(KMOV.com) -- The Metro Water Infrastructure Partnership released the results of an independent study intended to bring awareness to the region’s aging water infrastructure.
The new report, released at the St. Louis Infrastructure Symposium focuses on the problems that St. Louis has been facing with the current sewer system. For years, News 4 has reported about neighborhoods that frequently have back-ups after heavy rains. The latest report suggests the current sewer system is way too old.
“Our goal is to encourage the regions’ water customers and other stakeholders to understand that water and wastewater assets are vital to the well-being and growth potential of the region,” says Terry Gloriod, MWIP’s president, “the report is clear, the region’s water system is approaching its expiration date and investments to replace these systems are needed now.”
The aging infrastructure in the St. Louis region has become a major issue. Water main breaks and sewer back ups are a more common occurrence in the community as the systems continue to age and need replacement.
According to MWIP's findings, the St. Louis region’s utility rates have not kept pace with the growing infrastructure replacement need; this shortfall exceeds $6 billion. “As a community, we have benefited from paying low utility rates,” says Gloriod. “The status quo is no longer acceptable. Utilities have been investing billions of dollars to replace these systems, now we have to replace more each year to avoid greater service disruptions and threats to public health and safety.”
The report suggests that if utilities do not have the funding and resources to replace the infrastructure, the result is increased interruptions in utility service, diminished quality of life and added financial cost for never ending repairs. Investment in the region's infrastructure will result in sustained quality of life, job creation and economic growth.
MWIP's report states a $6 billion investment is needed to replace these aging, yet valuable assets, over the next 20 years. Agencies and organizations are fostering a dialogue on the regional impacts of this issue and working to gain greater public focus for making local water and wastewater infrastructure issues a priority.