Portable Sanitation Association International

Association Insight, February 17, 2021

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ASSOCIATIONINSIGHT Portable Sanitation Association International News BIWEEKLY EDITION FEBRUARY 17, 2021 Page 2 Disposal Challenges Require Long-Term Planning and Investment…continued from page 1 Continued on page 13 A 2017 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) stated: "The nation's 14,748 wastewater treatment plants are the most basic and critical infrastructure systems for protecting public health and the environment. […] It's expected that more than 56 million new users will be connected to centralized treatment systems over the next two decades, requiring at least $271 billion to meet current and future demands." Yet a 2021 report from ASCE published recently estimates that wastewater infrastructure projects will be significantly underfunded over the next 20 years, to the tune of nearly $2.5 trillion (see figure 1 at right). The most recent report states, "…poorly operating water/ wastewater systems will…affect business production and may even cause harm to public health." It also predicts that companies and business owners will have to pick up the costs of these infrastructure shortfalls, thus affecting business growth, customer costs and household income. The report says, "These costs [will] absorb funds from businesses that would otherwise be directed to investment or research and development…[t]hus, not only will business and personal income be lower, but more of that income will need to be diverted to infrastructure- related costs." In other words, the cavalry is not coming. The burden will be on portable sanitation companies to plan for their long-term disposal needs, and they should start soon. In most cases it will be important to plan for future disposal under the assumption that publicly owned treatment works (POTW) will be reducing access or barring it altogether for commercial enterprises like portable sanitation. The situation may be different in some areas, and certainly activism with local officials can improve things somewhat when treatment plant capacity is not maxed out. But it is also critical that portable sanitation firms behave proactively so they are not caught flat-footed when treatment options are reduced or prices to dispose escalate.

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