If you have two minutes, take the opportunity to watch this short video about drinking water infrastructure. As you probably know, “infrastructure” is a commonly used term for things like bridges, roads, dams and electric grids – all the physical capital investments that, taken together, give us the high quality of life to which we have grown accustomed here in the United States. The U.S. expanded from East to West coast over the 1800 and 1900’s, meaning that the infrastructure on the East coast is generally far older than infrastructure in the Western U.S.
Water distribution systems are part of Maine’s infrastructure, and the system that serves Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and parts of Scarborough is one of the oldest in the country --- parts of it are more than 130 years old!
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave drinking water infrastructure in the state of Maine a C+, noting that, “…aging underground transmission lines remain a serious issue for Maine’s water utilities with replacement cycles exceeding the 100-year target by 10-50 years, depending on the system. This is largely due to project funding needs exceeding available federal and state funding. While there has been improvement in treatment, storage, and security issues, approximately $59 million per year is needed over the next 20 years for infrastructure projects – which equates to an annual $22 million shortfall in funding need.”
When Maine Water first began working in the Saco Bay communities in 2013, we got right to work tackling this challenge. A water distribution system that is 135 years old simply cannot wait on $22 million in taxpayer funded state or federal dollars to appear. As a private water utility, we are well-positioned to make infrastructure improvements without depending on state or federal funding – in fact, we’ve invested more than $18 million over the past six years in these great communities.
Your family needs fresh, clean water to be there every day. So do all the businesses that drive the local economy. We’re going to keep going. When you turn on your tap tomorrow, your water’s going to be right there--- count on it.