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State Oversight is One of EPA’s Key Management Challenges for 2015

EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), has issued its annual report on Key Management Challenges for the Agency.  The OIG used audit, evaluation and investigative work, as well as additional analysis of agency operations, to identify the challenges.   One of the key challenges identified is state oversight, as noted in their report summary.
“The EPA Needs to Improve Oversight of States Authorized to Accomplish Environmental Goals:  We have identified the absence of robust oversight by the EPA of the states authorized to implement environmental programs. Oversight of state activities requires that the EPA establish consistent national baselines that states must meet, and the EPA must monitor the states.”
The OIG noted that EPA relies on states to implement their requirements and that 49 of the 50 states have primacy for the SDWA.  The OIG recognized improvement in oversight since prior reports (it was identified initially as a challenge in 2008).  In spite of progress, OIG believes problems remain as outlined in previous reports, with two related to drinking water, including:

  • A 2014 report found that the U.S. Virgin Islands has not met program requirements for numerous activities related to implementing Safe Drinking Water Act, among others.
  • In December 2014, the OIG reported that the EPA does not obtain all required Drinking Water State Revolving Fund project data from states, despite grants that require states to input key project information into EPA databases. The EPA also does not always use annual reviews of state Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs to assess project outcomes.

To review the complete report go here.