Millions of Dollars Could Be Saved by Implementing GAO Recommendations on Environmental Protection Agency Programs

CED-81-92: Published: May 5, 1981. Publicly Released: May 5, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the opportunities to realize substantial savings through legislative and administrative changes in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) water pollution control and hazardous and solid waste programs.

Millions of dollars in savings and improved program operations would result from implementing the GAO recommendations on the water pollution control and hazardous and solid waste programs. The recommendations that would produce the most substantial savings affect the water pollution control program and would require changes to the Clean Water Act. In view of the continuing emphasis on reducing the budget deficit, controlling inflation, and improving the benefits from federal expenditures, Congress needs to give strong consideration to the recommendations.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Clean Water Act to permit exception from the national goal of swimmable waters to recognize those situations in which waters are determined to be unswimmable because of other factors, such as heavy barge traffic, cold seasons of the year, and general appearance.

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Clean Water Act to: (1) allow for increased flexibility in meeting water quality goals in those cases where it is determined that the cost to achieve such goals is prohibitive; (2) allow EPA to fund lower cost, nonstructural, or limited structural techniques that cannot be funded under current legislation and that are not normally considered operating and maintenance costs; and (3) permit federal funding of flood projects when the flooding is caused by combined sewer systems and the solution is part of a total approach designed to minimize both pollution and flooding in the combined system.

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Clean Water Act to eliminate the mandatory requirement for secondary treatment of discharges to fresh water and to permit the EPA Administrator to grant waivers, deferrals, or modifications to this requirement when the dischargers can demonstrate that the environmental impact of secondary treatment will be minimal or insignificant.

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should consider several alternatives that would give EPA the flexibility to consider costs more closely in justifying advanced waste treatment projects.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should encourage and facilitate consideration of co-disposal as an alternative waste disposal process by requiring that planned agency evaluations of co-disposal projects provide for developing and disseminating actual operating cost data that cognizant officials can use in evaluating disposal options.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should request that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) be amended to allow EPA to include a fee system to cover hazardous waste program costs where: (1) a state cannot or will not assume responsibility for its program; and (2) the agency is required by the act to assume responsibility for the state's program.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should encourage and facilitate consideration of co-disposal as an alternative waste disposal process by requiring that states and local communities consider co-disposal technology as a possible alternative during the areawide and facilities planning process and as part of RCRA planning activities.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should encourage and facilitate consideration of co-disposal as an alternative waste disposal process by establishing a construction grants funding policy which, to the extent allowed under the existing legislative authority, would provide at least the same level of funding for deserving co-disposal projects as for single-purpose, sludge-only disposal options.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should develop model legislation for the establishment of fee systems for use by states in obtaining the necessary authorizations from their legislatures.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of EPA should encourage state governments and agencies to develop self-supporting funding methods, such as fee systems, for operating and carrying out hazardous waste management programs within their jurisdictions.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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