Cumberland Times-News


July 8, 2014

Wearing out

Congress must help cities maintain water systems

—  Cumberland officials and residents can easily relate to a tour that took place in Baltimore on Monday. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski were at the Montebello water treatment plant to draw attention to the needs of municipalities nationwide for federal help to upgrade aging water infrastructure.

In the last six months or so, city water crews have had to deal with water line ruptures on Decatur Street, Frederick Street, the Kelly Road area and Ritchie Street.

The Decatur Street area has been particularly hard hit, as water main ruptures have occurred several times over the last few years.

During their Baltimore tour, the senators noted that along with the inconvenience of water service disruption, water main breaks waste millions of gallons of water. They said water system customers also are paying more than they should because of energy-inefficient systems.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has projected more than $100 billion is needed over the next 20 years to upgrade or replace aging water infrastructure. All the while, Congress has not reauthorized federal revolving loan funds to repair or upgrade water systems.

Cumberland has been fortunate to have a plentiful water supply and quality drinking water for its residents as well as the customers it serves well beyond the city’s borders. But the city, like virtually every other municipality in the nation, needs help in maintaining the water system.

Much like the need for repair of the country’s aging roads and bridges, the water system infrastructures need attention. Not much will happen without intervention on the part of Congress.

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