Water Pollution

EPA Budget Needs to Place Greater Emphasis on Controlling Nonpoint Source Pollution Gao ID: T-RCED-92-46 April 7, 1992

The magnitude of nonpoint source pollution, which arises from a diversity of sources, including farming, rather than from a single, specific location, makes it particularly hard to control. Unless the problem is addressed, however, the nation's water quality stands little chance of improvement. As the agency primarily responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be taking the lead in helping state and local governments deal with this problem. EPA has an ambitious agenda, but staffing and budgetary constraints are serious problems. These difficulties have been exacerbated by funding priorities that overemphasize the control of point source pollution at the expense of nonpoint source pollution. The President's budget proposals for fiscal years 1992 and 1993 afford EPA the opportunity to more closely align its funding with the relative risks to health and the environment. Given the administration's imbalanced funding proposals for EPA water quality programs, however, it will once again fall to Congress to ensure that limited funds are used more effectively in cleaning up the nation's polluted waterways.

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