Washington, D.C. — More than 1.57 million Americans live without a toilet or tap at home, costing the U.S. economy $8.58 billion every year, according to a report produced by DigDeep with contributions from partners including the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO®). Titled “Draining: The Economic Impact of America’s Hidden Water Crisis,” Read more
Report Shows Lack of Basic Water, Sanitation Services Costs U.S. Economy More Than $8.5 Billion Per Year
Washington, D.C. — More than 1.57 million Americans live without a toilet or tap at home, costing the U.S. economy $8.58 billion every year, according to a report produced by DigDeep with contributions from partners including the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO®).
Titled “Draining: The Economic Impact of America’s Hidden Water Crisis,” the report provides an in-depth analysis of the costs and benefits of extending water and sanitation access to every home in the United States. The $8.58 billion annual figure averages out to $15,800 per household in health care, time spent collecting and paying for bottled water, loss of time at work and school, and premature death. The full report is available online at digdeep.org/draining.
Produced by DigDeep, a nonprofit organization working to improve access to clean running water in U.S. communities, the report includes contributions from partners including Altarum, the American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and IAPMO. It builds on and reinforces key recommendations from DigDeep’s earlier report on the topic: “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan.”
The report attributes the following statistics to the water access gap:
- $15,800 — the annual cost, per household, to the U.S. economy for each household without access to running water or basic plumbing. It includes health care costs, time spent collecting and paying for bottled water, loss of time at work or school, and premature death.
- 219,000 — the annual number of waterborne illnesses, including Legionella.
- 71,000 — the annual number of cases of mental illness
- 68.7 million — the annual number of work hours lost
- $1 billion — the annual loss in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
- 610 — annual premature deaths
- $8.58 billion — total annual cost to the U.S. economy
“While speaking to communities for our 2019 report, we heard devastating stories about impacts to people’s health, employment, leisure time, and general well-being,” DigDeep Founder and CEO George McGraw said. “Now we are finally able to measure the true magnitude of those impacts in real dollars. We must close the water access gap. As this report shows, we can’t afford not to.”
While the water access gap is wide and deep, it is solvable — to the benefit of numerous parties even beyond the individuals and families suffering from a lack of access to water and sanitation. With the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts of 2021, $55 billion in water-specific infrastructure funding is available to be spent over the next five years.
Since much of that investment will be used to upgrade and repair existing systems, DigDeep notes that targeted investments are needed for new access and to close the water gap for good.
The report’s authors suggest the following action steps to solve the problem:
- Expand and refocus federal and state funding. Closing the water access gap requires more funding, more flexibility in funding, and funding for interim solutions and new technologies. These efforts should build on the $55 billion in water-specific funding authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts of 2021.
- Use data to bring visibility to communities. Currently, no central entity collects data on the scope of the U.S. water access gap. Federal data collection must be accompanied by outreach to vulnerable communities to assist them in using data for advocacy and designing solutions.
- Define the water access gap as a crisis. Many countries, and the United Nations, have recognized the urgency of water access by passing resolutions recognizing the human right to water and sanitation. The U.S. federal government should signal its leadership on this issue by doing the same.
- Build a domestic Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) sector. Closing the water access gap will only be possible if led by a dedicated “community of practice” made up of NGOs, funders, research institutions, government agencies, and impacted communities working together toward a shared goal.
“As a technical adviser for this report, IAPMO was pleased to work with the broad coalition of organizations that contributed to this research, and we wholeheartedly endorse these recommendations,” IAPMO Executive Vice President of Government Relations Dain Hansen said. “Access to clean water and safe sanitation is a basic right, and closing the water access gap means advancing equity and righting historical wrongs. IAPMO is proud to be a strong advocate for every community to be able to access the financial and technical resources required to close this water and sanitation access gap.”
The 55-gallon Everlast Elevate electric storage water heater was developed as an innovative solution to federal regulations imposed on light duty electric tank-type water heaters with storage capacities larger than 55 gallons. Elevate water heaters offers the highest heat output and greatest recovery rates among all water heaters in the 55-gallon size, industry-wide. They outperform Read more
The 55-gallon Everlast Elevate electric storage water heater was developed as an innovative solution to federal regulations imposed on light duty electric tank-type water heaters with storage capacities larger than 55 gallons. Elevate water heaters offers the highest heat output and greatest recovery rates among all water heaters in the 55-gallon size, industry-wide. They outperform a broad range of smaller, and larger water heaters, including those up to 100 gallons in size.
