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OIG Report on EPA Oversight of States

EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released a new report on EPA’s oversight of state drinking water programs.  The OIG examined program reviews that are conducted by the EPA Regions and compliance data that is uploaded by states to SDWIS/FED.  The OIG looked at 12 program reviews and 6 previous data verifications.  The Office surveyed all 10 EPA Regions and interviewed regional and headquarters staff, state staff, and outside organizations (including ASDWA).  The Office found inconsistencies between regions in conducting the program reviews.   Plus, these reviews lacked the comprehensiveness of the previous data verifications.  The Office also identified risks of inaccurate compliance data reported by states, especially for monitoring and reporting violations.
The report does not issue any recommendations because EPA is already taking steps to improve the process.  These steps include increased guidance and training for regional program reviews and the development of SDWIS Prime and the Compliance Monitoring Data Portal (CMDP) to improve the accuracy of reporting.  It remains to be seen if any additional EPA oversight results from this report.