July 25, 2018

The United States has a massive problem on its hands that threatens the well being of many of its 300 million residents. The problem? Decades-old infrastructure that not only leaks and wastes precious water but can leach harmful contaminants into the tap water system.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), many of the pipes that make up America's intricate water system were laid in the early 1900s with a set lifespan of just 75 to 100 years. This means that much of the plumbing that exists in the United States is now at risk of failing and in dire need of replacement. So, what's the solution to this difficult situation? Investment. And a whole lot of it. The American Water Works Association estimates that it will take about $1 trillion dollars to repair, maintain, and expand service over the next 25 years. Without doing so, we can most likely expect more contamination outbreaks just like what was so devastatingly witnessed in Flint, Michigan. 

At Aquagear, we believe that safe and clean drinking water should be available to everyone no matter where they live. That's why we think it's so important for us to cover this difficult topic in order to educate and inform our readers. 

aging water infrastructure united states

Here are some more things you should know:

The United States uses approximately 42 billion gallons of water per day to meet requirements for daily life.

The infrastructure "report card" put out by the ASCE notes that 80% of US drinking water comes from surfaces water such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, while just 20% is from underground aquifers. The ASCE also mentions that 92% of the US population relies on just 8,674 systems among all 51,000 of them. This is due to the fact of populations that are concentrated in mostly urban environments like large cities.  This requires a lot of work for these municipals systems and the enormous loud puts a lot of strain on their aging infrastructure 

Presently, utilities are replacing pipes at a rate of 0.5% per year.

With over one million miles of pipe across the United States, it is estimated that the replacement time of the entire system will be over 200 years. At this slow rate, most of the pipes will have aged 2-3 times their expected lifespan before being replaced. 

What are the major problems associated with an aging water infrastructure?

1. Water Loss.

The ASCE estimates that 6 billion gallons of water are lost each and every day due to leaky or broken pipes. And when you consider how there are a number of major US cities dealing with water shortages, this fact really sets off the alarm bells.

2.  Corrosion

When pipes get old they have a tendency to leach some of their material into the water that flows through them. Pipes made from heavy metals, like lead, can corrode and deposit some of their material into the tap water. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, approximately 10 million homes in the US still rely on lead pipes for their plumbing. 

To reduce your exposure to lead and other heavy metals that might be present your tap water, choose a home filter pitcher that has proved remove them. The Aquagear filter pitcher is lab tested to remove lead, fluoride, mercury and other contaminants.