Steady Investments Sustain Safe and Reliable Water
Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 28, 2018) – Making sure that water is reliable and safe is what water providers do each and every day. Every three years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a report card on the state of infrastructure. Letter grades are assigned by category for the state of roads, bridges, dams, wastewater and drinking water systems and are listed by individual states.
“Reliable water infrastructure is a critical part of economic stability and growth,” said Kurt Stafford, engineering manager for Tennessee American Water. “A 2017 study found interruption of water service for only one day would result in businesses reliant on that water seeing drop-in sales by up to 75%,” he said.
“Smart policy is to have a plan in place before finding yourself in the midst of a crisis,” Stafford said. “With water pipes buried far below the ground, water infrastructure matters to avoid a detected problem has occurred.”
According the American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card on Infrastructure, the EPA estimates Tennessee’s total 20-year drinking water infrastructure needs as $2.7 billion. Tennessee American Water has an aggressive infrastructure investment strategy, planning ahead to deliver safe, reliable water for our customers.
Tennessee’s 2016 Report Card on Infrastructure received a letter grade of “C” for Drinking Water and a “D+” for Wastewater. What does this mean?
“Drinking water infrastructure needs in our state total $2.7 billion over the next 20 years,” Stafford said. “Annually, approximately $217 million is spent on operations and maintenance at wastewater facilities in Tennessee due to groundwater or rainwater leaking through sewage pipes, joints, or manholes,” he said.
“When it comes to infrastructure, most people instantly think of roads and bridges. Those of us in the water business think about our pipes and other assets,” said Val Armstrong, president of Tennessee American Water. “Water is almost always the least expensive of utility bills, but replacing underground pipes is expensive,” she said. “Water providers help make customers aware of the true value of a clean drinking water system.”
Both the EPA and ASCE report point out that delaying needed investment results in higher costs. They identify the biggest challenge as setting rates that reflect the true overall value of water to fund needed investments.
“At Tennessee American Water we are committed to making continuous infrastructure investments of about $20 million annually while balancing this with the price paid by our customers,” Armstrong said.
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ABOUT TENNESSEE AMERICAN WATER
Tennessee American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to approximately 375,000 people in Tennessee and northern Georgia. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,900 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. More information can be found by visiting www.tennesseeamwater.com.
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