U.S. Water News Online
OMAHA, Neb.-- Nebraska municipalities and utility districts
need to spend around $1.4 billion to plug up or replace aging or
ailing water systems, the Environmental Protection Agency says.
An EPA report said pipe repairs and replacements are critically
needed because pipe failures waste water and raise the risks of
The pipe work amounts to more than half of Nebraska's $1.4 billion
bill, the report said.
The recently released report helps the federal government
determine where to put the $850 million a year it disburses to
improve water delivery systems.
Nebraska gets about $8 million of that.
The EPA estimated that at least $277 billion must be spent over
the next 20 years to bolster its water systems.
Jack Daniel, Nebraska's chief regulator for drinking water, said
that although water quality remains good, "small-town America needs
some help here."
He said more than 100 communities, sanitary and improvement
districts and mobile home parks in Nebraska have only a single well
to draw from, which leaves their supplies vulnerable, especially
Last year, he said, the state issued more than 372 citations for
water samples that exceeded standards for harmful bacteria or other
The American Water Works Association, which represents large water
systems, has said communities handle the repair and replacement costs
on their own, that bigger chunks of federal aid isn't needed.
But Daniel said Nebraska has scores of communities that lack the
tax base to cover the improvements, and so need extra state or
Daniel said the EPA report also underestimated by $180 million
Nebraska costs for meeting new federal standards for arsenic and
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