Washington Post: “water and sewer systems are more vital to civilized society than any other aspect of infrastructure.”

Failing infrastructure is an enormous, very expensive problem — and a political third rail, which is why we rarely hear politicians talking about it. But bursting water pipes tend to focus attention …

Billions needed to upgrade America’s leaky water infrastructure

By , Published: January 2

At first glance, the pizza-size hole that popped open when a heavy truck passed over a freshly paved District street seemed fairly minor.
Then city inspectors got on their bellies with a flashlight to peer into it. What they discovered has become far too common. A massive 19th-century brick sewer had silently eroded away, leaving a cavern beneath a street in Adams Morgan that could have swallowed most of a Metro bus.
It took three weeks and about a million dollars to repair the sewer, which was built in 1889.
Time and wear “had torn off all the bricks and sent them God knows where,” saidGeorge S. Hawkins, general manager of theDistrict of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. “We have to find them and see if they’re plugging up the system somewhere farther down the line.”
If it were not buried underground, the water and sewer system that serves the nation’s capital could be an advertisement for Band-Aids. And it is not much different from any other major system in the country, including those in many suburbs and in cities less than half as old as Washington.
Although they are out of sight and out of mind except when they spring a leak, water and sewer systems are more vital to civilized society than any other aspect of infrastructure.

For the whole story: