Check “water” at the ballot box in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s aging water delivery and treatment infrastructure needs a boost to keep the pipes clear, says Department of Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger. Voters in the Keystone State get a chance to approve a $400 million referendum for water systems maintenance this November. If passed, the fund is to be dispersed to every region in the state via a grants program.

Experts say the multi-million dollar referendum is just a drop in the bucket compared with what the state needs to keep its systems reliable, however. A 30-member Sustainable Infrastructure Task Force, under the authorization of Governor Edward G. Rendell, believes that Pennsylvania needs to invest over $36 billion in its water infrastructure over the next twenty years.

“The improvements needed for our drinking water and wastewater treatment systems are necessary to provide our families and businesses with safe and dependable services,” Hanger told the press. “If approved, the $400 million Clean Water Referendum will provide our municipalities with the funding they need to repair and upgrade their vital water infrastructure, so they can provide the clean, affordable water to Pennsylvania’s families, communities and businesses every day.”

Officials say that Clean Water Referendum can also create 12,000 new jobs in the state.

The vote itself is of historical significance, too. Pennsylvania is home to one of the United States’ first municipal water systems. Fairmount Water Works, operational for almost 100 years, served as a prototype for the country’s expanding urban areas. Praised a home and abroad, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Frances Trollope all wrote about the system. The city was widely regarded as the “Mecca of the hydraulic engineer” in the United States.

Learn more about the Clean Water Referendum here and here.

Source : Market Watch

Inset photo Fairmount Water Works

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