a citizen's guide to

a citizen's guide to
                       ^••Illl !•	I \
Prepared by the lzaak Walton League of America, Suite 806, 1800 N. Kent
St., Arlington, Va. 22209 under contract number 68-01-0858 with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. 20460
Ubrary of Congress Catalog Card Number
June 1913
The reader is free to quote any portion of this booklet provided credit is

Fo rewo rd
Citizen action to prevent the degradation of the Nation’s
waters is hardly new. For almost 50 years, citizen activists from
Galveston Bay to Lake Superior have steadily, and in increasing
numbers taken their concerns to county board meetings, State
legislatures, enforcement conferences, Congress and the courts.
Public demand has created water pollution control agencies in
every State. Public pressure has led to increased Federal activity
and spending for water pollution abatement—and public frus-
tration led to the resurrection of the Refuse Act Program,
prompting more than 400 civil and criminal convictions against
In 1972, this public pressure convinced Congress that “steps
were necessary to restore the public’s confidence and to open
wide opportunities for the public to participate in a meaning-
ful way in the decisions of government. . . .“ In passing the
new Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, Congress specifically
provided mechanisms by which interested citizens could be in-
volved in the Act’s major programs. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), the States and local agencies are now
required to provide for public participation in the “develop-
ment, revision and enforcement of regulations, standards,
plans and programs.”
In particular, the Environmental Protection Agency, which
is charged with administering the new Federal water program,

must publish guidelines to insure that public involvement is
provided for by State and local authorities. In proposing these
guidelines, EPA called for:
(a) Public meetings, information and educational programs
on water quality
(b) Transmittal to citizens of timely and accurate informa-
tion on significant agency decisions
(c) Publication of a summary report on public participation
in connection with promulgation of regulations, stand-
ards, and effluent limitations; the submission of planning
(d) Required public hearing at specific junctures in the ad-
ministration of the total program. In many instances,
public hearings are made mandatory prior to important
agency decision-making.
EPA guidelines, however, represent only minimum require-
ments for citizen activity; they are intended as a basis for
citizen involvement at State or local levels where the most
important implementation decisions are made. Whether these
guidelines will result in a process that is responsive to the pub-
tic’s right to know and be involved will ultimately depend on
how well the citizen uses these initial tools.
The task begun by citizens must now be continued and
strengthened by informed judgment and timely action by all
Americans. As in the past, environmental decision making must
not be left to Government and industry alone. The job now
rests with citizens to learn about the Act—its terminology and
its implementation—so that available money, manpower and
technology can best be used to “restore and maintain the
quality of the Nation’s waters.” Clean Water? It’s still up to
you—now you must be up to it!

Major Objectives of the Act, 7
Standards to be Achieved, 8
Meeting the Standards, 9
Who Does What, 10
Effluent Limitations, 13
Standards for Industries, 15
Citizen Education, 20
Toxic Effluent Standards, 22
Municipal Treatment, 22
Construction Grants, 28
Water Quality Standards, 34
Municipal Facilities Plan—EPA Guideline, 40
Special Plans for High Density Areas, 41
The State Continuing Planning Process, 44
Level B Planning—A Super Level, 48
The State Permit Program, 53
States Without Permit Programs, 60
The Federal Permit Program, 60
Federal Enforcement of the Act, 65
State Enforcement of the Act, 69
Citizen Suits, 71
International Considerations, 75
National Standards and Goals, 76
Local Economic Impacts, 77
Employee Protection, 78
Separating Economics from Goals, 79
Reports, 81
Treatment Technology, 82
Glossary, 87
Bibliography, 91

Opportunities for Action (Citizen’s Role), 11
Commenting on Industrial Standards (Citizen Education), 20
Improving Municipal Treatment (Citizen’s Role), 25
Upgrading Water Quality Standards
(Citizen input—The 3 Year Review Process), 38
Improving Waste Treatment Planning (Public Participation), 44
Basin Planning Hearings (Individual Basin Plans), 46
Strengthening the State Plan (Public Participation in
the State Continuing Planning Process), 47
Involvement in the Level B Plan
(Recommendations for Public Participation), 48
Opportunities for Involvement
(Citizen Action: The Permit Program), 52
Reviewing State Programs
(Citizen Action: Approval of a State Program), 56
The Permit Issuance Process (Public Hearings), 58
Keeping dischargers in line
(Enforcement of Permit Conditions: Citizen Action), 61
Improving State Police Powers
(State Enforcement of the Act), 69
A Citizen’s Legal Rights (Citizen Suits), 71
Oversight Actions (Judicial Review of EPA ’s Actions), 72
t Recommendations for citizen action are also indicated by blue headings
in the text.

On October 18, 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control
Act Amendments became Public law 92-500. Considered to be
one of the most complex and comprehensive measures en-
acted by Congress, the Act represents the synthesis of more
than 24 years of experience—mostly dIsappointing—under
previous State and Federal statutes. The new law creates a pro-
gram based on three major elements: uniform nationwide
standards, enforceable regulations, and a permit program
based on effluent limits and geared to specific goals.
The primary aim of the Act is to “restore and maintain the
chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s
waters.” By July 1983, wherever possible, water quality is to be
suitable for recreational contact and for protection and propa-
gation of fish and wildlife. To achieve these objectives, the
Act estabrishes a national goal that discharges of pollutants be
eliminated by 1985.I * In addition, the Act emphasizes the
special need for controlling or eliminating discharges of toxic
pollutants. These national goals will be implemented by two
sHowever, the Act does not make the 1985 goal a legally binding require-

programs. The first is an expanded system of Federal grants to
plan and construct publicly owned waste treatment plants. Sec-
ondly, a permit program will be established and geared to
restricting pollutant discharges from point sources—that is,
from factories, municipalities and large agricultural operations
where pollutants enter the Nation’s waters through an outfall
pipe, sewer or other conduit. In addition to controlling point
source pollution, the Act authorizes major research and dem-
onstration programs to work toward the goal of eliminating
pollutants from runoff, acid mine drainage and other non-point
Effluent Limitations
The law creates a new system to limit discharges of all
pollutants from point sources. These minimum limits will be
set in two steps by EPA based upon the availability of proven
pollution control technology. Different limitations will apply to
municipal treatment plants and industries, and both will have
to meet increasingly stringent limitations by the 1977 and
1983 deadlines set in the Act. EPA also will set National Stand-
ards of Performance to limit effluents from newly constructed
facilities, will set pretreatment standards to be used by in-
dustries that discharge their wastes into municipal treatment
plants, and will set toxic effluent standards for sources that
discharge toxic pollutants.
Water Quality Standards
The water quality standards program will be expanded to
include intrastate standards as well as those for interstate
waters. Existing standards will be revised to tie in closely with
the major goals and deadlines in the Act. All water quality
standards will provide a yardstick to measure the effectiveness
of effluent limitations. Where limitations are inadequate to
protect high quality bodies of water, EPA will prescribe more
stringent limitations.
Standards under the Act represent goals to be achieved and

