Read the full story in the Washington Post.
The need to rehabilitate infrastructure is urgent for many of the nation’s 50,000 community water utilities. Broken or leaking pipes can contaminate water, flood streets, disrupt businesses and require expensive emergency repairs. Outdated treatment plants have trouble filtering out potentially harmful chemicals. Old pipes can leach dangerous levels of lead into drinking water. Some communities have higher lead levels than Flint, Mich., where a confluence of bad decisions and coverups led to widespread lead contamination.
The prospect of offloading these headaches to for-profit water companies — and fattening city budgets in the process — is enticing to elected officials who worry that rate hikes could cost them their jobs. Once a system has been sold, private operators, not public officials, take the blame for higher rates.