EPA OIG HAB Report

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released the enclosed report “EPA Needs an Agencywide Strategic Action Plan to Address Harmful Algal Blooms” (OIG EPA Needs HABs Plan )  Also enclosed is OIG’s one-page At a Glance summary of the report (Pub Law SDWA Amend HABs-114publ45 ).

The following text is from the first page of the full report under the heading “Recommendations and Planned Agency Corrective Actions.”

“We recommend that the assistant administrator for Water develop an agencywide strategic action plan to describe the EPA’s efforts to maintain and enhance a national program to forecast, monitor, and respond to freshwater HABs. This plan should incorporate strategies for (1) closing identified knowledge gaps; (2) monitoring and tracking HABs; (3) enhancing the EPA’s leadership role in addressing freshwater HABs; (4) coordinating EPA activities internally and with states; and (5) establishing additional criteria, standards, and advisories, as the scientific information allows. We also recommend that the EPA establish new nutrient numeric water quality criteria recommendations under the Clean Water Act in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams and determine whether additional actions under the Safe Drinking Water Act are warranted.”

“The EPA completed actions to meet one recommendation and provided acceptable corrective actions and estimated completion dates for two other recommendations. The recommendation regarding numeric water quality criteria in rivers and streams remains unresolved.”

The OIG report references the “Drinking Water Protection Act” (Public Law 114–45 114th Congress Pub Law SDWA Amend HABs-114publ45) which amended the Safe Drinking Water Act and required that EPA develop a strategic plan for assessing and managing the risks of cyanotoxins in drinking water “including identifying the steps and timelines to make determinations whether to publish health advisories for cyanotoxins in drinking water provided by public water systems.  EPA submitted the required plan in November 2015, titled Algal Toxin Risk Assessment and Management Strategic Plan for Drinking Water, to Congress in November 2015 and committed to develop additional health advisories for cyanotoxins if the EPA found that it had information sufficient for such development, among other actions.  The EPA did not establish a milestone for making this determination and has not yet developed additional advisories.”

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About Dan Askenaizer

Dr. Askenaizer leads WQTS’ work on regulatory compliance support for many of our water agencies clients. Dr. Askenaizer tracks water quality and treatment regulations at the Federal and State levels and provides regulatory updates to our clients. Dr. Askenaizer has strong expertise in the development of Regulatory Monitoring and Compliance Plans (RMCPs), which he has completed for a number of water agencies. He has also been working on a number of projects dealing with the development of distribution system monitoring plans and review of nitrification control strategies. Prior to joining WQTS, Dr. Askenaizer was the Water Quality Manager for the Glendale Water and Power. Under his leadership, the Water Quality Group conducted a demonstration-scale study of chlorite for nitrification control and a pilot-scale study of biological treatment for removal of nitrate. Dan has 30 years of experience working on projects dealing with regulatory, water quality and public health issues. Dan has given numerous presentations at workshops and round-tables across the country for water utilities. Dan was instrumental in developing and implementing a Mentoring Program for water staff and was involved in a Sustainable Development team.