Report: Great Lakes states will need almost $80 billion for wastewater infrastructure

Feb 5, 2016

Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency says communities in the eight Great Lakes states will need close to $80 billion to update and replace wastewater infrastructure in the next 20 years.

The recently released 2012 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey says national waste water management needs total $271 billion. 

That includes general water treatment plant infrastructure, storm water management systems, and aging sewage systems.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition said the report underscores the need for greater federal investment in wastewater management.

At current funding levels, it would take 160 years to meet the wastewater management needs of Great Lakes communities, according to the Coalition.

"The good news is we can tackle these problems. We know how to build these treatment facilities, we have the technology to do it. We just have to invest the necessary resources," said Coalition spokesman Jordan Lubetkin.

Lubetkin said aging waste water infrastructure puts communities at risk for sewage leaks and stormwater runoff that can contaminate drinking water and devastate wildlife habitats.