During a March 13, 2014 meeting arranged by VI consultant Wayne Vallis, LLC with EPA’s Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, VI’s Technical Director, Richard Krock, proposed a national standard for water main breaks as a way of curbing the tremendous losses in energy and resources hurting our nation’s water supply. According to a recent Utah State University study, the national average is 11 water main breaks per 100 miles each year, which by some estimates wastes nearly 25% of the potable water before it ever reaches the consumer.
Mr. Perciasepe has personal experience with the devastating economic, environmental, and potential health effects of water main breaks during his years of service as Chief of Capital Planning for the city of Baltimore, MD where funds for emergency repairs were challenging to obtain. Mr. Perciasepe suggested a consensus standard among states might be more appropriate than an EPA national standard. He believes EPA’s role might be to lead working groups that study the available data and determine the best approaches to mitigate the problem.
Conserving water is a strategic objective in achieving EPA’s sustainability goals, which should be publicly available in April. In a 2009 report EPA acknowledged the extent of the problem by estimating $500-$600 billion in additional funding was needed to bring water systems into compliance with current standards.