Drinking Water: Revisions to EPA's Cost Analysis for the Radon Rule Would Improve Its Credibility and Usefulness

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for radon. In a proposed rule issued in November 1999, EPA presented a unique and complex drinking water regulation for radon. GAO found that EPA's analysis of the costs to implement the proposed radon rule has several strengths. EPA's estimates of the typical costs for water systems to buy and install radon removal technologies--a key determinant of total national costs--are reasonable for estimating national compliance costs. Moreover, EPA used ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. February 22, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for radon. In a proposed rule issued in November 1999, EPA presented a unique and complex drinking water regulation for radon. GAO found that EPA's analysis of the costs to implement the proposed radon rule has several strengths. EPA's estimates of the typical costs for water systems to buy and install radon removal technologies--a key determinant of total national costs--are reasonable for estimating national compliance costs. Moreover, EPA used recommendations from an expert panel to estimate the costs to install and maintain radon removal equipment. EPA also developed a range of annual cost estimates, rather than a single estimate, to account for uncertainty about the extent to which the less costly alternative standard will be adopted by states. EPA's analysis of the national annual costs to comply with its proposed radon drinking water rule has several limitations that, if corrected, would likely increase EPA's best estimate of these costs. EPA made two errors in estimating the various costs associated with programs to reduce radon levels in indoor air under the alternative standard--one that understated radon testing and mitigation costs by $37 million and another that overstated administrative costs by $31 million--resulting in a combined understatement of costs by $6 million. In addition, EPA's exclusion of "mixed" water systems, which use a mix of groundwater and surface water sources, effectively understated compliance costs by about $17 million."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • February 22, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Drinking Water: Revisions to EPA's Cost Analysis for the Radon Rule Would Improve Its Credibility and Usefulness, report, February 22, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293494/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.