Underneath America’s streets lies a netowrk of pipes that is supposed to bring clean water into homes, schools and businesses. But the news of lead poisoning in Flint, Mich., and the emergence of similar problems in Sebring, Ohio, and other cities have revealed a shocking truth: Some of these systems are so old and poorly maintained that they have become a major hazard to human health.
Its clear why America’s water systems are failing. The country has invested far too little in its public works, as governments at all levels have become obsessed with cutting spending. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the country needs to spend $384 billion by 2030 to continue providing clean drinking water to all Americans. The American Water Works Association, which represents public water utilities, puts the tab at $1 trillion in new spending in the next 25 years.