HTP Elevate water heaters require a 30-amp, 240-volt circuit, a power requirement that accelerates heat production using two, 5,500 watt titanium heating elements. Elevate was engineered to deliver maximum performance and minimize standby loss by reducing turbulence within the tank and stimulating heat stratification.
Its 316 L stainless-steel construction paired with a high-grade anode rod allow the water heaters to store more thermal energy without risk of premature failure due to corrosion.
An adjustable thermostat and ASSE 1017 mixing valve allow for high storage temperatures, while also assuring safe water delivery temperatures to all plumbing fixtures. Elevate water heaters includes a mechanical reset high limit cutout for overheat protection. These standard components make it possible to increase water storage temperatures, up to 170°F – assuring fast recovery, and maximum protection against Legionella and many other pathogens.
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Washington — The IAPMO Group and Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) applaud the House Science, Space and Technology Committee for advancing legislation this past week reauthorizing the National Institute of Standards and Technology and calling for the creation of a program for premise plumbing research. During the July 27 committee mark-up of the bill, U.S. Rep Read more
Washington — The IAPMO Group and Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) applaud the House Science, Space and Technology Committee for advancing legislation this past week reauthorizing the National Institute of Standards and Technology and calling for the creation of a program for premise plumbing research.
During the July 27 committee mark-up of the bill, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) was successful in offering an important amendment to H.R. 4609, the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the Future Act of 2021, that would authorize funding at NIST to conduct practical, water-related research on systems within homes and buildings, addressing critical issues such as water quality, efficiency, reuse, sustainability and resilience.
A new program at NIST will help to combat a 900% increase in Legionnaires’ disease since 2000. Legionnaires’ disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Legionella. Symptoms of the disease include fever, cough and pneumonia, while a milder infection can look like a flu-like illness without pneumonia. The sickness can be deadly in older patients or those with other risk factors. Reports of the infection are more common in the summer and early fall when warming, stagnant waters present the best environment for bacterial growth in water systems. News articles from across the country detail the prevalence of this public health challenge.
From the exponential growth of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks to increasing housing affordability, the industry is waiting and ready to apply the findings of this research to tackle major issues,” said IAPMO CEO Dave Viola. “We applaud Rep. Tonko and other committee members for recognizing this need and including it in this important piece of legislation. This will have a direct, positive impact on America’s homes and buildings today and for the foreseeable future.”
Over the years, IAPMO and PMI have worked with Congress and NIST to address and prioritize research needs on plumbing. Rep. Tonko’s amendment is based on legislation developed by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who have both previously introduced legislation to expand NIST’s efforts on drinking water. In May 2020, NIST published a report that identified nearly 60 specific research needs and challenges faced by the plumbing industry. This report provides a useful roadmap for addressing those needs through applied research and codes and standards activities.
Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO, said that “American consumers have the benefit of state-of-the-art water efficient plumbing fittings and fixtures; however, the legacy plumbing that carries water to these fixtures in our homes and offices are based on research and data from the 1930s.” Stackpole noted that “updated research and data by NIST, in conjunction with academia, industry and other key stakeholders, would significantly improve the water efficiency and safety in water systems across the nation.”
Another important issue that will be addressed by NIST research is the sizing of plumbing systems in buildings. Much has changed in the way Americans use water since the 1920s and ’30s when Dr. Roy Hunter, working for the National Bureau of Standards, the predecessor to NIST, developed the method for predicting water use demands in a building and determining how large systems need to be to accommodate those demands. While minor updates have been made over the years to these methods, they are still used today in plumbing codes despite the many improvements and efficiencies made to plumbing fixtures, appliances and other water-using equipment in subsequent years. As a result, it is widely recognized that today’s plumbing systems are often grossly oversized, resulting in increased building costs, wasted water and energy, and declining water quality. The research will seek to resolve this problem and lead to a method for determining plumbing system sizes that are more appropriate for the particular building.
