Read the assigned text
chapter first and then go through the class topic list and related links
below. Be prepared to be examined on session 10 on any
or all of the environmental terms, concepts and cases below
found in chapter 5 or in the section below. For this week's
homework, answers the questions posed at the end of Chapter 2 of The
Environmental Case and briefly describe (no more than 200 words per case) the issues at stake within
two of the following
important judicial cases: (In preparing for this assignment, you should
review the link provided for this course to help you
Be aware that for the
exam you will need to be familiar with all of these cases.
Before looking at the
problem of how clean water becomes polluted, you might want to thumb
through the online guide "Florida's
Water Resources" to familiarize yourself with water resources
and issues in the State of Florida.
Water Pollution & Society: You
might want to begin this section by looking at the piece by David
Krantz and Brad Kifferstein entitled "Water
Pollution & Society."
Monitoring Water Quality: Also
take a look at the web site that the USGS keeps, monitoring the
nation's water quality.
you might want to familiarize yourself with the
of the Clean Water Act.
Impact of CWA: Here
is a web site that cites successes
and failures associated with the CWA.
Challenges Regarding Water Pollution: The
Sierra Club sees major
challenges to cleaning the nation's waters given the policies of
the Bush administration. Similar criticism can be found in the
Water at Risk," produced by the National
Resources Defense Council by Nancy Stoner.
Sources of Pollution, U.S.: Major
pollutants found in U.S. waters include the following
of Water Pollution
Water Pollution Overview: You
can briefly familiarize yourself with what is involved in water
pollution by going to this water
pollution overview site.
Pollution Source Typology: Now
is the time to become familiar with the terms "point-source"
water pollution. You can familiarize yourself with these concepts,
as well as the substances that are often released into the water by
visiting this NASA
Water Pollution Data: To
get a feel for the types of water pollutants that are being dealt
with at the state level, you should look at this EPA website
National Assessment Database." To take a look at EPA's most
recent report on the state of the nation's waters you should look at
Water Quality Report," of which a "Fact
Sheet" for that report is linked to this website.
History of Water Regulation
History of CWA: For
a complete history of the Clean Water Act, you might want to read
to the Clean Water Act," produced by the U.S. Bureau
of Land Management.
History of Water Regulation in US: For
a thorough introduction to the history of water regulation, you
should read the article by Sean Flynn and Kathryn Boudouris entitled
the Regulation and Governance of Water in the U.S."
(Click on the Clean Water Link to the left for a summary of the act)
CWA Facts and Information
Clean Water Act is regularly reviewed by Congress. You will find the
Research Service's brief to the 109th Congress ("The
Clean Water Act in the 109th Congress") to be extremely
enlightening, not only in regard to the history of the act, but in
regard to changes that Congress anticipates making in it.
Historical Timeline: The
Sierra Club provides an interesting timeline
for the Clean Water Act.
Introduction to CWA: To
begin understanding how the Clean Water Act works, you might want to
read the EPA's "Introduction
to the Clean Water Act." The entire Clean
Water Act (a.k.a. Federal Water Pollution Control Act) can be
accessed section-by-section at the following
web site. The CWA consists of six sections: (1) Title
I - Research and Related Programs, (2) Title
II - Grants for Construction of Treatment Works, (3) Title
III - Standards and Enforcement, (4) Title
IV - Permits and Licenses, (5) Title
V - General Provisions, and (6) Title
VI - State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds.
Navigable Waters: The
CWA applies only to "navigable
waters" so you ought to find out what that term means.
Regulating Point Sources:
Whereas the Clean Air Act utilized ambient air concentration levels and
then "worked backwards" to determine individual emission levels, the
Clean Water Act is built around individual effluent levels built around
what is called National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES.
The NPDES utilizes a system of "permits" relating to allowable levels of
discharge of the following classes of pollutants:
CONVENTIONAL POLLUTANTS - These pollutants
encompass the sanitary wastes of households, businesses, and
industries, to include human wastes, ground-up food from sink
disposals, and laundry and bath waters.