maintained. The main mechanisms for meeting these standards
are the permit program and the Act’s planning processes.
The Permit Program
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
will be the major mechanism to regulate discharges from point
sources. All such sources must obtain a permit from EPA or a
Federally approved State program. These permits will contain
compliance schedules requiring the source to reduce pollut-
ants step-by-step over a specified period of time. Sources also
must monitor and report their discharges on a continuing basis.
Violation of the compliance schedule or of any requirement in
the permit is a violation of the Act and enforceable by fines
or court action. Thus, the permit program is the key to en-
forcement of the entire Act. It is also one of the most im-
portant areas for citizen participation and involvement.
P ’ans
Four major systems of planning—municipal, areawide, State
and regional—have been set up to clarify Federal, State and
local roles in planning and management.
• Municipal planning will be directly related to the building
of publicly owned treatment works. Municipal facilities plans
must provide ways to prevent, dispose and store wastes and
must consider alternatives other than conventional structural
facilities to reduce municipal wastes.
• Areawide planning will concentrate on comprehensive
ways to control urban-industrial pollution. Areawide planning
agencies will have responsibility for obtaining Federal grants
for construction of waste treatment plants and for managing
and collecting money to maintain and upgrade existing plants.
• State planning will relate water quality data to permits and
assure that the compliance schedule under the permit is
stringent enough to protect the quality of the receiving waters.
• Regional planning—to be conducted by Federal and State
agencies—is intended to relate water pollution control and
water resource management efforts.

The Federal Role
The law requires that EPA publish procedures and regula-
tions to be followed by States, local authorities, grantees and
all others affected by the Act In addition, EPA must define the
degree of pollutant control that must be achieved by munici-
palities and industries to meet the standards. EPA also must
publish a report on the latest technology available for prevent-
ing and reducing pollutants. The law also requires EPA to
submit to Congress annual progress reports on major program
areas such as planning, research, and the status of State pro-
grams, as well as evaluations and recommendations on special
programs such as that to control acid-mine runoff.
EPA, through its ten regional offices, must also approve and
periodically review State permit programs and plans, provide
technical assistance to State and local governments, and en-
force pollution controls where other authorities fail.
The State Role
Reflecting basic State responsibility for water pollution
abatement, the Act requires the States to develop water
quality standards for all interstate and intrastate surface waters.
States must establish maximum daily loads of pollutants so as to
protect the propagation of fish and wildlife. States are also re-
quired to develop a continuing planning process, the data from
which will be used by EPA in making its 1975 report on the
Nation’s progress in the clean-up effort. In addition to operat-
ing a permit program and having major responsibility for
enforcement, States must review applications for Federal grants
to municipalities for sewage treatment plants.
Local Role
Working under Federal and State supervision, local water
pollution control authorities will have primary responsibility
for planning and management of wastes. Replacing the strategy
under previous legislation of waste disposal with that of a
management and use strategy, the new Act requires munici-
palities and industries to enter into regional planning agree-
ments to generate income for communities. Innovative strate-

1 ’1
gies requiring the inclusion of additional public and private
organizations will be needed so that waste control systems
account for land use priorities, provide economic incentives
and serve other environmental purposes such as recreation,
shoreline protection and wildlife enhancement.
Oftizens Ro e
Both the States’ and EPA’s performance will depend largely
upon the effectiveness with which citizens organize for action
and press for pollution control. In some instances, data will be
technical, and citizen groups may wish to seek expert advice
from professional organizations or help from the States and
EPA through their community support programs. Making cer-
tain that local and State agencies have the latest technical
data, sufficient professional staffing, and enough available
funding will also be a key citizen role to insure effective imple-
mentation of the water pollution control program. Using the
State and local planning and permit hearings as a rallying
point, citizens can influence State and local agency decisions.
Once initial permits are issued and planning efforts are well
underway, citizens should begin checking on compliance
schedules to make certain that industries and municipalities
are making adequate progress.
The law permits citizens with direct interest to bring suit
against any person or corporation alleged to be violating an
effluent limitation or permit, or against the Administrator of
EPA if he fails to perform any non-discretionary acts. How-
ever, legal action is expensive, time-consuming, and some-
times not the best way to penalize a polluter. Informing your
State and EPA can save legal expenses particularly since the
courts are free to award the costs of litigation to either party.
If, however, legal advice is needed, there are a number of
public interest law firms that specialize in assisting citizens in
environmental litigation.*
One organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council, has established
a “clean water project” to monitor the implementation of the Act and
assist citizens to oversee the performance of their State and local water
pollution control agencies. The Council is publishing several citizen guides
relating to particular sections of the Act as the need arises. NRDC may be
able to put citizens in touch with a number of cooperative attorneys
throughout the country who can give citizens more direct help with pressing
legal prohlems Citizens may write to the Natural Resources Defense Council,
1710 N Street, NW., Washington, D.C., 20036 for more information.

Standards for
Pollution Control
To participate effectively in the new water pollution
control program, citizens need to know some of the
basic concepts of the Act. This chapter introduces the
fundamental terminology and standards used in the
law. Each of these standards represents a goal to be
achieved or maintained.
An effluent limitation is a maximum allowable rate of dis-
charge, concentration or amount of a pollutant which may be
released from a point source* into any body of water.
Under previous water pollution legislation, the water pollu-
tion control authorities looked to the quality of lakes, rivers,
and streams—rather than to the pollutants being discharged
into them—as the basis for abatement and enforcement action.
This procedure required that States analyze the water, de-
termine the sources of pollution, and develop an implementa-
tion plan to restrict pollutant discharges. However, carrying
out this last procedure was nearly impossible for States be-
cause Federal regulations on how or whether to restrict pol-
t Po nt source—any discernable, confined, conduit including pipes, ditches,
channeLs, sewers, tunnels, vessels or other floating craft from which pollu-
tants are discharged.

Jutant discharges were either vague or totally absent. This
meant that States either had to trace each pollutant back to
the discharger, and prove he was causing sufficient damage to
the river or to public health to warrant special restrictions or
assign some arbitrary control program to point sources. The old
way was cumbersome, difficult to enforce and often inequitable
between similar industries on different bodies of water.
To remedy these difficulties, Congress selected the national
effluent limitation as the primary tool for water pollution
abatement and enforcement action. In introducing the con-
cept of national effluent limitations, the Senate Public Works
Committee stated that:
“The concept of effluent limitations clearly establishes
that the discharge of pollutants is unlawful. Unlike its pred-
ecessor program, which permitted the discharge of pol-
lutants under specific conditions, this legislation would
clearly establish the fact that no one has a right to pollute
—that pollution continues because of technological limits,
not because of any inherent right to use the Nation’s water-
ways for the purpose of disposing of wastes.”
The effluent limitation is based upon the notion that our
use of treatment technology has lagged far behind what has
been shown to work. This concept will insure that if the tech-
nology is available to reduce pollution, then industries and
municipalities must construct or improve their production or
treatment processes to meet minimum Federal requirements
for pollution control. For this reason,•the effluent limitation
has been termed “a technological control.” Since different
“classes and categories” of industries may discharge various
types and amounts of pollutants, the effluent limitation will be
geared to account for these variations.
Importance for Qualitative and Quantitative Control
EPA will establish precise and uniform effluent limitation
controls to apply to industries and municipalities nationwide
—irrespective of different water quality conditions that may
exist from State to State and body of water to body of water.
This will prevent partiality to certain industries because of

location and deter plants from relocating in those States with
less stringent pollution requirements.
Under the effluent limitation program, industries and mu-
nicipalities will have to monitor and report pollutant dis-
charges on a continuing basis. For the first time, water pollu-
tion control officials will know qualitatively and quantita-
tively the pollutants discharged into waterways, and because
effluent limitations are clearly enforceable, they place the
burden of the clean up where it rightfully belongs—upon
those who can clean up and upon those who are major
sources of pollution.
However, because effluent limitations are based upon levels
of technology rather than water quality goals, not every
national effluent limitation will necessarily improve the quality
of every body of water. However, effluent limitations are not
the only regulatory means to improve water quality. The law
states that effluent limitations shall only be a “minimum of
compliance.” Hence, if effluent limitations alone won’t do the
job, tougher restrictions must be imposed by the State or
EPA to achieve the desired water quality in a particular river,
stream, or lake.
The new legislation establishes a two-level program for the
application of effluent limitations for existing industrial sources.
The first level calls for the achievement of “best practicable
technology currently available” and the second for limitations
based on “best available technology economically achievable.”
A third level program is established for new sources. These
new source limitations will insure that plants are designed
from the ground up, with the expressed purpose of minimiz-
ing pollutant discharges. Each of these limitations functions
much like auto emissions under the Clean Air Act—EPA must
set the standards and the industry chooses how it will meet
these restrictions.
Level I—Best Practicable Technology by 1977
This level of technology is considered to be the minimum of
compliance under the law and must be achieved by all plants

not later than July 1. 1977. “Best practicable technology” will
represent the average of the best existing performance by well
operated plants within each industrial category or subcategory.
In industrial categories where existing treatment measures are
generally inadequate, EPA will set more stringent standards
if the technology can be made available through good engi-
neering practice at a reasonable cost.
Best practicable technology emphasizes treatment at the
end of the manufacturing process. However, industries are
not required to undertake any such treatment as long as their
effluent discharges meet the required limit by 1977. In some
plants, controlling leaks in pipes, purchasing higher quality
raw materials, substituting chemical additives or making
changes in process operations may be sufficient to meet the
effluent limitation, without need for construction of an indi-
vidual industrial treatment plant.
Level Il—Best Available Technology
Best available technology will be based upon the very best
control and treatment measures that have been or are capable
of being economically achieved. July 1, 1983 is the date by
which all industries must conform to Level II technology. In
general terms, the application of the best available technology
should support two major objectives:
(a) Achievement of the greatest amount of uniformity among
categories of industries
(b) Reduction in pollutants so that reasonable progress is
being made to achieve the 1985 national goal of ‘ no
In prescribing effluent limitations for Level II, EPA must con-
sider a far broader range of technological options than for
Level I. In addition to end-process treatment measures, EPA
will assess in-plant controls and recommend equipment modi-
fications that may be easily adapted to other industries. Vari-
ances in these levels must be considered only if they represent
the highest degree of control up to and including no discharge
of pollutants and, represent efficient or maximum use of tech-
no logy.

By October 1973, EPA must publish information on possible
equipment or process modifications which will meet the
1983 goal. The range of options for best available technology,
however, will depend upon the extent of industrial and aca-
demic research conducted between now and the final 1977
deadline for Level I technology. For some classes and cate-
gories of industries, EPA will be able to describe possible
Level II control measures when initial guidelines are published
in 1973. Such early detailed information on the best available
technology will be most helpful when any plant is modified,
and will encourage the installation of controls that will meet
the 1983 levels and thereby possibly avoid the need for two
separate modifications. After technological capabilities have
been determined, EPA will periodically up-date the guidelines.
EPA Development of Guidelines—
Level I and Level II
The law requires that EPA take into account certain factors
in developing its guidelines to meet the 1977 and 1983 goals.
Interested citizens should know that these considerations
• Age of equipment and facility
• Process changes
• Engineering aspects in applying control technology
• Cost and other economic, social or environmental im-
pacts of these controls as the Administrator determines
By October 1973, EPA will also publish information on all
types of pollutants, their effect on public health and welfare,
on aquatic life, on recreation, and their characteristics when
combined with other pollutants under varying conditions. This
information will be a basis for EPA’s reports on the measures
necessary to improve water quality to meet the 1983 goal. This
is also certain to be valuable scientific information for citizens
interested in pushing for more stringent effluent limitations
at State and local levels.

Level Ill—National Standards of Performance
for New Sources
What is a New Source?
The term “new source” means a plant or facility the con-
struction of which begins after EPA proposes standards for that
particular industrial category (January 1974). If a plant or
facility is constructed before the standards are published or if
no standards are established for that industry, the plant is not
a new source and will be subject only to the effluent limita-
tions for existing sources. Modification of an existing source,
however, may make it a “new source” under the law.
In January 1973, EPA published a list of specified categories
of industrial and commercial sources for which standards of
performance will be established. EPA has until January 1974
to propose standards for new sources within each category.
After an opportunity for public comment, EPA must promul-
gate the standards.
Broader Options to Minimize Pollution
When an existing plant has to clean up, it has only a limited
number of choices of how to go about it. Some changes in
raw materials or manufacturing process may be economically
feasible, while others will be costly. Pollution control in exist-
ing plants may tend to take the form of adding on treatment
facilities at the end of the manufacturing process. A new plant,
however, enjoys far broader options. It can be designed from
the ground up to minimize pollution achieving the required
effluent reduction at a lower cost.
In practice, new source standards will be similar to the
1983 effluent limitations, but with an added emphasis on
further gains in effluent reduction obtainable through changes
in the production process itself. This will be especially true
where the standards would interfere with the attainment of
water quality goals in a specific portion of navigable waters.
Unlike effluent limitations for existing sources, which are modi-
fied every five years, the law provides that new sources will
not be subject to any more stringent standards for either ten
years or the period of depreciation, whichever is shorter.

