IG says EPA's clean-water IT project sinking

An Environmental Protection Agency plan to upgrade the Clean Water Act Permit Compliance System is over budget and behind schedule, the agency's inspector general reports.

PCS supports the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Program. The system tracks permits, water data and inspection reports for more than 64,000 sites regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Two years ago, EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance estimated the cost of upgrading PCS at $12 million to $14 million. Since then, the project's cost has increased by 71 percent, according to the IG.

EPA officials have considered scaling back the project to bring down costs, the IG said. According to the report, these changes could result in a system that fails to meet the compliance office's basic requirements.

Besides the cost overrun, IG investigators discovered that the system's implementation date has slipped from this year to 2005.

The compliance office team prepared an interim response to the IG's findings that said the office has begun developing new strategies and is planning a phased launch.

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