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A look at some of the big takeaways from the release of the redacted Mueller report. Also, on our Friday rundown: Iowa recovers from devastating floods and prepares for more. And, scallopers urged to minimize the threat to seagrass.

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Report: MD 12th Worst for Drinking-Water Violations

Small water systems in Maryland have the most violations, according to a new report. (USDA)
Small water systems in Maryland have the most violations, according to a new report. (USDA)
May 4, 2017

BALTIMORE – Water systems in Maryland have the nation's 12th worst record for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Researchers pored over Environmental Protection Agency data from 2015 and found most of the violations in Maryland were reported in smaller water systems.

Mae Wu, a staff attorney for the NRDC's Health Program, says that's true across the country, adding that drinking water systems that serve fewer than 500 people account for almost 70 percent of all drinking water violations and more than half of the health based violations.

"Perhaps a system has fewer customers who can support the buying and installing of an updated treatment system or improving the infrastructure, or the system might be managed by someone who isn't a professional water operator," she states.

The Maryland Department of Environment released a statement saying the vast majority of water system violations are corrected immediately.

The report found 77 million people get water from systems that have violations.

President Donald Trump's recent budget proposal calls for a 30 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, in the name of reducing burdensome regulations.

But the report says the cuts would mean fewer staff to enforce the law and a lot less money for grants to help smaller water systems afford needed improvements.

Jamie Consuegra, legislative director for NRDC's climate program, says 8 out of 10 violations result in no penalty at all. She says the federal government plans to cut USDA programs that keep tabs on rural community water systems.

"Despite the need for better and more enforcement of state drinking-water laws, the Trump proposal would actually reduce EPA's enforcement by nearly a quarter," she points out.

The report also found that the U.S. would need to invest about $380 billion to bring our aging water system infrastructure up to par, in compliance with safety standards.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD