Water Pollution:

Observations on EPA's Efforts to Clean Up the Great Lakes

T-RCED-92-1: Published: Oct 4, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 4, 1991.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to address the Great Lakes' water pollution problems caused by industrial development, urbanization, and agricultural activities, focusing on: (1) compliance and enforcement issues associated with the Great Lakes area National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, which regulates discharges into surface waters; (2) how the NPDES program controls the discharge of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), mercury, lead, and oil and grease into the Great Lakes; and (3) EPA efforts to implement a United States-Canadian agreement's goal of eliminating discharges of persistent toxins into the Great Lakes. GAO noted that: (1) poor NPDES program enforcement has resulted in serious and long-standing NPDES permit discharge limit violations, weak and sporadic enforcement against violators, and inadequate EPA oversight of states' enforcement activities; (2) although the NPDES program places limits on discharges of some toxic and other harmful pollutants, it is not designed to eliminate those discharges completely; (3) most permits did not contain mass limits for discharges of PCB, mercury, lead, and oil and grease; and (4) although EPA has several efforts underway to implement the joint Great Lakes agreement, progress has been slow due to a variety of technical, organizational, and resource problems.

Nov 5, 2018

Sep 26, 2018

Sep 21, 2018

Sep 14, 2018

Sep 5, 2018

Aug 24, 2018

Aug 16, 2018

Jul 19, 2018

Jul 17, 2018

Jul 12, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here