Baltimore joins the growing list of Northeastern/Midwest cities that are staring at the issue of aging water and wastewater infrastructure. Giving voice to that issue are Mr. Ben Cardin, U.S. Senator from Maryland and Ms. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore in a recent op-ed in the The Baltimore Sun.
The cost of preventing infrastructure failures like the ones on Lombard and East Monument Streets is far less than the expense of dealing with structural damage, flooding, and business disruption after a break occurs. And even beyond catastrophic failures, small leaks and breaks take a major toll. Each day, the United States wastes billions of gallons of drinking water due to leaks, according to a recent environmental report published by Green For All; this is water that has already been subjected to expensive treatment. These costs will only increase unless we act now to reinvest in this infrastructure.
While there has been some focus of late on rebuilding infrastructure in the US, the conversation has largely stuck to roads and bridges. Emphasis on sub-surface water infrastructure by a U.S. Senator is really a shot in the arm for the issue, even if it (sadly) comes after a couple of major incidents in the city.