Partners
HOME    BLOGS    BLOGGERS    MESSAGES    VIDEO    AUDIO    REPORTS    RESEARCH    WEBINARS

Neglecting Sewers, US Cities Flush Their Future

Newest First    Oldest First    Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Simon Hersom
Simon Hersom  
1/21/2013 7:31:55 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Civilization in decline
The danger is not just in the cost of the fixing the infrastructure but in the opportunities lost to newer cities which don't have the problem

MrHawaii
MrHawaii  
1/21/2013 2:27:20 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Civilization in decline
The true final cost of bringing our sewer infrastructure up to date is going to be staggering.  Probably much more than the estimated 84 Billion dollars.  Just curious, if this is being addressed on a national level,  in the same context of rebuilding our network of aquaducts, bridges, and levees. 

This technology is a good start.  http://www.in-pipe.com/

James@SanDiego
James@SanDiego  
1/15/2013 4:06:26 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Civilization in decline
Oh what a tangled web this is, our water mains and pipes are bursting at the rate of 2 a month on average and what a mess they make.  Iron was considered the medium for pipage for many years and is just now being replaced with more suitable durable materials.  But we did not take into consideration the age and number of pipes in our system.  Aging and lost/misplaced maps have added to the chore of finding and estimating said old pipage.  In a region as dry and rain starved as our, we must place a higher value on our already limited resource.

Kmcneel
Kmcneel  
1/9/2013 7:12:52 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Sewer repair - let's hope it works
Great to see articles addressing this topic.  As a resident of a city with crumbling infrastructure, challenging geology (insane clay around here) and no funding (poorest state in the country), I find that a key part of the conversation needs to be creative funding models.  My city has entered into an agreement with Siemens to repair our sewer system.  The part that is interesting to me is:

"Siemens has guaranteed that the project will pay for itself over time through increased revenues from the new, more accurate meters, and cost savings from the sewer lines and treatment plant upgrades. If it fails to pay for itself, Siemens will take on the remaining cost."

I don't have any more detail than that, but would love to see more public/private deals that involve some creative ways to get projects funded, ensure the ROI and avoid cost overruns.  A full story can be found here:

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/09/city-begins-improvement-project/

Sidebar: I don't work for either Siemens or the Jackson Free Press.  I just like the story.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/9/2013 10:37:34 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Civilization in decline
True. I too think toilet traction will get underway only when the sewer problems hit residents and businesses directly -- when they back up, as it were.

Simon Hersom
Simon Hersom  
1/9/2013 10:29:12 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Civilization in decline
Mary

True, but the sewage looks much the same!  Bill Gates' toilet project may not get much traction in cities for a while until the cost of connecting to a main sewer becomes prohibitive

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/9/2013 9:22:38 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Civilization in decline
Given the enormity of the challenge of sewer revamping that now faces most cities in the Western world, it shouldn't surprise us to hear that NYC still has some pipes dating back to the 19th century.

I'd heard this many years ago -- that there are enormous enclosed pipes comprising part of the city's sewer system.

But the 19th century was, frankly, a LONG time ago.

James M. Connolly
James M. Connolly  
1/9/2013 8:53:33 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Civilization in decline
Mary. The sewer issue in US cities should have been addressed a couple generations ago. It's not like nobody knew there was a problem. As part of the broader challenge of waste disposal and pollution, this first fell on the plate of my grandparents' generation (and trust me, I'm no young guy).

As with all infrastructure issues, there's a tendency to go patchwork, and hope to get by so the next generation -- or at least someone downstream -- can deal with the problems.

As a teen in the 1960s I spent a long hot summer working in a tannery in one of the small New England cities built around the manufacture of shoes. The sewers flowed directly from the factories into a river. So did all of the waste water, nasty chemicals, fats, etc. from the tanning process. They did have a screen to collect the scraps of leather that got into the trough, but that was just so it didn't clog the pipe to the river. (And, I lived downstream).

The logic was that all the bad stuff would flow out to the ocean. Nobody considered what we were doing to the sea. When the cry went up for sewage treatment plants along the river, the shoe companies, tanners, woolen mills and other employers warned that if they were asked to treat the water they would move south. My grandparents' generation counted on those factories for the lifelihoods, and voters said no to sewage treatment. It didn't matter, the industries chased the cheap labor dollar to North Carolina anyway, and the mills turned into vacant lots. In the end, the next generation of taxpayers had to foot the bill for cleaning up the river (which was expensive but successful).

The call for replacing those dual sewers in all cities goes back to the same timeframe. Each generation since has done a bit of patchwork, and hoping that it won't rain hard. Yet, it rains hard every year, and every year sewage flows downstream to become someone else's problem. The only fix is to bite the bullet and make major investments in replaching sewer lines and other pieces of our failing infrastructure.

Simon Hersom
Simon Hersom  
1/8/2013 6:14:57 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Civilization in decline
Over 25 years ago the Thatcher government realised that a lot of state owned utilities were sitting on a capital expenditure nightmare.  One of these was the water and sewerage systems where investment in the previous century had been depressingly small.  Her solution was to privatise the ten water authorities and pass the investment burden to the new shareholders who would then raise the necessary money from the public users.

Water hasn't been cheap here in the UK since, and we have the added burden of a climate which on the one hand was heading towards drought while on the other is producing record flooding.  Where I live we enjoyed an arid spring culminating in Drought Orders restricting the use of water whcih came into force as the heavens broke.  By the year end we had one of the wettest years since records began.

The cost of these big water and sewerage schemes is vast, but at least the UK has got them underway.  One of the unexpected problems, though, was the building of large amounts of housing on land which now floods reguarly.  We thought we had control of the rivers.  The rivers knew better.

 

 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/8/2013 5:59:41 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: TtT
I too was pleasantly surprised. And yes, a group of users more tuned to the realities of urban planning is likely to be open to changes that others might resist.

We need to help raise the consciousness of our fellow citizens -- and encourage willingness to consider alternatives. Not an easy job.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
research
Smart City Money Makers
companies and solutions that are most prominent, and destined to be most profitable, in the smart city revolution.
How to Make Your City Smarter
Cities all over the world need to become smarter and more sustainable. But where to start? Download this guide to learn the first, proven steps toward making your city smarter.
all research
quick poll
Join the discussion
All polls
twitter feed
Future Cities Twitter Feed
follow us on facebook
Site Moderators
Future Cities is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
moderators@ubmfuturecities.com
directory
Designed to provide the people with access to green building products all year round
connect to us
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2014 UBM,
All rights reserved.