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Earth Day Event at The Byrd Theatre
April 15, 2010

A collective of water, wastewater, and stormwater professional societies will host a screening of the public television documentary “Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure.” An informational reception, the screening, and a community discussion of local issues will take place at 5:30 pm on April 20th at the Byrd Theater. This Earth Week event is open to the public and free for all ages.

“Liquid Assets” tells the story of essential infrastructure systems: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. These complex and aging systems – some in the ground for more than 100 years – are critical for basic sanitation, public safety, economic development, and a host of other necessities of life. The documentary highlights communities from across the United States, providing an understanding of hidden water infrastructure assets, demonstrating watershed protection approaches, and illustrating twenty-first century solutions.

To help Virginia residents better understand the local issues and learn how they can help, six professional societies are collaborating to sponsor this community outreach event:

  • Richmond Branch and Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Virginia Section of the American Water Works Association
  • Virginia Water Environment Association
  • VA/MD/DC Section of the American Public Works Association
  • Virginia Section of the American Society of Landscape Architects
  • James River Branch of Engineers Without Borders

Much of our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure – the systems that treat, distribute, collect, and clean water – was built nearly a century ago for a much smaller population. Today, utilities must service expanding communities and meet new regulatory requirements with aging, overburdened systems, and shrinking budgets. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that over 20 percent of drinking water is lost and 1.2 trillion gallons of storm water and wastewater overflows every year due to leaks and breaks in 800,000 miles of water pipe and 600,000 miles of sewer line across the country. Projected costs range from $485 billion to $1.2 trillion for needed improvements over the next twenty years.

Virginia is no exception. “Virginia’s infrastructure is aging, and in some cases, close to failing. At stake are issues affecting Virginia’s quality of life, the safety of its citizens and its economic well-being,” said Tom Fitzgerald, the president of the Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and co-author of the 2009 Virginia Infrastructure Report Card.

Additional information regarding the April 20th event and Virginia’s water infrastructure issues is available at Discussion of local water issues following screening.

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