A broad range of allied trade professionals are invited to join a leading panel of experts – beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 10 am ET – during six weekly panel discussions as they address healthcare design and water safety. Online attendees will be able to connect with their peers in a highly-interactive environment that encourages Read more
A broad range of allied trade professionals are invited to join a leading panel of experts – beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 10 am ET – during six weekly panel discussions as they address healthcare design and water safety.
Online attendees will be able to connect with their peers in a highly-interactive environment that encourages facility managers, engineers, contractors, and infection control professionals to discuss challenges and opportunities in healthcare design.
Each week, Watts will host a 1.5-hour event starting with a brief presentation, followed by an interactive panel discussion.
Events and topics include:
- Nov 3 – What is WICRA and Why You Need One? Janet Stout, Special Pathogens Laboratory, President
- Nov 10 – Preventing Waterborne Infections During COVID-19 Kristen VanderElzen, University of Michigan, Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Project Manager
- Nov 17 – Lessons Learned in Ice Storage Richie Stever CLSS-HC, CHFM, University of Maryland Medical Center, Director of Operations and Maintenance
- Dec 1 – Next Gen Facilities in a Post-COVID Health Environment Michael Roughan, AIA, ACHA – HDR, Health Principal
- Dec 8 – Healthcare Design from a Facility Manager’s Perspective John N. Ellis, MBA, CHFM – Intermountain Healthcare, System Director of Facilities Management
- Dec 15 – Consequences of Poor Design Christoph Lohr, Healthcare Design Expert
Weekly giveaways to registrants include an Apple Watch Series 5, Air Pods Pro, a virtual reality headset.
Interested professionals can register at: https://www.watts.com/WHS
Mokena, Ill. — The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), in conjunction with Special Pathogens Laboratory (SPL), is offering an ASSE 12080 LegionellaWater Safety and Management Specialist Certification Training program, Aug. 17-19. SPL President Janet Stout, Ph.D., a clinical and environmental biologist with more than 30 years of pioneering research in Legionella, will teach Read more
Mokena, Ill. — The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), in conjunction with Special Pathogens Laboratory (SPL), is offering an ASSE 12080 LegionellaWater Safety and Management Specialist Certification Training program, Aug. 17-19.
SPL President Janet Stout, Ph.D., a clinical and environmental biologist with more than 30 years of pioneering research in Legionella, will teach the three-day course. The speakers will include David Pierre, vice president of SPL Consulting Services, and Michael Castro, MPH, SPL’s director of Healthcare Services.
“This training provides the critical knowledge that industry professionals need to prevent this life-threatening disease,” Stout said. “At completion, attendees meet the knowledge requirements for the very first Legionella professional qualifications standard [ASSE 12080]. IAPMO’s expertise in education and training, together with Special Pathogens Laboratory, provides participants with the knowledge they need to become an ASSE certified professional for Legionella water safety and management, getting us closer to ending Legionnaires’ disease!”
Attendees will gain the requisite knowledge, understanding, and competency to serve as a member of a facilities water safety team to help protect against Legionella outbreaks and react to one appropriately should it occur. The program will focus on the development of a risk assessment analysis, and water management and sampling plan, for protection from Legionella and other waterborne pathogens. The training will also cover the codes, and the resources, understanding, and skills needed to conduct a facility risk assessment and implement a water safety and management program to reduce the risk of infections due to Legionella.
“By partnering with Special Pathogens Laboratory, both organizations have been able to complement each other’s strengths in order to create a much-needed training and certification program,” said Tony Marcello, IAPMO’s vice president of Training and Credential Services. “We are very excited about the difference this program can make in protecting the health and safety of building occupants as well as helping those who own and manage facilities lower their liability risks.”
The ASSE 12080 certification exam will be administered at the end. Attendees who pass the exam will become certified as Legionella Water Safety and Management Specialists.
The training program is scheduled for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 17-19 at the UA Local 130 Training Center, 1400 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. The registration fee includes the ASSE exam, the SPL workbook Puzzled by Legionella? A Guide to Understanding Detection, Prevention, and Water Management, and lunch. To register, visit https://www.iapmolearn.org/topclass/searchCatalog.do?catId=129117.
For information about the ASSE 12080 standard, visit https://bit.ly/31dzNoQ.