State to impose fees on public water utilities to pay for inspectors
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said it wants to impose new fees on public water utilities to pay for more inspectors and ensure it enforces safe drinking water standards.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said it hopes to start the rulemaking process in May and begin hiring more inspectors in September 2018. The $7.5 million in new fees would likely be passed onto Pennsylvania’s 10.7 million water customers. Drinking-water inspectors dropped from 81 in 2009 to 61 in 2017 amid years of cuts to DEP’s budget. DEP inspects 8,500 public water systems.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, inadequate staffing caused the number of unaddressed Safe Drinking Water Act violations in Pennsylvania to nearly double over five years.