Level I, II, lit—Costs to Industries
Constructing industrial treatment plants and renovating or
purchasing equipment for in-plant manufacturing processes
will be expensive undertakings for all industries. The law re-
quires EPA to consider for each industrial category the cost
of meeting effluent limitations prior to setting any limitation
representing the best practicable technology and best avail-
able technology.
For Level I technology, the Act says EPA must weigh the
costs of proposed controls against the benefits to be achieved
by the effluent reduction.
For Level II and Level Ill technology, EPA is not required to
balance the costs against the benefits. Costs will be con-
sidered only in terms of their overall effect on an industrial
category’s economic status, rather than any effects on water
quality. EPA thus may set tough standards without having to
estimate all water quality improvements that might result.
Means of Expressing Effluent Limitations
The manner in which industrial effluent limitations are ex-
pressed will depend upon the nature of the discharge. Con-
tinuous discharges may be limited by daily load figures and in
most cases will be expressed in terms of pounds of pollutant
per pounds of product manufactured. (This will allow for
assignment of a single figure despite variations in sizes of
various manufacturing plants.) Batch discharges may be more
particularly described and limited in terms of frequency (e.g.,
not to occur more than once a week), total weight (e.g., not
to exceed 300 pounds per batch discharge), minimum time
for completion of discharge (e.g., not to be discharged over
a period of more than six hours), and concentration (e.g., dis-
charge not to exceed more than 15 parts per million of BOD).
The following is a hypothetical example of what Federal-
set effluent limitations might look like for the dairy industry.
In all cases, Federally-set limitations will be expressed in terms
of both an average daily loading figure and a maximum daily
discharge level. It will be up to the individual permit agency
(State or Federal) to assign the specific effluent limit to the
individual industry.

Effluent Limitations—Dairy Industry (Limitations—Expressed
in Terms of Pounds of Discharge per 11000 Pounds
of Product)
1,000 lbs. of product lbs. of BOD t lbs. of SS**
aid mid aid m/d
BUTTER .03 .13 .01 .11
ICE CREAM .02 .09 .02 .13
MILK .03 .12 .03 .12
DRY MILK .03 .11 .02 .09
COTTAGE CHEESE .11 .95 .13 .95
CHEESE .02 .12 .01 .11
BOD—biochemical oxygen demanding wastes (see appendix
for further explanation)
tt SS—suspended solids
a/d—average daily
m/d—maximum daily
CU zen
Effluent limitations will be based upon highly technical
studies of industrial processes. Much of the data used to set
these limitations will come from industry itself. Even the most
knowledgeable citizens may need professional help to evaluate
the effect of these limitations on water quality. One way citi-
zens can find out about the impact of these limitations is
through the State basin planning process (explained in Chapter
4). The law requires State planning agencies to evaluate the
impact of effluent controls on water quality. Citizens should
find out which basins are being studied and select those for
which industrial pollutants are causing major water quality
problems. The State basin planning agency should be able to
enumerate the basins which will not meet water quality
standards, despite the application of effluent controls, as well
as those which will be substantially improved by these limita-
tions. By looking at the industrial sources along both basins,
citizens can observe which industries are making the most
progress in pollution control.
Citizens’ groups may also wish to invite industry to spell out
precisely how these controls will affect their operations: what
pollutant reductions will be required of them by 1977 and
whether or not they are doing any research to develop ad-

vanced techniques to meet the 1983 or 1985 goal of no dis-
charge. Industries should be urged to present citizens with
figures on comparative costs for installing and operating
various available technological alternatives to meet 1977 and
1983 goals. Citizen groups should then ask these industries
to explain the advantages of improving or constructing treat-
-ment plants as opposed to changing in-plant production proc-
esses and whether, for example, the least cost alternative will
also represent efficient use of technology and energy. Gather-
ing information on industries using the latest pollution control
techniques and comparing these efforts with those on the local
level may also be an effective means to judge the true impact
of these restrictions.
Even though effluent limitation guidelines may be technical,
it is important that citizens attempt to comment on proposed
effluent limitations when they are published in the Federal
Register. To facilitate review and analysis of these documents,
citizens should begin early gathering background information.
From EPA Regional offices, citizens can request Effluent Guid-
ance Documents, prepared originally as interim standards.
EPA’s benefit/cost analyses on best practicable technology,
as well as its cost evaluation for best available technology and
new sources, should be subject to careful public scrutiny.
There are economic firms throughout the U.S. which provide
low-cost services to citizens wishing assistance on the more
technical aspects of such evaluations.* Citizens may also
obtain information on upcoming EPA reports or publications
through the Citizens Bulletin. Copies may be ordered from
the Public Affairs Office of EPA.
Much of the information published on effluent limitations
may appear too technical in guideline form. On the other
hand, the implied guarantees of the Act’s public participation
policy explicitly provides for citizen involvement in the “de-
velopment and inforcement of standards and limitations.”
Citizens, therefore, have both a right and responsibility to ask
questions and expect answers in “English.”
t The Public interest Economic Center is now setting up a nationwide net-
work of economists. Citizen referrals should be directed to: Public Interest
Economic Center, 1714 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C.,

The mercury scare of 1970 alerted the public to the danger
of the presence of heavy metals and other toxic substances in
the Nation’s waters. In writing the 1972 Act, Congress recog-
nized the special threat posed by toxic pollutants and singled
them out for special and stringent controls.
Toxic pollutants are defined as those which will, “on the
basis of information available to the Administrator, cause
death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic muta-
tions, physiological malfunctions . . . or physical deformations”
in “any organism” or its offspring. The term “toxic pollutant”
is extended to include substances that cause toxic effects after
concentration in a food chain or in combination with other
EPA must prepare a list of pollutants for which it will
establish toxic standards, considering: the toxicity of the pol-
lutant, including its persistence or degradability, its effect on
various organisms, the importance of the affected organisms,
and their presence in any waters (including those far down-
stream from the receiving waters.) After a public hearing, EPA
must set an effluent standard for each listed pollutant. The
standard may prohibit or merely limit discharge of the sub-
stance, but must provide an “ample margin of safety.”
The standards, which must take effect by January 1975, will
be subject to review at least once every three years; additional
substances can be added to the list as required.
The standards for toxic materials do not depend upon eco-
nomic feasibility nor the availability of treatment technologies;
technological and economic conveniece must bow before an
overriding threat to public health and velfare in the protection
of aquatic life.
As the House Public Works Committee stated: “that
the discharge of toxic pollutants (is) much too danger-
ous to be permitted on merely economic grounds.”
In the last century, the nation’s ability to pollute has out-
stripped our capacity to provide adequate municipal treat-

