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AG Frosh: Understaffing at State Agency Has Put Maryland’s Drinking Water at Risk

December 1st, 2021 by WCBC Radio

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan warning that the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Water Supply Program (WSP) is dramatically understaffed – potentially risking the safety of Maryland’s drinking water and the health and welfare of Marylanders.


WSP’s mandate is to ensure that the State’s 3,300 public drinking water systems deliver safe drinking water to 5.5 million Marylanders.  WSP is responsible for the oversight and enforcement of routine water quality monitoring at public water systems, regular onsite inspections of water systems, and response to water supply emergencies.


To assess MDE’s efforts in achieving these critical public health goals, in 2019 the EPA engaged CADMUS, a business management consulting firm, to conduct a workload analysis of the State’s WSP.  The 2021 CADMUS report found that understaffing and underfunding of the WSP program called into question the adequacy of inspections of Maryland’s drinking water systems.  The report identified a “severe gap” between WSP’s available staffing and funding resources, and those that would be required to run the program.  Specifically, it found that MDE “needs approximately. . . 187% more full-time employees (FTEs) than currently staffed, and 93% more funding than currently available to effectively implement the program and ensure safe drinking water for the public.


“Marylanders expect the State to ensure our drinking water is safe,” said Attorney General Frosh. “The EPA has warned the Administration that years of underfunding and understaffing of the Department of the Environment’s Water Supply Program have compromised its ability to conduct adequate inspections and oversight, threatening the health of millions of Marylanders.”