EPA Inspector General Stresses DWSRF Improvement Needs

EPA’s Office of Inspector General has just issued a new report, Enhanced Coordination Needed to Ensure Drinking Water State Revolving Funds Are Used to Help Communities Not Meeting Standards, available online at  http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2012/20111201-12-P-0102.pdf.

The report suggests that, “Although EPA and the states use DWSRF funds to assist communities in achieving or maintaining compliance with drinking water standards, some high-priority systems were not aware of the DWSRF program…The EPA DWSRF program should encourage enhanced coordination with enforcement programs and use available Agency enforcement data and tools to identify noncompliant systems that may benefit from DWSRF funding.”

The report includes three specific recommendations to be undertaken by the Assistant Administrator for Water:

1.  In the regional annual review checklist that supports the PER, include an assessment of the coordination between state DWSRF and enforcement programs.

2.  Create a national IUP review checklist that includes a requirement for regions to assess how the state DWSRF programs take into consideration the needs of systems with multiple violations when developing the IUP and selecting projects.

3.  To help achieve the Agency’s strategic “water safe to drink” subobjective, identify and implement actions to enhance coordination between regional and state DWSRF and PWSS programs.

EPA concurred with the OIG recommendations and agreed that the following actions would be in place by March 31, 2012:

  • EPA will amend the annual review checklist to include appropriate questions to assess the coordination between state DWSRF and enforcement programs.
  • EPA will develop a national IUP review checklist that includes questions to facilitate regional assessment of how state DWSRF programs take into consideration the needs of systems with multiple violations, including current compliance status and actions underway to address compliance, when developing the IUP and selecting projects.
  • EPA will amend the regional annual review checklist to include appropriate questions to assess the coordination between state DWSRF and PWSS programs.

Because of the recent publication of the report, EPA has not yet announced how it intends to move forward in meeting these deadlines.  Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

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