& GREASE - These organic substances may include
hydrocarbons, fats, oils, waxes, and high-molecular fatty acids.
Oil and grease may produce sludge solids that are difficult to
TOXIC POLLUTANTS - These are pollutants that deemed to be
particularly harmful to animal or plant life. They
are primarily grouped into organics (including pesticides,
solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins) and
metals (including lead, silver, mercury, copper, chromium, zinc,
nickel, and cadmium).
exceed the permitted level result in fines and criminal prosecution
for the polluter. Under NPDES, the discharge of a pollutant is
defined as "Any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from
any point source."
Basics of Water
Permitting: For an Overview to NPDES Permitting, you
can go to the EPA's "Water
Permitting 101" web site.
Water Treatment Works (POTW):
POTWs are a major source of "point-source" pollution. These are
the municipal sewage treatment plants that are common to most
municipalities and counties throughout the nation. These treatment
facilities take raw sewage and take them through a process of "primary,"
treatment prior to either releasing the water into a water body or
stream, or prior to using the water for drinking purposes. For an
overview of the sewage treatment process, you can go to the
BPWTT: The Best practicable waste
treatment technology (BPWTT) is defined by the United States
Environmental Protection Agency as. BPWTT is "the effective technology
that can treat wastewater, combined sewer overflows, and nonexcessive
infiltration and inflow in publicly owned or individual wastewater
treatment works" to meet applicable U.S. EPA standards for the secondary
treatment of wastewater, in regard to marine discharge waivers, more
stringent federal and state water quality standards in regard to
so-called "alternate waste management techniques." BPWTT is
based upon an evaluation of
technologies included under each of the following waste treatment
management techniques: (1) Biological or physical-chemical treatment
and discharge to receiving waters; (2) Treatment and reuse; and (3) Land
Point Sources: The EPA requires that "discharges of
process or non-process wastewater from industrial facilities [must]
be permitted either by coverage under a General Permit or an
Individual Permit. Permit requirements depend on the nature and
amount of products produced at a facility, and the resulting
pollutants in the wastewater. Many industrial categories have
corresponding Effluent Limitations Guidelines, published in the
Federal Register and subsequently added to the CFR (40
CFR Parts 405 - 471). These guidelines outline technology based effluent
requirements for pollutants related to
activities by industrial category and achievable technology."
in Statute: One of the central features of the CWA, the
NPDES, is outlined in law in
40 part 122, which also deals with Concentrated animal feeding
122.23), Concentrated aquatic animal production
122.24), Aquaculture projects (part
water discharges (part
122.26), Silvicultural activities (part
122.27), General permits (part
122.28), and New sources and new
122.29). The stature also includes the
expectations for states in regard to NPDES in
40 part 123. According to
402 of the CWA, two sets of standards are used to determine
acceptable levels of discharge:
standards — to ensure that, regardless of the
quality of the receiving water body, a type of discharge meets
a minimum level of control. Certain types of industrial
discharges, such as those into sanitary sewer systems, may not
require NPDES permits, but will be required to meet certain
local standards, and may be subject to the Industrial
Pretreatment Program. The Industrial Pretreatment Program
prevents the discharge of pollutants to a Publicly Owned
Treatment Work (POTW) which will interfere with the operation
of the POTW or its use and disposal of municipal biosolids. In
addition, the Pretreatment Program prevents the introduction
of pollutants to POTWs that may pass into rivers, lakes, and
streams, causing increased toxicity or other impacts.
Implementation of the Pretreatment Program is outlined in 40
potentially regulated by NPDES fall into three categories:
pollutants, which are grouped into organics (including
pesticides, solvents, PCBs, and dioxins) and metals (including
lead, silver, mercury, copper, chromium, zinc, nickel, and
pollutants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, or any other
substance that is not conventional or toxic."
