EPA improves radiation monitor system

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has improved the management of its system of radiation monitors around the country over the last two years, its Office of Inspector General (OIG) said.

The OIG found that since an April 2012 report on the monitors the EPA maintains to detect ambient radiation — also known as RadNet — the agency installed more monitors, improved uptime and started replacing filters more frequently, it said in a Tuesday report.

“The EPA’s management of the RadNet as a low priority, parts shortages, and insufficient contract oversight contributed to extensive delays fixing broken monitors,” the OIG said about the 2012 report.

“Corrective actions taken by the EPA in response to our recommendations have increased the availability of critical data needed to assess radioactive threats to the public and the environment,” the OIG said about the improvements. “There are more air monitors in the network now and a greater percentage of the total monitors are operating properly.”

The EPA installed eight additional monitors since the 2012 report, the OIG said, bringing its total to 132. Of those monitors, 92.9 percent are in service, compared with 80 percent two years ago.

The EPA reduced the number of monitors that did not operate for 14 days to 4.1, from 24. It increased its rate of filter analysis and drastically cut the time between filter replacements.