ment. Currently, municipal wastes account for more than 20
percent of the organic pollutant load in streams, which in
turn is responsible for oxygen depletion in the water. In addi-
tion, the phosphorus in these wastes is thought to be the
principle cause of eutrophication in many waters. The munici-
pal sewage problem is compounded by the more than one
trillion gallons of industrial wastes annually discharged through
publicly owned treatment facilities.
To cope with the expected increased in the volume of
municipal and industrial wastes handled by publicly owned
facilities, the Act sets up an ambitious program to upgrade
existing plants and construct new facilities. As with industrial
sources, existing municipal sewage plants must comply with
a two-level program of national effluent Limitations, in the
first phase, all waste treatment works constructed before June
30, 1974 must attain a minimum of secondary treatment by
July 1, 1977. By July 1, 1983 all publicly owned treatment
facilities must achieve “best practicable waste treatment tech-
nology.” For new treatment facilities, the Act establishes a
comprehensive construction grant program that will improve
the planning, design and operation of public plants.
Industries that discharge their wastes through publicly
owned treatment facilities will be subject to a special set of
limitations. These “pretreatment standards” are designed to
regulate the introduction of complex industrial wastes that
either pass through or damage the biological treatment sys-
tem. EPA will base the pretreatment standards on the principle
that the quantity and quality of industrial waste discharge
from a joint treatment system must not exceed the level that
would be permitted if the industry were discharging into the
receiving waters.
Upgrading Existing Plants
Unlike the individual industrial source, the municipal treat-
ment plant must handle quantities and concentrations of
pollutants that may change from hour to hour depending upon
variations in discharge and unusual combinations of pollutants
that combine to form new substances. Heavy runoff, by
diluting the sewage and increasing its volume, reduces treat-

ment efficiency, overloads the plant and often requires “by-
passing” of raw wastewater directly into the stream. Cold
weather can slow the action of the bacteria used in secondary
treatment processes and reduce the efficietcy of waste treat-
To establish a uniform system of standards, while allowing
for local variations, the Act provides for:
• Separate sets of limitations for municipal sewage and in-
dustrial wastes that enter a treatment facility
• Adjustment of pretreatment standards and municipal
effluent limitations by local or State authorities
• Reporting of sudden variations in discharge and occa-
sional temporary violations
Adjustment of the standards can be made on a case-by-case
basis during the permit issuance process. Citizens may request
information on the operations of treatment plants and com-
ment upon the adequacy of proposed standards before a
permit is issued. Before commenting on municipal permits,
the citizen should review the Federal effluent standards and
learn about the operation and maintenance of the local treat-
ment plant, including the volumes and concentrations of in-
dustrial and municipal wastes and runoff that it can handle.
Treating the Municipal Half—Secondary Treatment
The law requires EPA to publish information on the effluent
reduction attainable through secondary treatment. This infor-
mation is based upon studies of well-run secondary treatment
operations using the activated sludge process, trickling filters,
and oxidation ponds. (More information on these treatment
alternatives may be found in the appendix.) Maximum levels
of discharge for municipal waste water receiving secondary
treatment are stated in terms of the following pollutants:
monthly weekly
average average units
biochemical oxygen
demand 30 45 mg/liter
suspended solids 31) 45 mg/liter
tecal coliform bacteria 200 400 number/
100 milliliters units
pH between
6.0 and 9.0

In certain instances, secondary treatment works may have
been designed to attain a higher level of effluent quality than
specified under regulation. In such instances, higher treatment
requirements will be set during the permit issuance process
based upon performance data supplied by the municipality.
Other pollutants such as phosphorus and certain heavy metals,
which can be adequately removed by only a few plants, are
not covered by the secondary treatment standards; however,
effluent limitations for these and other pollutants may also be
written into the municipal facility permit.
Best Practicable Waste Treatment Technology—
The Second Step in Municipal Treatment
The law requires that all municipal treatment plants provide
best practicable treatment by July 1, 1933. Regulations on best
practicable waste treatment technology, expected in mid-1973,
are to suggest alternative processes that municipalities may
use to achieve better controls. This information will focus on
three categories of advanced treatment processes and will
outline the specific conditions to which each process is best
suited. These alternatives include:
(a) Treatment and discharge to receiving waters (includes
conventional treatment plants that employ advanced
biological or physical-chemical processes)*
(b) Treatment and re-use of waste water constituents
(c) Spray irrigation or other land disposal methods
EPA will update its definition of best practicable treatment
tech nology as research breakthroughs occur.
The definition and the application of both
secondary treatment and best practicable technology will be
complex technical matters. However, there are ways for citi-
zens to insure that their local treatment plants are achieving
the highest possible treatment levels. For example, it is a well-
known, but seldom publicized fact that many of our treatment
plants operate at efficiencies well below those for which they
have been designed. With the operation of many treatment
p t ants in a primitive condition, gross failures are ail too fre-
Treatrnent alternatives explained in appendix.

Treating Industrial and
Municipal Pollution
‘: ‘ ‘-, -----

quent. To improve operation and maintenance of waste treat-
ment facilities, we recommend that citizens:
• Learn what personnel, laboratory controls, and records
are needed for efficient and reliable plant operations
• Find out what procedures can be used to prevent, detect,
and correct plant operation and maintenance problems
• Request from EPA a copy of its latest guidelines on
minimum requirements for the design operation and
maintenance of treatment facilities
• Make certain that local authorities have an updated file
on the latest treatment alternatives. EPA’s Technology
Transfer Division publishes both a series of pamphlets on
new treatment processes that can upgrade the efficiency
of existing plants and technical manuals for municipal
engineers, summarizing the latest developments in treat-
ment technology.
Pretreatment Standards—Treating the Industrial Half
Understaffed, overloaded, and relying on delicate biological
processes, treatment plants are easily put out of commission
by the introduction of industrial wastes that damage the works,
clog the filters or kill the bacteria. Other pollutants are not
susceptible to biological treatment and simply pass through
untreated. To alleviate this problem, the 1972 Act requires that,
within approximately four years, all industrial discharges into
publicly owned treatment works must be pretreated to pre-
vent the introduction of any wastes which would “interfere
with, pass through, or are otherwise incompatible with the
treatment process.”
The pretreatment standards are not intended to discourage
the use of joint municipal-industrial treatment systems—often
the most cost-effective approach. Nor will pretreatment be
required for effluents (such as organic wastes from breweries)
that are compatible with the treatment processes of publicly
owned plants. They are designed to protect the integrity of the
municipal treatment system by placing on the discharger the
burden of removing incompatible and untreatable wastes.
The pretreatment standards, promulgated by EPA in 1973,
after an opportunity for public hearings, must take effect by

July 1976. These standards will be subject to periodic review
and revision as control technologies, operating methods, and
production processes change.
EPA guidelines will not spell out exactly how much of each
pollutant must be removed by pretreatment before these
wastes enter the muncipal plant. Unlike other types of ef-
fluent limitations, the pretreatment standards will suggest ways
for municipalities to determine pretreatment requirements for
major industrial users.
The standards will specify the minimum “unit operations”—
such as coagulation, solids separation, and neutralization—
necessary to remove pollutants incompatible with each of the
three major types of secondary treatment. The municipal
agency will then be responsible for translating the standards
into the specific levels of pollutant removal necessary: (a) to
protect its particular treatment process and (b) to reduce con-
centrations of untreatabie pollutants to a level at which direct
discharge would be permissible. The pretreatment require-
ments for each incompatible pollutant will be written into the
municipal facility’s permit—with the municipality being re-
sponsible for establishing specific pretreatment effluent limita-
tions for each industrial user.*
New Plants and Pretreatment. Pretreatment standards for new
sources must take effect by May 1974, at the same time that
the new source standards of performance must be met by
industries that discharge directly into receiving waters. This
will insure that owners of new sources will not choose to tie
into a municipal system in order to avoid stringent “new
source” requirements.
A program of Federal grants for construction of municipal
waste treatment facilities was established by the Water Pollu-
tion Control Act Amendments of 1956 and gradually enlarged
by subsequent legislation. The 1972 Water Pollution Control
Act Amendments both expand and change the Federal role.
ssee “Pretreatment and Permits” in chapter iv.

