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Leaky Pipes (CM | 1.5)
October 18, 2013 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Leaking underground water infrastructure is posing increasing public health threats. Planners have recently rediscovered our roots in public health, but the problem of leaking underground infrastructure has not captured the attention of the planning profession. To the extent that aging water infrastructure is studied at all, it is primarily in the context of cities in developing regions, not in the U.S. Although APA and some other civic leadership organizations have highlighted the state of deterioration of U.S. water infrastructure, much greater attention has been paid to the efforts to implement green infrastructure. The buried infrastructure of pipes is out of sight, and seemingly out of mind as well.
The presentation is based on water quality research conducted by other scholars and practitioners in the Milwaukee metro area, a literature review, and interviews by Nancy Frank with a small sample of planning directors in southeast Wisconsin.
This presentation describes the scope of the problem in terms of public health risks. federal and state drinking water, water quality, and stormwater laws require permittees to address leaky infrastructure, but local implementers often interpret these requirements in ways that ignore the potential infectious disease risk posed. Planners arguably have a role to play in quantifying the magnitude of the challenge and identifying cost-effective strategies for making accelerated progress in repairing our aging pipes in order to reduce the risk of infectious disease, reduce costs, assure a fair and equitable distribution of costs, and identify innovative programs to achieve these goals.