The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final report this past week dealing with the circumstances in Flint Michigan that lead to the exposure of residents to elevated levels of lead in drinking water.
After Flint switched its drinking water supply in April 2014, inadequate water treatment exposed many Flint residents to lead. The OIG conducted an audit to examine the circumstances of and the EPA’s response to the contamination, including the federal agency’s exercise of its oversight authority. In the course of its review, the OIG issued an earlier, interim report that found the EPA had the authority and sufficient information to issue an emergency order to protect Flint residents seven months before issuing such an order.
According to Authur Elkins, EPA’s IG, “While oversight authority is vital, its absence can contribute to a catastrophic situation.” Elkins continued, “This report urges the EPA to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water programs now so that the agency can act quickly in times of emergency.” Eight of the OIG’s recommendations are resolved pending completion of corrective actions by the EPA. The ninth is unresolved.
The OIG’s final and interim audit reports, related podcasts, videos and a photo gallery are available at https://go.usa.gov/xUNSF.