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WASA to pay $10,000 penalty for reporting inaccurate lead sampling data

Release Date: 05/22/2007
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (May 22, 2007) – The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority will pay a $10,000 penalty for not complying with data management and reporting requirements of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order to address past problems with lead in the district’s drinking water.

The penalty results from the settlement of an August 2006 EPA administrative complaint concerning WASA’s failure to comply with a 2004 Safe Drinking Water Act consent order.

In accordance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the 2004 order required WASA to sample drinking water from at least 100 homes that were at higher risk of lead-contaminated drinking water due to lead service lines or pipes with lead solder. However, according to EPA, for the July to December 2005 monitoring period, 12 of the 103 drinking water samples had to be eliminated because of inaccurate data. These 12 samples were either taken from homes that never had lead service lines or homes where the lead service lines had already been replaced. EPA’s 2006 complaint noted that WASA submitted these samples because of a shortfall in its data management. Correct information would have indicated that these samples were not high risk residences.

WASA’s noncompliance did not interfere with reductions of lead levels in water, but it did delay EPA’s ability to confirm that the district’s drinking water was below EPA’s action level for lead. EPA did require WASA to take additional samples from high risk locations to make up for the sample shortage. EPA filed the administrative complaint to ensure the integrity of the reporting and data management for future compliance reports.

A copy of the June 2004 Safe Drinking Water Act consent order, the administrative complaint, and other information on lead in D.C. drinking water is available at www.epa.gov/dclead .