Citizens who have become accustomed to working with
provisions of the previous Acts should be aware of a number
of important innovations:
Increased Funding
The 1972 Act authorized the expenditure of $18 billion for
the construction of new publicly owned waste treatment
works over the next three years—$5 billion for fiscal 1973,
$6 billion for fiscal 1974 and $7 billion for fiscal 1975. EPA,
however, announced that it would hold funds to $2 billion for
fiscal 1973 and $3 billion for fiscal 1974, saying that spending
the full $11 billion would have an inflationary impact.
Some States and municipalities disagreed, contending that
the lower level of funding would be insufficient to meet dead-
lines for municipal clean-up established in the Act. Taking the
issue to the courts, the cities of New York and Detroit re-
ceived a favorable ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Oliver
Gasch on May 7, 1973. The judge’s decision, while not requir-
ing EPA to spend all $11 billion, does require the Agency to
consider applications up to that amount. The case was not
finally resolved when this booklet went to press.
Eligible Projects Redefined
Federal assistance will now be available for many types of
projects that were previously ineligible for grants, including:
combined storm and sanitary sewers; sewage collection sys-
tems for existing communities; facilities for storage, recycling,
and reclamation of wastes; the acquisition of lands needed
for the facilities themselves or for the disposal of residues.
These changes are intended to encourage the use of innova-
tive techniques such as the land disposal or “living filter”
method in which waste water is sprayed on the land and
treated by natural processes in the soil. New methods of deal-
ing with storm water runoff and the wastes from combined
storm and sanitary sewers can also be funded if the method is
shown to be the most cost-effective alternative; Chicago is
developing such a system designed to prevent overloading of
treatment plants through storage and subsequent phased-
treatment of storm runoff. Replacement and rehabilitation of

sewage collection systems may qualify for Federal funding in
existing communities. EPA funding for all newly eligible treat-
ment plants, however, will ultimately depend upon State pri-
ority certification.
The Federal Share
Under the previous legislation, the maximum Federal share
of the cost of new local treatment facilities was 55 percent.
Many States distributed the Federal funds among many proj-
ects, with each receiving less than the maximum allowable
percentage. The new Act provides for a flat 75 percent Fed-
eral share for qualifying projects.
Contractual Obligation
When EPA approves a grant application, the Federal govern-
ment accepts a contractual obligation to pay 75 percent of
the costs of the project. This provision assures that construc-
tion can proceed and that obligated monies will be available
when needed. This will mean that cities can make grants
without having to worry about how much money Congress
appropriates. Each phase of construction—such as feasibility
studies, design, engineering and actual construction—will be
considered as a separate project that must be approved and
funded by EPA.
Allotment by Need
Each State’s share of the Federal appropriation will be de-
termined by the ratio of the cost of the sewage treatment
facilities needed in that state to the cost of all facilities needed
nationally. Large, industrialized States, such as New York and
Michigan will be relatively favored; less highly developed
States, such as Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina and Ari-
zona will be relatively disadvantaged compared with their
previous allocations which were based on population and per
capita income.
Reimbursement For Past Construction
Some communities that constructed waste treatment facili-
ties in the past without receiving their full share of Federal

assistance will be repaid part of their costs if the project were
approved by the State water pollution control agency and
met Federal requirements at the time of construction. Projects
begun after june 1966, but before july 1972, are eligible to
receive the difference between the actual Federal contribu-
tion and 50 percent of the costs, or 55 percent if the project
was part of a comprehensive metropolitan plan. $1.9 billion
has been appropriated for this purpose.
An Integrated Approach
Historically, sewage treatment has been the responsibility
of the individual municipality—pollution control was highly
fragmented and inconsistent—each town operating in isola-
tion from the others and from recent technological advances.
To reduce the inefficiency and duplication of this approach,
the Act emphasises areawide integration of waste treatment
management and planning, and the use of advanced tech-
niques of pollution control. Specific goals include:
• The application of the best practicable waste treatment
technology over the life of the works
• Facilities that produce revenues (offsetting treatment costs)
through recycling, reclamation of waste water, the con-
fined disposal of pollutants and reuse of sludge as fertil-
• Facilities yielding a net profit through integrating sewage
treatment and recycling with the disposal of solid wastes
and thermal discharges
• Sewage treatment facilities that allow open-space devel-
opment and yield recreational benefits
• Areawide planning and management of waste treatment
providing an efficient approach to control all point and
nonpoint sources
State Priority List
Before Federal funds alloted to a State may be obligated for
a specific construction project, the State water pollution con-
trol agency must certify that the proposed treatment facility
has priority over other projects. Each State must develop and
annually revise a municipal facilities priority list. After june

30, 1973, no Federal grant may be given to any municipality
which is not on an approved priority list.
States are to give priority to construction projects that will
most rapidly improve waste treatment to meet the applicable
State and Federal standards, taking into account the popula-
tion to be sewed and the relative cost-effectiveness of the
proposed facility.
Citizens should request that the State agency prepare a
fact sheet explaining its procedures for determining priority
and including a simple definition of “cost-effectiveness” and
“need.” The States’ interpretation of these critical terms can
be checked against the EPA priority list guidelines, to be pub-
lished by July 1973.
User Charges and Cost Recovery
Under the new Act, each user of a municipal treatment
facility must pay his full share of the costs. To obtain a grant
after March 1, 1973, a municipality will have to adopt a sys-
tem of user charges insuring that all recipients of waste treat-
ment services pay their proportionate share of the costs of
operation and maintenance.
In addition, each industrial user of the municipal plant must
repay a proportion of the Federal grant corresponding to its
percentage use of the plant’s total capacity. This industrial
cost recovery system is intended to encourage industries to
choose the most cost-effective solution to their waste treat-
ment problems whether it be independent treatment or the
use of public facilities.
The municipality may retain 50 percent of the portion of
the Federal share recovered from the industrial users. The
amount kept by the city will provide a fund for future expan-
sion and reconstruction of the facility. These provisions are
designed to make the municipalities’ waste treatment facilities
financially self-sustaining.
Conditions on Federal Grants
To qualify for a Federal construction grant, applicants must
• Assure proper management of the works, including main-
tenance personnel, and operating plans

