In another example of how America is failing to keep up with its basic needs, the Anchorage Daily News reports today that towns in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley — suburban Anchorage, essentially — are struggling to treat ever-growing v0lumes of human waste. Rindi White’s somewhat predictable lead about people not wanting to think about what happens after they flush gives way to some pretty stark evidence that the towns of Palmer, Wasilla and Mat-Su Borough are in deep doo-doo:
In Palmer, ammonia levels at the treatment facility off Outer Springer Loop Road already exceed federal standards and, if not fixed by 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency has threatened to fine the city up to $27,500 a day.
In Wasilla, the nitrate levels in testing wells near the city wastewater treatment center off Old Matanuska Road are high. Nitrates can pose a health risk in drinking water.
Meanwhile, throughout the Valley, septic pumpers drive thousands of extra miles a year hauling millions of gallons of septic waste from Mat-Su to Anchorage because there is no place to dump it in the Valley.
The American Water Works Association, National Association of Clean Water Agencies and others have been warning for years (PDF) about deficits in upkeep of American infrastructure. And don’t forget that interstate highway bridge that evaporated in Minnesota.