Sunday, November 02, 2008

Vote "Yes" on Clean Water Referendum

I've been meaning to write about this but did not get all the needed information marshalled in time. Fortunately, the Inquirer had a front page story on it Saturday.

From "Beneath the surface, sewer systems fading fast," by Sandy Bauer 11/01/08:

Throughout the region and the nation, the water and sewer infrastructure is aging. The question is how to fund repairs and upgrades to meet new, stringent standards.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvanians will vote in a referendum on $400 million in grants and loans.

The price tag statewide has been estimated at $36.5 billion over the next 20 years, according to a state report released yesterday. With operation, maintenance and debt service added, the cost balloons to $113.6 billion.

"This is about making sure our streams and rivers are not polluted with raw sewage, about making sure the tap water we rely on is safe," said John Hanger, acting secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"Unfortunately, right now we have too much raw sewage going into rivers," he said. "In some cases, and I'm only slightly exaggerating, the pipes leak more water than they carry."

Hanger said the $400 million would also provide 12,000 construction, engineering and other jobs.

The governor sent out a robocall today in support of the referendum. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has information for those who wish to learn more.

Many of these systems must be updated but less and less is covered by the federal government which means without more state funding the local governments would have to pay. For smaller areas this would be a devastating costs.

Given that we all live downstream I think this is a good reason for the costs to be taken on by the state.

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