• Show that the plant will be of sufficient size to handle the
waste load, including adequate reserve capacity
• Until July 1974, show that the plant will provide a mini-
mum of secondary treatment
• After July 1973, demonstrate that the facilities’ sewage
collections are not subject to “excessive infiltration”
• After July 1974, show that the proposed facility:
—Will provide for the application of the best practicable
treatment over the life of the works
—Is the best of several alternative waste management
—Will permit the later application of advanced tech-
nology designed to recycle waste water and eliminate
discharge of pollutants
• Once the State plan has been established, show that the
facility conforms to that plan
• Once an areawide plan has been approved and an operat-
ing agency designated, show that the plant conforms to
the areawide plan; after November 1976, grants will be
made only to the designated operating agencies.
The Environmental Financing Authority
While the new Act increases the Federal share to 75 per-
cent, it also removes the requirement for State assistance in
meeting the cost of construction. In some cases, the increase
in the Federal share may be more than offset by a drop in
the State share, increasing the proportion of the cost that must
be borne by the municipality.
To insure that municipalities are able to finance the con-
struction of needed treatment facilities, the Act created a
public corporation, the Environmental Financing Authority to
purchase municipal treatment plant construction bonds that
could not be sold on the open market. Bonds will not be pur-
chased unless EPA guarantees payment of the obligation and
certifies that the municipality is unable to obtain credit at
reasonable terms and that the project is eligible for a Federal
construction grant.

Trained Personnel
Even the finest waste treatment facility is of little use if the
people operating it are not technically trained. The Act pro-
vides for grants to assist educational institutions in developing
improved instruction in design, operation, and maintenance
of treatment plants and other quality control facilities. In addi-
tion, EPA may award scholarships to attract recent high school
graduates to the waste treatment management field. EPA itself
maintains a large training program in several cities throughout
the country.
Water quality standards were first established under Federal
law in the Water Quality Act of 1965. The standards defined
planned uses of interstate and coastal waters and were in-
tended to limit the amount and distribution of pollutants per-
mitted in these waters. States were to adopt standards, hold
public hearings and submit these plus an implementation and
enforcement plan to Federal authorities for approval. Once
approved, standards became part of the Federal program,
and enforceable by Federal officials.
Water quality standards have four major components:
(a) stream use classifications: There are four categories
expressed in terms of recreational uses of the
water. For example, class A, commonly known as
swimmable waters is the highest water quality
standard; it indicates that people can conduct any
recreational activity in or on the water without
injury to health. t
(b) criteria: These are scientific measurements of the
specific amount and quality of each pollutant that
can be tolerated in the water at any given time,
official designations:
Class A Primary water contact recreation
Class B Propagation of desirable species of fish and wildlife
Class C Public water supplies (before purification)
class o Agricultural and industrial uses

depending upon its designated use. Limits on pol-
lutants such as bacteria, heavy metals or organic
pesticides are expressed in terms of maximum
concentration. Other types of pollutants have their
limitations expressed narratively, (i.e., “no residue
attributable to waste water, no visible film, oil or
globules of grease.”)
(c) anti-degradation statement: A statement certifying
that degradation of water quality is prohibited ex-
cept as a result of necessary economic develop-
(d) implementation and enforcement plan.
Standards in the 1972 Act
The 1972 law requires States to continue to apply interstate
standards established under the 1965 Act, and to establish
additional standards for intrastate waters. States have one year
to adopt standards, hold public hearings to review the stand-
ards and submit them to EPA for approval. Once standards
are approved by EPA, they will not require a further review
until 1975 or 1976.
Water quality standards are closely integrated with the 1983
interim goat of protection of fish, shellfish and wildlife, and
recreation in and on the water. To meet this goal, States will
be required to raise every stretch of water to either class A,
which provides for recreation in and on the water or class B,
which provides for the propagation of desirable species of
aquatic life and is safe for recreation on the water.
EPA will judge the adequacy of standards in terms of their
consistency with those for waters of downstream or adjacent
States. EPA will standardize use classifications and criteria so
that States bordering the same body of water aim toward the
same standard. Until 1977, EPA will accept classifications in
the C and D ranges if each standard is accompanied by a justi-
fication. After that time only waters which are naturally pol-
luted or which cannot be cleaned up by technology will qualify
for “excepted classifications.” Where a State fails to adopt
adequate standards or refuses to abide by new conditions in
standard setting, EPA, within six weeks, will promulgate stand-

iec L: UlO9
Techr Lgy
Souv :e
NOT a “source”
rivers , streams,
surface waters
major feedlots
major feedlots
lndu try
major feedlots
after May 1974)
Not tevel of
water which
provides for
recreatIon In &
on water
Level I
average of
the best
Level II
very best
achievab le
Level UI
very best
technology to
be constructed
Ju ly
Alt surface waters,
Permits State
(except those specifically
approved by EPA for
// less stringent
Permits Add-on treatment
process changes
Add-on treatment
emphasis on production
Add-on, ri process
controls, plant
design, raw materials,
—all aspects—

I industries intro-
ducing wastes
into publicly
owned treat-
ment works
All sources
Publicly owned
plants (con-
structed by
July 1974)
All publicly
Not a precise
level of
unit processes
Not a level
of technology
—whatever is
needed to get
out toxics
Average of
waste treat-
ment plants
using secondary
Average of
best advanced
July 1976 /‘
:r /
‘ May
new plants
July1977 /
V 1978
/ plants
/ constructed
,4rlor to 8/30/74
No permits
—unlim ited—
any unit process
controls needed to
prevent excess of
polfutants Into
treatment plant
—u nil miled—
any changes needed
to prohibit/limit
Add-on tightening
process controT
Construction of new
treatment systems
and addltlona
process controls
[ iretreatment
(Public treat-
ment plants)
Waste Control
(Public treat-
ment plants)

ards for the State. Most water quality standards are scheduled
for adoption or revision just prior to the issuance of guidelines
on effluent limitations (Oct. 18, 1973).
Implementation of water quality standards will be through
the State Continuing Planning Process and through the permit
program. Basin studies (described in more detail in the Plan-
ning Chapter) must show the impact of both point and non-
point sources of pollution and recommend measures to be
taken to bring water quality up to the desired standard.
In the permit program, water quality standards will serve as
a mechanism to judge the adequacy of effluent limitations in
meeting the goals of the Act. Where effluent limitations are
judged not sufficient to meet water quality standards, EPA or
the State may upgrade the limitations and impose them in the
permit. In such instances, however, the revised effluent limita-
tion will be the operative control mechanism.
Citizen Hput—Three Year Re e ’; Process
All water quality standards are to be reviewed by the States
at least once every three years, with the first review by Oc-
tober 1975. Public hearings must provide an opportunity for
citizen recommendations on improvements or modifications
of water quality standards. All new standards must provide
for a minimum of protection: for public health and welfare;
for enhancement of water quality; and, for use by all “legiti-
mate” interests. Citizens should use these hearings to request
improvements in the water quality standards. EPA will publish
a revised edition of the “Greenbook” Water Quality Criteria,
that will provide useful background information to citizens
wishing to participate in these hearings.

