EPA Announces Enforcement Actions to Protect Drinking Water at Eight Federal Facilities
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it issued eight Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) enforcement orders to federal facilities in Fiscal Year 2019. The SDWA enforcement orders were issued to ensure public health protection through compliance with federal drinking water standards at public water systems operated by federal facilities.
“Public drinking water systems operated by federal facilities must meet the same federal, state and local standards as other systems,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “Through these eight orders, EPA is helping ensure that federal public water systems protect the health of their users.”
EPA issued five orders to federal facilities for violations of the public water system requirements. These orders addressed different violations at each facility and include orders to monitor lead and copper, nitrate and total coliform bacteria; to lower copper levels; and to address system deficiencies. EPA also issued three orders to federal facilities for imminent and substantial endangerment. An order was issued to one facility to address a main water break, to another facility to address an e-coli positive sample; and a third facility to repair and replace piping in imminent danger of failing. EPA continues to work with these federal facilities to address violations of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations and ensure public health protection.
The federal facilities that received enforcement orders in FY 2019 were:
US Forest Service, Ryan Park Campground (WY): SDWA 1431 Order issued for an E. coli positive sample.
US Navy, Joint Base Anacostia- Bolling Public Water System (DC): SDWA 1414 Order issued to address uncorrected significant deficiencies to reduce the risk of contamination to drinking water.
US Forest Service, Fort Simcoe Job Corps Center Drinking Water System (WA): SDWA 1414 Order issued for failure to correct significant deficiencies pertaining to the system, failure to conduct required monitoring for nitrate, and failure to sample at the correct locations for nitrate and coliform.
US Forest Service, Blackrock Work Center Bridger-Teton National Forest (WY): SDWA 1414 Order issued for failure to monitor annually for nitrate, failure to monitor the system's source for a fecal indicator within 24 hours after total coliform positive sample, failure to monitor monthly for total coliform bacteria, and failure to notify the public of certain violations
US Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Crow Agency Water System (MT): SDWA 1431 Order issued due to a water main break. The water system has both a BIA and tribally operated plant that both serve the same community.
US Bureau of Indian Affairs, North Idaho Public Water System (ID): SDWA 1431 Order issued for failure to address severe infrastructural deficiencies within a reasonable timeframe, leading to the rupture of a corroded main pipe, and ensuing loss of pressure, bacterial contamination, and Boil Water Notice to persons served at its location on the Nez Perce Reservation.
US Indian Health Service, Blackfeet Community Hospital Public Water System (MT): SDWA 1414 Order issued for failure to monitor for lead, copper, nitrate, and total coliform bacteria.
US Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chemawa Indian School (OR): SDWA 1414 Order and Cover Letter issued due to high levels of copper in drinking water.
EPA has identified protection of drinking water as a National Compliance Initiative (NCI), indicating that it is an enforcement and compliance priority. EPA’s NCI on Reducing Noncompliance with Drinking Water Standards at Community Water Systems supports EPA’s goal of a 25 percent reduction by the end of FY 2022 in the number of community water systems that are out of compliance with health-based standards. For more information on this NCI: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-compliance-initiative-reducing-noncompliance-drinking-water-standards-community
For more information on the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and Federal Facilities: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/safe-drinking-water-act-sdwa-and-federal-facilities
Members of the public can help protect our environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations. Learn more here: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violation-general-information