San Francisco's Wastewater Treatment Program Needs Reexamination and Better Management

MASAD-83-11: Published: Feb 1, 1983. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the effectiveness of construction planning and management of San Francisco's Wastewater Treatment Program which is intended to reduce pollution of the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

GAO found that reduced federal funding and uncertain state and city funding raise serious questions over the completion of the program in the foreseeable future. The city may not be able to afford such a costly undertaking if funds from other sources are not forthcoming. The outcome will not only result in construction delays, but also in the inability to fully achieve established water quality goals. GAO questioned whether an additional $2 billion should be spent to attain uncertain additional water quality benefits after the core systems are complete. The project design and change order reviews have been limited because of reduced resources.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should suggest to the state board that it fund limited additional work until the initial systems under construction are completed and until the city analyzes the costs and benefits of the remaining project.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Under the Clean Water Act, the states and EPA are not intended to perform design reviews of structural, electrical, and mechanical elements. The state and EPA are responsible for broader review, including cost-effectiveness provisions, the achievement of applicable effluent requirements, and value engineering provisions.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should amend the EPA agreements with the California State Board and the Corps of Engineers to require the state board to made periodic design reviews which include structural, electrical, and mechanical elements.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agreement with the Corps of Engineers already requires prompt disclosure of deficiencies identified during inspection to the grantee, and the Corps is complying with that agreement.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should amend the EPA agreements with the California State Board and the Corps of Engineers to require the Corps to promptly disclose to the city deficiencies it identifies during inspections.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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