By: Andy Odorzynski, Induron National Sales Manager
In 2018, congress passed the American Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). This act seeks to strengthen the original intent of the Safe Drinking Water Act by recognizing that the condition of our infrastructure is directly related to the safety and quality of our drinking water. The act seeks to make federal funding available for the infrastructure improvements necessary throughout the country to ensure safe, clean water.
How to Access Funding for Infrastructure Improvements: Corrosion Report Cards
Accessing these funds requires an important step: report cards! To responsibly manage distribution of these federal funds, the AWIA seeks to establish the real scope of need to ensure funds are directed where they will be most useful. It further seeks to document that the solutions implemented will actually address the issue at hand. Once a utility has established their need for water infrastructure funding and tabled a plan to fix their issues, funds are released through Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. This begs the question: how does a utility document their needs?
How Utilities Can Document their Needs
The answer is found in the AWIA’s requirement that every water utility which services more than 3,300 people undergo a water system risk assessment. These risk assessments are overseen by the state-level agencies which take responsibility for compliance with EPA regulation. The EPA has even released an iPad-based app which allows the utility to input the relevant data about their system, and its components so that they can properly evaluate the condition of their vital assets.
For many systems, this level inspection is already in place. Many utilities across the country regularly inspect their assets, and budget for necessary repairs. I believe most people who do NOT work in the water industry believe this must be happening.
Sadly, however, a great many utilities will find this to be an uncomfortable reckoning with reality. For those entities which have not maintained regular inspection, this process will result in decades of repair and expansion work. So much so that it will certainly strain the capacity of the engineers and contractors who serve the water/wastewater industry.
Let’s work together
Now more than ever, our industry will need to work as a team. A properly written specification which allows contractors, owners, and engineers to thrive and move smoothly through projects will have an oversized, positive impact. In the same manner, poor specifications and bad coatings choices could have a larger detrimental impact than ever.
At Induron, we are determined to ensure our partners enjoy the former. We are planning new product releases, expanded plant capacity, additions to our sales team, and stronger technological tools to prepare for the large amount of planning and execution that will result from thousands of water systems undertaking risk assessments over the next 2 years as the deadlines loom. This will be a fantastic step forward in ensuring safe drinking water and reliable distribution. We are excited to roll up our sleeves and help carry the load!