Waste Pollution Controls:
to EPA "Effluent guidelines are national
standards for wastewater discharges to surface waters and publicly
owned treatment works (municipal sewage treatment plants). [EPA
issues] effluent guidelines
for categories of existing sources and new sources under Title III
of the Clean Water Act. The standards are technology-based (i.e.
they are based on the performance of treatment and control
technologies); they are not based on risk or impacts upon
receiving waters." To get a feel for the top industrial point sources
for pollution and to determine the toxins released from these sites
you might want to peruse the 2005 EPA report "Preliminary
2005 Review of Prioritized Categories of Industrial Discharges."
These categories covered by law are found in
40 Parts 405-424, and at
40 Parts 425-699, all of which can be perused online from the
Code of Federal Regulations.
of Pipe versus Cleaner Production: CWA makes use of what is
called "end of pipe" technologies which are
as "an approach to pollution control which concentrates upon
effluent treatment or filtration prior to discharge into the
environment, as opposed to making changes in the process giving rise
to the wastes." However, this technology is considered inferior
Terminology: There are a
number of terms related to the CWA that you
need to become familiar with:
Available Technology Economically Achievable (BATEA)
Available Control Measures (BACM)
Available Control Technology (BACT)
Available Technology (BAT)
Best Demonstrated Available
Best Management Practice (BMP)
Sources: In an effort to respond to the predictable effort by
some industries to avoid the restrictions of the CWA by discharging
their effluent through POTWs, EPA formulated a set of "pre-treatment
standards and limits." In this regard, they enforce three
particular types of standards:
Source Pollution: Non-point source
pollution is the
cause of water pollution in the U.S. According
to the EPA, Non-Point Source pollutions is defined as "
source (NPS) pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage
treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources. NPS pollution is
caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As
the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made
pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands,
coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water.
These pollutants include:
fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural lands
and residential areas;
grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production;
from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands,
and eroding stream banks;
from irrigation practices and acid drainage from abandoned mines;
and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and faulty septic systems;
deposition and hydromodification are also sources of non-point source
Source Pollution Control: A
of state, tribal, federal and local agencies work together to
control non-point source pollution. Pollution control has been managed
in part through the awarding of so-called
funds or "section
319" grants (of the CWA) to states and territories to use
management practices" clean up non-point source pollution.
These and other state and federal funds have been used to combat
non-point source pollution within the wide range of settings in which
such pollution occurs, to include sources involving:
Constitutes a "Discharge" Under the CWA: The CWA defines a
discharge as "any addition of any pollutant from any point
source" meaning that those seeking to avoid this requirement must
assert that an effluent is either not a point source or does not add to
the pollutants in the water. Numerous federal court cases have emerged in
recent years in regard to the definition of "discharge." One of
the most visible of these cases is
Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) v. Miccosukee Tribe of
Indians (2004) in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under
Section 402 of the CWA a "discharge of pollutant" can only
be considered to have occurred when the body of water that receives
the pollutant is "meaningfully distant" from the source of
Uses vs. Existing Uses of Water Under CWA:
303(c) of the CWA
that states create
of "uses" for every body of water within each
state. Such uses are in turn referred to as "designated
uses" (a.k.a. "swimmable/ fishable/ drinkable
uses") or "existing
uses" ("those which were occurring or have been achieved
since November 28, 1978") and may apply to drinking water
standards and resources, water habitats for fish and wildlife, and
recreational water uses.
Quality Standards Under CWA: The term "criteria"
which relates to water quality under the CWA has a purposefully
meaning (1) Ambient criteria are part of state water
quality standards in that an individual water quality standard is
composed of designated uses and the water quality criteria necessary
to protect those uses." (2) "water quality criteria
that reflect the latest scientific knowledge of the effects on human
health and aquatic life that can result from concentrations of
pollutants in a water body. Another term which relates to water
quality is "total
maximum daily load" (TMDL).
Efforts to Control Water Pollution:
103 (a) and
103 (b) of the CWA requires the U.S. EPA to facilitate
"cooperative activities by the States" .. "relating to
the prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution." The
vehicle for achieving this goal is via the use of interstate
"compacts" which are developed to promote the health and
quality of water that moves across state lines. Some of these compacts
can be found at the
Fish and Wildlife Service's web site.