Summer is great, isn’t it? When the mercury rises, nothing beats pouring a cool glass of H20, watching the sprinklers overwater your lawn, or just taking a 3-hour shower. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior, combined with the heat itself, is doing a number on our nation’s water piping. CNN reports on this growing problem, saying, “The EPA estimated that between 2007 and 2027, drinking water utilities will have to invest $334 billion on new infrastructure.” You may want to rethink running your Slip ‘n Slide all night.
Much of the nation’s piping is over 80 years old, and this ancient infrastructure is especially susceptible to breaking. The main culprits for this are high water pressure and dried soil giving way around the underground pipes. This summer has been especially bad due to nationwide droughts and heat waves.
Technology is helping ease this problem. Super-sensitive meters can detect tiny cracks and large bursts in underground piping, raising alarm for repairs to be completed with limited service interruption. Still, all this fixing-up is going to cost you in one way or another: CNN reports that utility customers will probably have to pay to replace the miles of old piping. You may even see rate increases in your monthly bill soon.
Heat pops pipes nationwide; brace for higher bills [CNN]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2011