More than seven million gallons of sewage spilled into Raleigh’s streams and tributaries in mid-November. This chilling occurrence underscores the need for more public funding to adequately address the importance of keeping pace with water, sewer and other infrastructure needs throughout the Carolinas, according to Carolinas Associated General Contractors (CAGC).
“More focus needs to be placed on repairing our water and sewer lines, as well as all public infrastructure needs, at a time when they are not being adequately addressed throughout the Carolinas and our nation,” said Dave Simpson, the association’s president and CEO. “These incidents unfortunately will not go away if we do not keep pace with maintaining and improving all of our infrastructure needs.”
According to news reports, the City of Raleigh repaired only 17 miles of sewer and water pipe last fiscal year. The Public Utilities Department requested a 3 percent increase in water and sewer rates to help repair 24 miles of pipe. The City Council voted to raise rates by 1.6 percent. With 7 million gallons of sewage spilling into four Raleigh streams and tributaries, including nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilling into Marsh Creek, more needs to be invested in the water and sewer system.
AGC of America Utility Infrastructure Division director Allen Gray said in a statement: “This is an unfortunate but telling example of how important investing in our deteriorating water/waste water infrastructure is. The problem is national, but especially critical in areas experiencing the growth seen in Raleigh and throughout the Carolinas. It is imperative to our health, environment and business development to fully fund safe, adequate and dependable water/waste water infrastructure.”