HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force has started to review hundreds of public comments on ways Pennsylvania can address a $20 billion funding shortfall facing the state’s drinking water and wastewater systems.
Comments and testimony were taken last month during a series of eight meetings in Allegheny, Clearfield, Dauphin, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northampton, Venango and York counties.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said those attending the meetings represented a diverse array of the population and economy, but their remarks and concerns shared a common theme.
“Water treatment plant operators, engineers, municipal authority members, environmental groups, and concerned citizens all agreed that the health of our water infrastructure is tied to the health of Pennsylvania’s people and our economy,” said McGinty, who chairs the task force.
The task force has formed five work groups to focus on needs assessment, innovative measures, financial resources, financial sustainability, and legislative and regulatory remedies. The workgroups will review public comments as they pertain to their particular areas of concern.
According to a federal Clean Water Needs Survey, Pennsylvania is facing nearly $11 billion in unmet drinking water infrastructure needs and at least $7.2 billion in unmet wastewater infrastructure needs. Governor Rendell created the 30-member task force with Executive Order 2008-02. Members include business leaders, legislators, government officials and industry experts. They are charged with developing a report by Oct. 1 that provides recommendations and financing options to support water-related services in the Governor’s fiscal year 2009-10 budget proposal. For more information about the task force, visit here, keyword: Water Management. Click on the task force link at left.