Nov 09, 2021

Water Engineering Firms Weigh in on Infrastructure Bill

Firms show support of funding & point to problems the money could solve

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The $55 billion investment in water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act is critical to ensuring a clean water future for the U.S., according to industry engineering firm leadership. 

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Nov. 5, ushering in $550 billion in new infrastructure spending, including $55 billion for the water industry. Below are responses from presidents and CEOs of industry engineering firms on what this funding means for the industry and their businesses.

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Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company that focuses on innovations in sustainable infrastructure. Black & Veatch Group President Martin Travers said the company is pleased with the passage of the bill and believes that it is a strong start to achieving historic water infrastructure transformation across the U.S. 

“The $55 billion for water infrastructure in the American Jobs Plan provides significant resources to ensure clean, safe drinking water as well as investments in critical wastewater and storm water management services in communities across the nation,” Travers said. “These funds are a great start, and will be essential to improving the resilience, reliability and quality of water systems as providers address challenges ranging from aging infrastructure and climate adaptation to minimizing exposure to chemicals and lead service lines.”

Arcadis

Arcadis is a global design, engineering and management consulting company. Tanya McCoy-Caretti, Arcadis national client development director, said the organization is eager to see the impact additional funding will have for the country’s infrastructure.

“We are thrilled to see additional funding become available to help improve America’s water infrastructure, and we are hopeful that this step signals a commitment to consistent and continued support,” McCoy-Caretti said. “Closing the gap between the current state of water infrastructure and ensuring utilities are truly fit-for-future will require significantly more funding and a more creative approach to capital spending. We have worked with our most successful clients to tap into multiple funding streams to support their projects, and recommend all utilities consider that approach as they prepare to withstand future challenges. Knowing who to talk to and how to clearly manage the project execution phase will make managing loan distribution and grants much easier on utility directors, managers and staff.”

GHD  

GHD is a global professional services company that encompasses engineering, construction and architecture. GHD U.S. Water Marketing Leader Lorraine Veltri issued support of the bill’s passage. She expects it will positively impact water infrastructure while also helping develop the technology needed to achieve sustainability.

“The U.S. infrastructure bill provides much needed funds and motivation that will rebuild our country’s aging water infrastructure,” Veltri said. “There’s much to be done to get these projects off the ground and we’re keen to play our part in helping our clients build back better by using the best technology and market know-how that GHD provides.”

Woodard & Curran 

Woodard & Curran is an integrated engineering, science, and operations company. Woodard & Curran CEO Alyson Watson said she and the company are looking forward to the implications of the bill in its ability to transform water infrastructure.

“This bill is a good start toward protecting and creating jobs for people doing the important work to strengthen our critical water infrastructure, address legacy pollution issues, and make American communities more resilient and connected,” Watson said. “With so much of our water infrastructure being buried, it isn’t always top of mind for legislators, unlike our transportation infrastructure. But hopefully this is a step in the right direction towards making water more of a priority in this country. It is, after all, vital to public health.”

Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN) Inc.

Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. is is a multi-disciplinary, full-service consulting that plans, engineers and provides program management services for projects across multiple disciplines, including water and wastewater. 

Steve Gilbreath, P.E. is vice president and a business group director for LAN. He said funding from this bill could be vital for bridging the operations and maintenance costs gap reported by the American Society of Civil Engineers in its Infrastructure Report Card earlier this year.

“The $55 billion portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, soon to be bill, allocated for water, wastewater and stormwater systems is a critical down payment to repair, rebuild and provide better resiliency to our nation’s water infrastructure,” Gilbreath said. “We must also remember that the ASCE reported in 2019, ‘the total capital spending on water infrastructure at all levels was approximately $48 billion, while capital investment needs were $129 billion, creating an $81 billion gap.’ This gap and higher O&M costs continue to grow. My hope is that sound and expeditious use of the infrastructure funds will demonstrate the benefits of further water infrastructure investment.”

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Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting solutions firm. Paul Delphos, Mid-Atlantic Region water practice manager for Burns & McDonnell said the firm is excited to support its clients in the endeavor of replacing lead service lines.

“With $15 billion allocated for lead service line replacement, Burns & McDonnell is looking forward to supporting our clients in addressing this critical issue, especially considering the need for disadvantaged communities,” Delphos said. “Managing lead in our water systems is critical to providing reliable and safe water to our customers and ratepayers.”

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