Water Quality:

An Evaluation Method for the Construction Grants Program--Case Studies

PEMD-87-4B: Published: Dec 17, 1986. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 1986.

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GAO provided information on the effect of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Water Construction Grants program and guidelines for the use of data and software in evaluating sewage-treatment plant upgrades in four Pennsylvania communities.

GAO found that: (1) the volume of pollutants discharged from the plants declined substantially after the upgrades and total wastewater discharge increased at three of the four sites; (2) water quality improved significantly at two of the sites, remained unchanged at one site, and improved slightly at the fourth site; (3) although changes in three of the plants' discharges were related to water quality, the relationship was stronger at two plants under low-flow conditions and when statistical adjustments were made for variations in stream flow levels; and (4) pollutants from other municipal and industrial sources significantly affected the water-quality conditions of two plants.

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