Since 1974, drinking water in the city of Batavia in Illinois, USA has been contaminated with levels of radioactive elements hundreds of times higher than acceptable standards. The city agency charged with enforcing drinking water laws has reneged on its agreement with the state to clean up the pollution, has never issued a warning to consumers and has even connected more residents to the reticulated system. This is one of the 20,000 persistent violations of the law that have occurred in each of the years 1989, 1990 and 1991, only 9% of which cases were the subject of higher enforcement procedures.
In 1998 the Inspector General of the US Environment Protection Agency documented widespread failures throughout the USA by local and Federal officials to police the clean air and water laws. Inspectors were failing to inspect factories and the states were falling short of Federal goals. The auditing arm of the agency found waste water treatment plants operating with obsolete permits or without them altogether.