Aging pipes raise water bill pricesUPDATED 6:56 PM HST Oct 21, 2013Video Transcript
Board of Water Supply is raising rates annually to fix the system's aging infrastructure. But many areas around the country are worse off than us. Utility managers report some 240-thousand water main breaks a year nationwide. And now a new study finds cash-strapped municipalities are deferring maintenance to avoid raising rates. Sally Kidd is in Washington where the problem is gaining attention on Capitol Hill. Paula, Sponsors of a new bill in the Senate want more federal money to be spent on upgrading aging water systems across the country. Just outside the nation's capital, more than 10- thousand miles of underground water and sewer lines cut across two Maryland counties. Jerry Johnson/CEO, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission "We probably average around 1700 water main breaks on an annual basis." The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says about a third of its water pipes are more than 50 years old and require constant maintenance. Since 2000, the utility has raised rates 80 percent to help pay for it. Jerry Johnson/CEO, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission "I think you could look at us as a microcosm of what's happening around the country" A recent survey by Black and Veatch found aging infrastructure is the top concern of utility managers nationwide, and many say they're putting off maintenance because they don't have enough money for it. Steve Tarallo/Black and Veatch "Water and wastewater infrastructure has been largely ignored other the years and investments have been deferred and it's to the point now where it's a critical time" A bill recently introduced by Senator Ben Cardin would provide federal grant money to local governments to pay for upgrades. In a statement, Cardin says: "The longer we put off dealing with this crisis, the more expensive the solution will be." David Williams NO SUPER "This is not the best way to fix our infrastructure problems." Government watchdogs say the bill is a lot more of the same. David Williams/Taxpayers Protection Alliance "Are we gonna do it on the backs of taxpayers or are we going to look for new innovative financing ways to get this done."