June 10, 2015
Industry News

Water Infrastructure Crisis

Much our water infrastructure is reaching the end of its serviceable life, with some pipe and mains that are more than 100 years old.

The State of U.S. Drinking Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Solutions

In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers assigned America a concerning grade of 'D' for our drinking water infrastructure. Much of our water infrastructure is approaching the end of its serviceable life, with some pipes and mains exceeding a century in age. In the U.S., there are over one million miles of water mains, and the condition of many remains uncertain.

ImpactSo, what are the implications for over 264 million people who rely on our drinking water infrastructure? Significant disruptions can occur when large-diameter pipes break, affecting water delivery systems. Yet, these water main breaks represent only a fraction of the total water lost daily. The majority of water loss transpires undetected and underground, primarily through smaller pipes. A survey by the Water Research Foundation reveals that water utilities experience an average pipe break rate ranging from 0.21 to 0.27 breaks per mile of pipeline each year. Water pipe breaks have the potential to disrupt water delivery, cause damage to personal property, and impact other vital infrastructures. There are also potential health risks associated with these incidents.

CostsThe American Water Works Association (AWWA) warns that, should every existing pipe need replacement, the cumulative costs in the coming decades could surpass a staggering $1 trillion. Over the next 25 years, the expense of expanding and repairing drinking and wastewater infrastructures could reach $2 trillion, as estimated by the AWWA. Moreover, the AWWA indicates that around 250,000 water mains break annually, not accounting for smaller system failures. An alarming 2 trillion gallons of water are lost through leaks and breaks every year. In a 2012 study conducted by the Utah State University Buried Structures Laboratory, water utilities' expenses ranged from $6,000 to approximately $7.5 million, with 52% of these costs stemming from insurance claims related to property damage.

Funding CrisisA lack of funding contributes to the challenges in maintaining drinking water infrastructure. ASCE reports, "Congressional appropriations have declined over the five-year period from 2008 to 2012, totaling only $6.9 billion—an average of $1.38 billion annually or $27.6 billion over 20 years, accounting for just 8% of EPA's identified needs over the same 20-year period." The combination of insufficient funding and aging pipes presents a potential water infrastructure crisis that demands attention and action.

SolutionsThe EPA is actively working to enhance the nation's water infrastructure sustainability. One solution involves extending the service life of existing infrastructure through rehabilitation efforts. HJ3 plays a vital role in mitigating replacement costs by extending the life of existing pipes using carbon fiber technologies developed at HJ3 Composite Technologies. We have a proven track record in repairing and reinforcing various pipe systems, significantly extending their serviceable life at a fraction of the cost of replacement. It's important to note that HJ3's patented carbon fiber technology is approved for use in potable water pipes.

If you have an underground pipe in need of repair and are interested in learning more about HJ3's CarbonSeal reinforcement systems, please contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com.

In 2014 a thirty-inch water main broke flooding the UCLA campus and nearby streets with about 20 million gallons.

water infrastructure crisis.


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