There has been renewed interest in infrastructure on Capitol Hill. A handful of new bills and packages aim to increase funding for infrastructural improvements in the U.S., ranging from water and wastewater to roads and electricity. If passed, these proposed bills and packages have the potential to create opportunities for local governments and utilities to bring their community services up to date.
Here are a couple of developments to keep your eye on in the coming months:
Lead and Copper Rule
The EPA is in the process of revising their Lead and Copper Rule (LCRR) in an effort to ensure that drinking water is free of contaminants. New revisions to these EPA guidelines, along with other potential bills, could require water utilities to identify and remove lead service lines. The most recent revisions that have been officially included in the LCRR place an emphasis on protecting children from lead exposure. Water quality testing is now required at schools and child care facilities. In addition to that, water utilities must notify the public when and where they have located service lines containing lead.
Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (DWWIA) recently passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support. The bill aims at upgrading aging water infrastructure and would provide $35 billion for water resource development projects. It would bolster funding into federal water infrastructure programs that already exist, as well as funnel money into the creation of new ones. The act would authorize funding into programs that would upgrade sewer and stormwater systems, eliminate lead in drinking water, assist small and disadvantaged communities, and much more.
The American Jobs Plan
Of all the proposed infrastructure bills and packages, the American Jobs Plan is the most ambitious. It is essentially a $2 trillion plan that seeks to tackle a gamut of infrastructural upgrades, ranging from replacing every lead water service line in the U.S. to fixing tens of thousands of roads and bridges.
Here is a brief breakdown of what is included in the American Jobs Plan:
- Fix highways, rebuild bridges, upgrade ports, airports, and transit
- Ensure that clean drinking water is available to all (includes eliminating all lead pipes and service lines in the U.S.)
- Upgrades on the power grid
- Provision and installation of high-speed broadband to all Americans
- Construction and preservation of more than two-million homes and commercial buildings
- Modernization of schools, childcare facilities, and veterans’ hospitals
►You’ll also like: 4 Tools for Prioritizing Water Infrastructure Replacement
What Does this Mean for Your Community?
This renewed focus on infrastructure could possibly lead to an increase in the volume of public works projects and asset management opportunities for your community. The Cityworks platform (Cityworks AMS, Cityworks PLL, and more)—coupled with Esri ArcGIS—can help your organization track and manage all your assets and field work in an intuitive way. Whether you are inventorying lead piping or repaving a road, Cityworks and ArcGIS allow you to create a system of record that organize, manage, and maintain your infrastructure data and workflows.