The U.S. Environmental Potection Agency (EPA) awarded $60 billion in 75% matching grants to municipalities in the late 1970s and 1980s to build sewage treatment plants, pumps and pipes. It developed effective tools to make sure those capital dollars weren’t wasted by local governments. Years later it redirected its focus on improving plant operations, and now has a formidable toolbox, including traditional enforcement, audit policy, compliance support, suspension and debarment. But it hasn’t used them effectively against municipal violators.
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