Environmental Protection:

EPA Faces Formidable Challenges Managing Water Quality Data

T-AIMD-93-2: Published: Aug 5, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1993.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) collection and management of water quality data. GAO noted that: (1) inconsistencies in how data are collected and managed are key contributing factors that limit comprehensive assessments of water quality and safety; (2) the EPA Office of Water is reassessing strategic goals for its water programs and considering steps necessary to implement more comprehensive, performance-based measures for water quality improvements; (3) the Office of Water is proceeding with some database improvements to facilitate access and use of data from several sources; (4) remote sensing and satellite imagery technologies could complement other analyses of physical environmental conditions; and (5) EPA is chairing an intergovernmental task force that is preparing a governmentwide strategy to coordinate water quality monitoring and assessment standards and improve data collection and dissemination.

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