The Environmental Protection Agency Should Collect Overdue Industrial Cost Recovery Payments

CED-82-92: Published: Jun 3, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the Industrial Cost Recovery (ICR) Program to determine the extent of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) control over collections of ICR payments which municipalities had collected from industrial users. The specific objectives of the review were to: (1) identify the grantees that might have collected ICR payments, (2) determine the amounts due the federal government from these grantees, (3) suggest procedures to collect the federal share, and (4) determine if EPA has the authority to collect ICR payments from grantees that had or had not received payments from industrial users.

Not all grantees that collected ICR payments from industries have remitted the federal share to EPA as required by legislation. GAO discovered a lack of control over ICR payments in one EPA region that may exist in other regions. None of the eight regions reviewed had set up accounting entries for ICR payments due and amounts collected. EPA officials were unsure about the magnitude of the problem, because EPA has not conducted a nationwide survey to identify the extent of ICR payments due the federal government. In one region, officials suggested that all the ICR funds that EPA collected should be given back to the grantees for the operation and maintenance or upgrading of the treatment systems. EPA has no authority to do this. GAO believes that EPA has the authority to collect the federal share of ICR payments that grantees have already received from industrial users, but that EPA no longer has the authority to require grantees to collect ICR payments from industries which have not made payments to the grantees before the program's repeal. Grantees owing ICR payments could be identified quickly by using the Grants Information Control System. ICR coordinators and project engineers with knowledge of when the treatment facilities began functioning could contact those grantees that are likely to have collected ICR payments from industrial users. Minimal cost should be involved to collect these funds.

Recommendation 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 of EPA should require the regional administrators to identify those grantees that have collected ICR payments from industrial users and require the grantees to remit the Federal share of these collections to EPA.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency


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