In a highly anticipated report, a panel chartered by Congress to advise public agencies on effective governance recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revise how it appraises financial burdens when communities are required to upgrade water and sewer systems. Observers say that the revisions, if the EPA accepts them, could change the agency’s permitting and enforcement of municipalities under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, the bedrock federal environmental laws that occasionally result in multibillion-dollar modifications of water treatment facilities. That means communities could have more time to complete required projects.
Several small cracks have been discovered on the Oroville Dam’s newly rebuilt concrete spillway, prompting federal regulators to express concern about the $500 million construction project under way at the troubled facility. But state water officials said Tuesday that the series of millimeter-wide cracks on the surface of the main spillway pose no structural problems for the nation’s tallest dam. Such tiny fissures, officials said, commonly develop after massive amounts of concrete are poured.