American Society of Civil Engineers 2009 Assessment of Georgia’s Infrastructure
Macrina, JoAnn J.
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Maintenance and improvement of Georgia’s infrastructure is vital to our economy, safety, environment and quality of life. To help assure that this infrastructure meets the needs of the citizens of Georgia, the Georgia Section of ASCE developed the 2009 Georgia Infrastructure Report Card. It was released in January 2009. As was the case in the previous report card (2003), Georgia’s infrastructure once again received an overall grade of “C.” Eleven infrastructure categories were assessed: wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, energy, dams, school facilities, transit, bridges, airports, solid waste, and parks. This paper will focus on the condition of Georgia’s infrastructure within the following Water Resources categories: Wastewater “C” – Even though the City of Atlanta invested over $1 billion upgrading its aging sewer system since 2003, the majority of communities are consistently underfunding maintenance of their collection systems. Utility rate structures need to be adjusted to meet both capital improvement and maintenance costs. Drinking Water “C+” – While drinking water quality is good, much needs to be done to maintain the distribution system. There are also water supply concerns that were brought to the forefront during the recent drought. Reduced water revenues that resulted from required water conservation measures put the capital improvement programs of many municipalities in jeopardy. Stormwater “D+” – Some progress was made in the past five years; however, most of the progress was in planning with the development of the Georgia State-wide Water Plan and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District’s Watershed Management Plan. Little has been implemented and most municipalities still do not have a dedicated funding source for maintenance of stormwater infrastructure. Dams “D” – As of January 2009, one-third of the highhazard dams in the state, which are dams that could cause the loss of life if they fail, were considered deficient. The Georgia Safe Dams Program was woefully underfunded and understaffed, which resulted in a dam failure analysis backlog of more than 500 dams. This is an area of critical investment need on the state level.
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