American Water CEO Says New ASCE Report Card Underscores the Need to Act Now
to Update Water Systems
VOORHEES, N.J. -- March 19, 2013
“The grades are in, and the nation’s drinking water and wastewater
infrastructure is still in a poor state. If it were a student, such ongoing
marginal performance would not be acceptable,” said Jeff Sterba, President and
CEO of American Water, referring to the American Society of Civil Engineers’
(ASCE) latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, released today. The
report, issued every four years since 2001, gave the nation’s water systems a
D grade, up slightly from the D- conferred in the last two reports, but,
according to Sterba, this year’s outcome is not a cause for celebration. He
sees the findings as further confirmation of the need to update and maintain
water infrastructure to ensure resiliency for health, safety, and robust local
A breakdown of water systems can result in water disruptions, impediments to
emergency response, and damage to other types of infrastructure, as well as
unsanitary conditions, increasing the likelihood of public health issues.
“Simply put, allowing water infrastructure to lapse puts the nation’s
communities at risk,” said Sterba.
The price tag for the critical upkeep and replacement of the nation’s outdated
water systems is approximately $1 trillion over the next 25 years, estimates
the American Water Works Association. While this financial challenge is
significant, there are solutions, including attracting additional private
capital for public water infrastructure projects from companies like American
Water, which proactively invests $800 million to $1 billion annually in needed
system improvements to its water treatment facilities, distribution systems,
and other critical assets across its footprint.
“Such investments prove their value every day,” said Sterba. “From projects to
replace water mains, pipelines, and hydrants, and the installation of advanced
metering technology to help reduce water leaks, to enhanced treatment
capabilities improving efficiency and reliability, the investments we’ve made
into the system ensure that we are well positioned to continue to meet
customer needs in the communities that rely on us.
“What’s more, investing in water infrastructure development creates
good-paying jobs and boosts local economic growth. There is no better time to
reinvest in our essential water infrastructure,” Sterba added.
According to Sterba, the value of the ASCE Report Card is in raising customer
awareness of the critical nature of these issues, and that they already play
an important role in system renewal and future reliability by simply paying
their water bills. “By supporting needed improvements, customers and American
Water are working together to keep the water flowing now and well into the
future – all for about a penny a gallon,” Sterba said. “While much work needs
to be done to raise the grade of the nation’s deteriorating water
infrastructure, recognizing that a healthy water system truly promotes
economic vitality, provides public health, and protects our environment can
only improve future scores across the country.”
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and
wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company
employs approximately 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide drinking
water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people
in more than 30 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found at
Click here to subscribe to Mobile Alerts for American Water.
Denise Venuti Free
External Communications Manager
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