Sep 26, 2015 10:51 AM

Aging water systems get federal cash, but spending lags

The Associated Press

CONCORD — New Hampshire relies heavily on a federal loan program to make improvements to its aging drinking water system but hundreds of millions more is needed.

A Joint Legislative Study Commission reported in 2013 that it would cost $857 million over a decade to address the state's drinking water priorities.

New Hampshire is not alone.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency projects it will cost $384 billion over 20 years just to maintain the nation's existing drinking water infrastructure. Despite the need, the largest federal aid program for drinking water improvements, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, has more than $1 billion sitting unspent, according to a review of data by The Associated Press.

In New Hampshire, $16 million remains unspent from the $177.9 million the state has received from the fund.

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