed by the United States.” click here
Szabo J, Minamyer S. Decontamination of radiological agents from drinking water infrastructure: a literature review and summary. Environment International 2014 Nov;72:129-32. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.020.
This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of radiological agents on drinking water infrastructure (such as pipes) along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some important radiological agents (cesium, strontium and cobalt), but important data gaps remain. Although some targeted experiments have been published on cesium, strontium and cobalt persistence on drinking water infrastructure, most of the data comes from nuclear clean-up sites. Furthermore, the studies focused on drinking water systems use non-radioactive surrogates. Non-radioactive cobalt was shown to be persistent on iron due to oxidation with free chlorine in drinking water and precipitation on the iron surface. Decontamination with acidification was an effective removal method. Strontium persistence on iron was transient in tap water, but adherence to cement-mortar has been demonstrated and should be further explored. Cesium persistence on iron water infrastructure was observed when flow was stagnant, but not with water flow present. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available cesium, strontium and cobalt persistence data to other common infrastructure materials, specifically cement-mortar. Further exploration chelating agents and low pH treatment is recommended for future decontamination studies.
Click here for paper (fee).
Szabo J, Minamyer S.Decontamination of biological agents from drinking water infrastructure: a literature review and summary. Environment International 2014 Nov;72:124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.031.
This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of biological agents on drinking water infrastructure (such as pipes) along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some biological agents, but data gaps remain. Data on bacterial spore persistence on common water infrastructure materials such as iron and cement-mortar lined iron show that spores can be persistent for weeks after contamination. Decontamination data show that common disinfectants such as free chlorine have limited effectiveness. Decontamination results with germinant and alternate disinfectants such as chlorine dioxide are more promising. Persistence and decontamination data were collected on vegetative bacteria, such as coliforms, Legionella and Salmonella. Vegetative bacteria are less persistent than spores and more susceptible to disinfection, but the surfaces and water quality conditions in many studies were only marginally related to drinking water systems. However, results of real-world case studies on accidental contamination of water systems with E. coli and Salmonella contamination show that flushing and chlorination can help return a water system to service. Some viral persistence data were found, but decontamination data were lacking. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available biological persistence data to other common infrastructure materials. Further exploration of non-traditional drinking water disinfectants is recommended for future studies.
Click here for paper (fee).
Szabo J, Minamyer S. Decontamination of chemical agents from drinking water infrastructure: a literature review and summary. Environment International 2014 Nov;72:119-23. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.025.
This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of chemical contamination on drinking water infrastructure (such as pipes) along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some chemical contaminants, but important data gaps remain. In general, data on chemical persistence on drinking water infrastructure is available for inorganics such as arsenic and mercury, as well as select organics such as petroleum products, pesticides and rodenticides. Data specific to chemical warfare agents and pharmaceuticals was not found and data on toxins is scant. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available chemical persistence data to other common drinking water infrastructure materials. Decontaminating agents that successfully removed persistent contamination from one infrastructure material should be used in further studies. Methods for sampling or extracting chemical agents from water infrastructure surfaces are needed.
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USEPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment –which the agency is required to submit to Congress every four years under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and uses as its basis for allocating drinking water state revolving loan fund (SRF) grants to states. The survey examined the needs of more than 3,000 public drinking water systems across the United States in 2011.
The drinking water infrastructure improvement needs include: $247.5 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating water lines; $72.5 billion to construct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination; $39.5 billion to construct, rehabilitate or cover finished water storage reservoirs; and $20.5 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells and spring collectors.
The latest estimates are comparable to the results of the two prior surveys. In 2007, the survey estimated drinking water infrastructure needs at $379.7 billion; $375.9 billion in 2003 — adjusted to 2011 dollars.
Continuing to expect the federal government to pay for infrastructure needs is financially unsustainable. As usual, California has the largest financial need (click here). A robust economy is necessary for sustainable water and wastewater systems, and so it should be expected that California would be at the top of the list due to a broken state government and catastrophic debt.
Proposed budgets such as this are usually masked by smoke and mirrors. So, if you would like to begin blowing through the smoke surrounding Governor Brown’s proposed 2013-2014 California budget, click here.