A Bigger Problem Than Just Flint, MI

2015-AWWA-State-of-the-Water-Industry-Report

The current health of the industry as rated by all respondents was 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 7, down slightly from the 2014 score of 4.6; this score has fallen into a range of 4.5 to 4.9 since the survey began in 2004. In looking forward five years, the sound­ness of the water industry was expect­ed to decline to 4.4 from the 2014 score of 4.5 (again out of 7.0); this score has fallen into a range of 4.4 to 5.0 since the survey’s inception. The top five most important issues were identified as follows: (1) Renewal and replacement (R&R) of aging water and wastewater infrastructure; (2) Financing for capital improvements; (3) Long-term water supply availability; (4) Public understanding of the value of water systems and services; and (5) Public understanding of the value of water resources.  The top three current regulatory con­cerns were identified as: (1) chemical spills; (2) point source pollution; and (3) combined sewer overflows.

Buried No Longer – Confronting America’s Water  Infrastructure Challenge (AWWA)

As documented in this report, restoring existing watersystems as they reach the end of their useful lives andexpanding them to serve a growing population will cost atleast $1 trillion over the next 25 years, if we are to maintaincurrent levels of water service. Delaying the investment canresult in degrading water service, increasing water servicedisruptions, and increasing expenditures for emergencyrepairs. Ultimately we will have to face the need to “catchup” with past deferred investments, and the more we delay the harder the job will be when the day of reckoning comes.

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report -14-103 (January 2014) Drinking Water EPA Has Improved Its Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Program, but Additional Action Is Needed

GAO reviewed EPA documents, surveyed 48 subject matter experts, assessed the UCMR program against statutory requirements and other standards, and interviewed EPA officials. What GAO Recommends Congress should consider amending the Safe Drinking Water Act to allow EPA to monitor for more than 30 contaminants under certain circumstances, and to adjust statutory time frames so UCMR data can inform regulatory determinations in the same cycle. GAO, among other things, recommends that EPA vary the monitoring frequency based on contaminant type. In commenting on a draft of this report, EPA generally agreed with GAO’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

December 15, 2015, FY 2016 Omnibus for Interior & Environment Appropriations

Take a good look at the extreme drop in the ‘Full-Time Equivalents’ or ‘FTEs’ which are the number of people working at the U.S. EPA.

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report GAO-11-381, Unreliable State Data Limit EPA’s Ability to Target Enforcement Priorities and Communicate Water Systems’ Performance, June 2011

Unreported health-based and monitoring violations and incomplete enforcement data limit EPA’s ability to identify water systems with the most serious compliance problems and ensure that it is achieving its goal of targeting for enforcement those systems with the most serious compliance problems. Specifically, incomplete and inaccurate data on both violations and enforcement actions affect a scoring tool EPA and the states are using to rank systems for enforcement actions. In addition, unreliable data quality impedes EPA’s ability to monitor and report progress toward a strategic objective of reducing exposure to contaminants in drinking water.

EPA Claims to Meet Drinking Water Goals Despite Persistent Data Quality Shortcomings (U.S. EPA Office of Inspector General, Report No. 2004-P-0008, March 05, 2004)

In each of the past 4 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) incorrectly reported meeting its drinking water goal under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). The Agency reported meeting its annual performance goal for drinking water quality even though it concurrently reported that the data used to draw those conclusions were flawed and incomplete. In each of those years, EPA reported that it met its annual goal of 91 percent of the population drinking water that met health-based standards. However, EPA’s own analysis, supported by our review, indicated the correct number was unknown but less than what was reported. We must note that this inaccuracy in reporting does not necessarily indicate a direct or immediate threat to human health.