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*	- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	13-P-0349

i	\ Office of Inspector General	August 21,2013
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At a Glance
Why We Did This Review
We conducted this review to
determine how the
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA): (1) ensures that
its efforts and initiatives are
safeguarding the nation's
drinking water supply from
attacks and natural disasters;
and (2) addressed
recommendations and
suggestions from prior
evaluations of the water
security program.
Over 297 million people in the
United States were served by
51,460 community water
systems as of September 2010.
The September 11, 2001,
attacks prompted a national
effort to secure critical
infrastructure and resources,
including drinking water. Since
the 2001 attacks, there have
also been a number of natural
disasters, such as Hurricanes
Katrina and Irene. These
events have threatened
individual drinking water
systems, resulting in unsafe
drinking water and shortages.
This report addresses the
following EPA Goal or
Cross-Cutting Strategy:
 Protecting America's waters.
For further information, contact
our Office of Congressional and
Public Affairs at (202) 566-2391.
EPA Can Better Address Risks to the Security
of the Nation's Drinking Water Through
New Authorities, Pians, and information
What We Found
EPA has implemented a number of activities to promote the security of drinking
water systems. However, strategic planning and internal controls for the water
security program need to be strengthened to allow the Agency to measure the
program's performance and progress in drinking water systems' preparedness,
prevention, response, and recovery capabilities. EPA's strategic planning in this
area is hampered by its limited authority over water security, the voluntary nature
of its water security activities, and concerns related to protecting information.
These impediments could be overcome by the water security program utilizing
available data; using alternative methods to gather data; and seeking additional
authority from Congress to collect, protect, and utilize information from water
systems. EPA should also expand its internal controls to meet Federal Managers'
Financial Integrity Act requirements.
EPA has made progress improving water security by taking corrective actions
based on the recommendations and suggestions from prior evaluations.
However, the Agency has not fully addressed three Office of Inspector General
(OIG) suggestions to establish a baseline and measure improvements, despite
agreeing with OIG's assessment. Additional work remains for EPA, as the lead
federal agency for the water sector, to enhance its efforts to manage the water
security program and help reduce risks to drinking water systems and the public.
Recommendations and Planned Agency Corrective Actions
We recommend that EPA develop a comprehensive strategic plan, assess water
security by gathering available data and incorporating measures into national
guidance, and improve internal controls by developing a program review strategy
and a multi-year review plan. We also recommend that EPA seek additional
authority from Congress and utilize the authority, if granted, to develop a baseline
and outcome measures. EPA initially agreed with four recommendations in the
draft report. After further discussions with the Agency, the OIG modified the three
remaining recommendations to seek additional authority and develop a baseline
and outcome measures. As a result of these discussions and modifications, the
Agency has also concurred with the remaining recommendations. The
recommendations are resolved with corrective actions underway.
Noteworthy Achievements
The full report is at:
EPA developed the Water Security Initiative and Water Laboratory Alliance.
The Agency also supported the establishment of many intrastate mutual aid and
assistance agreements called Water/Waste water Agency Response Networks.