Natural Resources and Environment:

Coastal Areas' Wastewater Treatment Needs

RCED-96-177R: Published: Jun 21, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the estimated costs of meeting wastewater treatment needs nationwide and in marine coastal states, focusing on the: (1) differences in the estimated costs of coastal and inland wastewater treatment projects; and (2) extent to which federal funding is expected to meet these needs. GAO noted that: (1) the costs of meeting the nation's wastewater treatment needs will total about $110 billion over a 20-year period; (2) 23 marine coastal states account for 72 percent of nationwide wastewater treatment costs; (3) coastal projects are more costly than inland projects because they serve larger populations, and protect facilities from adverse climatic conditions; (4) federal assistance programs provide 15 percent of the funding for metropolitan area wastewater treatment projects; (5) some states have grant or loan programs to supplement federal funding, but local communities must provide the major share of funding for their wastewater treatment projects; and (6) state revolving loan funds accelerate the pace of constructing needed treatment facilities, as well as efforts to address other water quality problems.

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