LTE: New York must double down on clean water

The following letter to the editor was published in The Oneida Daily Dispatch on November 30, 2018 and was written by our Clean Water Associate Rob Hayes.

New York Must Double Down On Clean Water

Water is abundant in New York, but that doesn’t mean it’s always clean and safe to drink. Our aging water infrastructure, from creaking water mains to outdated sewage treatment plants, can fail and put your drinking water in danger. Nearby Syracuse has already faced a mind-boggling 179 water main breaks this year, and there’s still a month left in 2018 to drive that number higher.

But thanks to funding from the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act (CWIA), repair and replacement projects are getting off the ground. Your recent piece, “Almost $208 million in grants for water infrastructure awarded across New York,” highlighted Oneida County’s success in securing CWIA funding. Six grants, totaling almost $14 million, were allocated to projects across the county, which means work crews will be out on the streets from Rome to Verona to Camden. The benefits of the good-paying jobs created will ripple out for years to come in the local economy.

Given how successful the Clean Water Infrastructure Act has been, we need to double down on our investment in it. There are many more pipes to dig out of the ground. New York needs to invest at least $80 billion over the next twenty years if we’re going to fix our wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. If we’re going to keep dangerous contaminants out of our tap water, Gov. Cuomo must expand the Clean Water Infrastructure Act to a $5 billion program.