In some cases, when an old water line breaks and damages a home, the homeowner is left without help. In Bath, Maine, August, 2014, an old water line broke and caused $10,000 in damage to a resident's home. Then, as is so often the case in America these days, the homeowner entered into the Kafkaesque world of "if-you're-not-rich-and-powerful-you're-screwed." Journalist Chris Chase reported that "Neither the Bath Water District nor her homeowner’s insurance carrier will cover the costs. And the same thing could happen to anyone living near a water main, according to the water district."
The homeowner, Joanne Adams, said, "I haven’t had anybody willing to even listen... It feels bad. I’ve always worked for a living and paid my taxes. This isn’t a way to treat people...I don’t have money for my taxes now." And Ms. Adams' problem could be a problem for a lot of us because, "Tracey King, a media liaison for Allstate, said a standard homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover damage from broken water mains. 'To our knowledge, there is no homeowner product that would cover water or any other substance on or below the surface of the ground, regardless of its source.'"
There are about 240,000 water line breaks per year in the United States, or about 657 per day. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America's drinking water infrastructure a letter grade of "D". During the New Deal era, the Public Works Administration put millions of dollars towards water & sewage improvements all across the country. At the same time, formerly-jobless workers in the Works Progress Administration engaged in thousands of infrastructure projects of their own, for example, installing 16,000 miles of new water lines.
When you consider our aging infrastructure, and the number of waterline breaks that occur every day, and the potential disastrous impact on homeowners, wouldn't you say that it's (past) time for a New Deal for our infrastructure?