Everybody’s talking

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | November 2008 Vol. 63 No. 11

We, in the underground market, understand all too well the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Yet, the assets of what’s underground are tremendously valuable and represent perhaps an even greater responsibility for safeguarding the public health and well-being. Raw sewage and unhealthy water can pose a far worse risk to public safety than a bumpy road. One just has to look at the plight of many countries around the globe (and not just developing nations), to see how quickly sickness takes its toll when potable water is not available and/or the sewer infrastructure is inadequate.

Even in the United States, that holds true. After the recent destruction of Galveston Island and other Texas coastal areas due to Hurricane Ike, it was weeks before residents were allowed back on the island or into their coastal homes. One of the primary reasons was that public officials were concerned about rampant disease due to the fact that the sewer and water systems were not yet operational enough to meet the needs of returning residents.

Our underground utilities industry cannot depend upon others to look after our interests – that’s simply not going to happen. We have to generate the opportunity to seize the day as an industry. The Liquids Assets video (the highly-anticipated production by Penn State) should be shown to every senator and congressman. The EPA should revisit and re-present the very telling GAP Analysis to Congress as well.

Perhaps the most telling economic benefit is that for every $1 invested in the sewer/water infrastructure, $10 worth of benefits are cycled back into the overall U.S. economy.

Now that’s a true economic stimulus.