A new report from the EPA (www.epa.gov) estimates $202.5 billion is the nationwide capital investment needed to control wastewater pollution for up to a 20-year period. Delivered to Congress this week, the “2004 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey” summarizes the results of the agency”s 14th national survey on the needs of publicly owned wastewater treatment works. The estimate includes $134.4 billion for wastewater treatment and collection systems, $54.8 billion for combined sewer overflow corrections, and $9.0 billion for stormwater management.

Communities across the country face challenges in sustaining their water infrastructure, according to the EPA. As such, the agency says it is working with states, tribes, utilities, and other partners to reduce the demand on infrastructure through improved asset management, improved technology, water efficiency, and watershed-based decision making, and it is also working with Congress to enact the Water Enterprise Bond proposal.

The EPA’s report provides information that is designed to help the nation make informed decisions about pollution control needs necessary to meet the environmental and human health objectives of the Clean Water Act. The figures represent documented wastewater investment needs, but do not account for expected investment and revenues. Wastewater treatment utilities pay for infrastructure using revenue from rates charged to customers and may finance large projects using loans or bonds. State and federal funding programs, such as EPA”s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, are also available to help communities meet their wastewater pollution control needs. The needs in this survey represent a $16.1 billion (8.6%) increase (in constant 2004 dollars) over the 2000 report. The increase in overall national needs is due to a combination of population growth, more protective water quality standards, and aging infrastructure.

Fore information on the EPA’s needs survey, visit www.epa.gov/cwns.