The downfall on August 1, 2007 of the Minneapolis Bridge that passed Interstate 35W over the Mississippi brought to attention a long-standing national problem: years of neglect, underfunding, and a deficiency of leadership and vision allowed America’s infrastructure to depreciate.
The difficult infrastructure condition is about to turn worse. The U.S. seems likely heading for an infrastructure crash that will horribly damage both our prospects and those of our children. The aging water system in this country has been shaped by a combination of problems including Mother Nature and government. Yet, little consideration has been given to one major cause: our nation’s aging infrastructure. The oldest iron water pipes in the country date back to the 1800s.
They were planned to last at most 120 years. For many cities around the country, their water system was installed in the 1920s with pipes anticipated to last about 100 years. For those with systems connected during WWII, the anticipated life cycle is around 75 years. While many newer structures have modernized systems, city water networks across the country are rolling on borrowed time.