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Aquaculture Booms, But Pollution Looms

Senator Cardin Proposes Bill to Fix Decaying Water Infrastracture

Ben CardinOn 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.

To learn more, click here.

By Tom Pelton

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Photo from office of Senator Cardin)

 

 

Comments

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Perhaps your cynicism makes you feel good, Mr. Clik. This very familiar anti-government rhetoric certainly helps the profiteers of the status quo, who make money by keeping government out of the picture so they can exploit the people and the planet without interference.

But the truth of the matter is that your cynicism is not based in fact, when it comes to clean water. Government investments in improved sewage treatment plants have a long and well documented history of dramatically improving both water quality and public health. A great example is the Potomac River, which was a national disgrace in the 1960s and 1970s until EPA forced Washington DC to invest money upgrading the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. Now the river is the site of national bass fishing tournaments. Underwater grasses, fish and fowl are thriving.

I went canoeing down the Potomac this past weekend, and saw for myself healthy grasses and swarms of fish. The river still has some problems, obviously. But to claim that government investments in clean water don't work is to close your eyes to reality.

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