Water systems

Dear Colleagues,
The Georgetown Law campus has experienced an inordinate number of water shut offs
since September; by now, some of us, especially those living in the Gewirz Residence Hall, have
gotten legitimately frustrated by the seeming inability of anyone to remedy the situation.
Theoretically, all of the D.C. Water test-shuts and tie-ins that affect water service to the Gewirz
Residence Hall are now completed; however, another shut-off will occur this week. Fortunately
for our residents, the water service interruption will only affect the Williams Library. It will
begin on Wednesday at 10:30 P.M. and end on Thursday at 6 A.M. If that one is successful,
another, the last, will occur in a week. It will again only affect the Williams Library.
The difficulties D.C. Water is experiencing are not caused by BBC Construction or PGP
Developers. They are caused by the city’s aging water and sewer system. The average age of the
water and sewer pipes in D.C. is 75 years, and many existing pipes and sewers were set just after
the Civil War. The age of the pipes results in between 400 and 600 water main breaks in D.C.
each year. This problem, however, is not unique to Washington. Nationally, 850 water main
breaks occur in North America each day. Since January 2000, the U.S. has suffered 4,679,876
broken water mains -- including 626 so far today – and $46,798,759,464 in water main repair
costs. Actually, since I started writing this email, another 21 have occurred.
http://www.watermainbreakclock.com/ According to a 2002 Congressional study, corrosion
costs U.S. water and waste water systems over $50.7 billion annually. Since January 2000, the
price tag for this United States epidemic is $608,492,499,598 in total corrosion costs.
Some members of our community have asked me, “Who are the villains that cause this
discomfort?” As Cassius said to Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves"
We have for too many years limited state and federal government expenditures on water systems,
bridges, and railroads, and let our country’s infrastructure crumble. Sooner or later we will all
pay the price. For the past 5 months, it has been our turn.
Wally Mlyniec