Thursday, March 5, 2009

Detroit Free Press: Water Mains are Ticking Time Bombs

We do love the sewer angle here, and in theory the Obama Pork Deal 2.0 should be a boon for stocks that deal in this area but since details of the stimulus plan have come out, infrastructure stocks of all stripes have been harpooned. Two names we've looked at closely are Insituform Technologies (INSU) and Northwest Pipe (NWPX) - you can see carbon copy charts of late.

The local daily has a good piece on the state of our local water infrastructure - I'm sure every major Midwest and Northeast city has the same issues. And in the West, with drought issues now an annual situation - creating an efficient network of pipes would seem to be a high priority. But first we must protect the two spotted butterfly which occupies 2 sq miles outside Nancy Pelosi's district.

Until the horde returns to this trade, it will be nothing more than a fundamental thesis, which in this day and age in the market - gets you nothing.

Via the Detroit Free Press
  • Brittle and badly aging water pipes are lurking beneath many metro Detroit communities and will cost taxpayers billions of dollars to repair or replace over the next decade. Industry experts say the area's water systems, many dating back more than 60 years, are reaching the end of their life expectancies and need massive improvements like never before.
  • Water pipes might not sound glamorous, but ruptures are causing higher water rates, tire-busting potholes, contaminated drinking water and flooded basements and streets. Large breaks often leave homes and businesses without water for several days and hinder firefighters who increasingly are finding hydrants with low pressure or no water at all.
  • Metro Detroit residents are paying $23 million a year for water that never reaches their homes or businesses because of ruptures and leaks, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers Some relief is coming this week when the state is to announce $65 million in federal stimulus funding for water improvements. Still, the funding is only a sliver of the combined $650 million that 45 metro Detroit communities requested from the stimulus for pipe repairs and replacements.
  • The pipes that snake 12,500 miles through the region experience dozens of breaks a day, sending 100 million gallons of water daily into streets and the ground, according to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. About 16% of the Detroit system's water is lost before reaching its destination. Water systems should lose no more than 10%, according to the American Water Works Association, an industry group.
  • "The water mains are a ticking time bomb," said Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, who estimates his deficit-riddled city needs more than $20 million for new and repaired pipes. "We're losing a tremendous amount of water, and that's costing the taxpayers and the City of Warren a lot of money." In early February, Warren declared an emergency after nearly 40 pipes burst in one week, more than four times the average. One break on Feb. 5 opened a crater that swallowed an SUV and flooded businesses in a strip mall on 14 Mile.
  • Officials worry that catastrophic problems are looming in many areas. Over the past few years, major ruptures have washed out roads and opened sinkholes.
Be careful... the water... it's out's everywhere, waiting for you to make a mistake.

Long Insituform Technologies in fund; no personal position

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