In a new report to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that $298.1 billion in capital investment is needed for the nation’s wastewater and stormwater treatment and collection systems over the next 20 years. EPA’s report, released on June 3, is based on 2008 data. The total needs figure is a 17% increase over the agency’s last estimate, which used 2004 data.

EPA’s numbers are significant because construction and water industry groups frequently use them to make the case for more funding for clean-water state revolving funds.

Of the total capital needs, EPA says $192.2 billion is for publicly owned wastewater pipes and treatment facilities, $63.6 billion to correct combined-sewer overflow problems and $42.3 billion for stormwater management. EPA says the $43.4-billion increase over the 2004 total results from a combination of factors, including improved reporting from states, aging infrastructure, population growth and more protective water-quality standards.