EPA: Water infrastructure still a challenge

More than 2,000 water bodies have been cleaned up, thousands of acres have been added to wetlands and 85 contaminated brownfield sites have been made ready for reuse as a result of the US Environmental Protection Agency's activities in 2008.

The agency’s Fiscal Year 2008 Performance and Accountability Report says it has made progress in protecting human health and the environment.

But the report, which has been presented to Congress and President George Bush, says that the agency still faces several major challenges which could take years to resolve.

These include securing funding to construct, repair and maintain drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across the US.

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson said: “One of my stated priorities as administrator has been to leave behind a stronger EPA.

“To this end, I have supported a continuing focus on improving the agency’s performance measures, strengthening scientific knowledge and capabilities, and bolstering the well-trained and talented agency workforce.

“Despite our progress, the nation faces an array of complex challenges on energy, global climate change, and water resources issues.

“There also is a need a expand agency capabilities to respond to multiple, simultaneous catastrophic events from both natural and human-induced forces.”

Lyons Gray, EPA’s chief financial officer, said: “EPA’s commitment to financial excellence and effective use of taxpayers’ dollars in fulfilling our mission to protect human health and the environment is demonstrated in the work we do and our notable accomplishments.”

Achievements listed by the report include:

  • Providing wastewater sanitation to thousands of homes along the US-Mexico border
  • Implementing stringent new standards for ozone
  • Reassessing pesticides used on food
  • Improving emergency and disaster response preparations
  • Kate Martin

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