New EPA Inspector General Report on Oversight of State Drinking Water Programs

Yesterday (7/19), EPA’s Inspector General released a report on management and oversight issues with state drinking water programs post-Flint. This report has gotten some press, and media stories may continue for a while.

The report summarizes what happened in Flint – the city switched their water supply and did not continue with the addition of a corrosion inhibitor. However, the report details management, oversight, and communication issues within (and between) Michigan DEQ and EPA Region 5. The report has a one-page summary, with these recommendations at the end of that summary:
We recommend that EPA headquarters and EPA Region 5 use lessons learned from Flint to improve its oversight of Safe Drinking Water Act compliance. We also recommend that EPA headquarters revise the Lead and Copper Rule to improve the effectiveness of monitoring requirements. The EPA agreed with eight of the nine recommendations and provided adequate planned corrective actions and completion dates – one recommendation isn’t resolved.

The full report is 74 pages so it will take some time to read through it and understand the details of the issues and the recommendations.The release of this report also includes a 12-minute podcast and a 4-minute YouTube video – both of which are not typical for a report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG).