On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, visited a water filtration plant in Laurel, Maryland, to discuss with regional public works officials a strategy to improve America’s decaying water infrastructure.
"Our aging water infrastructure system represents a clear and present danger to public health, as well as our economic security and therefore our national security,” Cardin said. “The federal government cannot meet this need alone, but we must take a proactive approach, making strategic investments in innovative projects.”
Infrastructure is not a sexy subject, but it is incredibly important in the Chesapeake Bay region, where state and local governments are working to clean up the nation’s largest estuary and reduce pollution to meet EPA pollution limits and the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
Sewage line breaks and overflows are all too common, flooding streams and rivers with fecal bacteria. Water lines frequently break in Baltimore and other aging cities, creating sink holes and blocking traffic with emergency repair projects. Recently in Prince George’s County, a water main serving 100,000 people began to fail, requiring restrictions on the use of water during a heat wave.
During his meeting on Tuesday, Senator Cardin discussed legislation he plans to introduce in September to help with the problem, called the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act, according to his office. With the law, communities across the country would be able to compete for federal matching funds to help finance water infrastructure projects.
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By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(Photo from office of Senator Cardin)