Under previous legislation, planning for water pollution
control has generally been inadequate, fragmented and under-
funded. The 1972 Act greatly expands the emphasis given to
planning and establishes a comprehensive program to im-
prove coordination between various water pollution control
activities at different levels of government. Ten separate sec-
tions of the law deal specifically with planning programs.
Under the new structure, the specific proposals of the most
elementary urban industrial unit are incorporated into more
comprehensive State, interstate, and national plans. From the
most specific engineering designs for sewerage allocations to
broad socio-economic plans for river basins, these plans will
influence where indijstries will be situated, where highways
and subdivisions will be built—in short—how and where
people will live in the next 20 to 50 years. In effect, citizen
participation in these plans will be involvement in the creation
of tomorrow’s communities.
The citizen’s role in these plans must first be to insure that
public disclosure mechanisms are built into planning systems
from the beginning. All plans must be subject to continuing
public scrutiny, and planning agencies should be required to
seek out the views of citizens long before programs go into
Because plans will define the water pollution goals to be

met by each community, specify public agency requirements
and contain a complete schedule of deadlines, the plan itself
can outline key points of access for citizen participation. In-
terested individuals may use the planning system as a vehicle
to focus public attention on the critical stages of agency
decision making. Once plans are under way, citizens can direct
attention on agency progress reports required under some of
the broader planning processes. These reports will evaluate
agency successes and failures in meeting the Act’s require-
ments and indicate what further measures must be taken to
cope with water pollution problems in the future.
This chapter discusses the four major
planning schemes in the Act.
Municipal facility planning is designed to provide orderly
development and submission of applications for Federal fund-
ing of waste treatment plants. Administered by currently
designated municipal authorities, this planning system will
insure minimal interruptions of facility planning until the
areawide system for more complex planning areas is approved
by EPA (expected between July 1975 and July 1976).
In developing a municipal facility plan, local agencies must
assess all available alternatives for waste treatment and select
the type of treatment that best suits the local situation while
minimizing cost and manpower. The plan’s content will de-
pend upon whether the proposed facility will be tied into a
complex of other municipal systems or will be a discrete
geographically separated plant. Only those facilities that are
systematic and provide an efficient approach to controlling
wastes will be approved by EPA. At a minimum, all municipal
facility plans will include:
(a) A cost-effectiveness analysis comparing biological, physi-
cal-chemical, and land disposal processes—to select the

most efficient treatment for the needs of the municipal
(b) An evaluation of alternatives for advanced sewer sys-
tems, including an analysis of possible interceptor con-
nections to other municipal systems
(c) An evaluation of alternative sites and service areas
(d) An environmental assessment (impact statement) of the
effects of the recommended treatment works on air,
land, water, and other resources
(e) A complete analysis of costs of all elements in the sys-
tem, (including any rainwater collection system) to meet
water quality standards for a 20-year period following
If the cost of construction is estimated to be substantial
over the first few years, EPA will require additional planning
measures, including:
(a) An analysis of the facility’s compatibility with land use
and transportation needs
(b) Development of maps showing all connecting inter-
ceptors, sewer lines and other treatment works and
(c) An areawide assessment of the nature and extent of all
types of water pollution
Citizens familiar with shortsighted, fragmented planning
schemes under previous legislation can appreciate the inclu-
sion of an environmental assessment as an integral part of the
local plan. EPA has published regulations describing minimum
requirements for municipal facility plans including measures
to minimize costs and helpful information on preparing an
environmental impact analysis.
To support existing planning processes in complex metro-
politan areas, the law calls for an integrated planning and
management scheme. This “areawide” planning process will

supplement information gathered by the State and provide a
separate authority that can act when a State fails to meet its
Creation of Areawide Planning Agencies
Following EPA guidelines, the Governor of each State must
identify areas where urban-industrial concentrations have
caused major water quality control problems. The Governor
then has four months (six months for interstate areas) to meet
with local officials, designate the boundaries of these areas,
and name the single, most capable organization to assume
responsibility for developing the plan. The Governor may
either select an existing agency or establish a new agency for
this purpose, subject to EPA approval. In either case, each
unit of local government must be represented on the plan-
ning board.
Planning Process
Each planning agency has one year from the time of its
designation to establish an apparatus for developing an area -
wide plan (continuing areawide planning process). Within
two more years, the initial plan must be completed, certified
by the Governor, and forwarded to EPA for approval. This
plan and its annual revisions must be submitted and certified
by the Governor as being consistent with the State basin plan
for that area.
Until June 30, 1975, EPA is authorized to grant 100 percent
of the costs of developing and operating the continuing plan-
ning process as well as the agency’s administrative costs. After
that time, grants of up to 75 percent can be awarded to local
agencies to continue their planning operations. Areawide
plans will include:
(a) Identification of all wastes generated in the area and all
treatment works necessary to handle municipal and in-
dustrial wastes over the next 20 years
(b) Analysis of proposed alternative treatment systems, land
acquisition needs and the necessary collection and storm
sewer systems. Development of a plan for financing all
elements of the treatment system

(c) Development of a regulatory program to control the
modification and construction of all treatment works, in-
suring that any industrial discharges entering the facility
meet pretreatment effluent standards, and identifying
the regulatory agencies
(d) Identification of processes to control:
• non-point sources of pollution, including urban-agri-
cultural run-off
• saltwater intrusion
• the disposal of all wastes (including solid wastes into
• disposal of sewage sludge
All areawide plans must be consistent with State basin plans
and any other water resources plan developed for that area
by other agencies. Wherever possible the plan must provide
for an integrated faciiity that can hook up to other operations
in the region.
Management Operations
Assuring proper administration of areawide plans is theoreti-
cally the State’s responsibility, yet actual implementation of
the plan will be on the local level. Governors must consult
with planning agencies and select the management agency or
agencies for each area by the time the first areawide plan is
submitted to EPA. The regional EPA office will evaluate the
expertise of each management agency to insure that it will
be able to cope with the substantial water quality problems
particular to urban industrial areas. To be approved by EPA, a
management agency must have authority to:
(a) Design, construct, operate, and maintain all treatment
(b) Obtain and utilize grants and other revenues from com-
munities and industries discharging into treatment facili-
(c) Obtain permits to discharge wastes and insure that dis-
charges meet all applicable standards
(d) Refuse to accept waste from any new source if it would

cause the facility to violate any applicable effluent
PubUc Participation
The Act fails to specify opportunities for citizen involve-
ment in the development of either the municipal facilities
plan or the areawide planning process. Yet, Section 101(e)
requires public participation in the development of all plans.
It is anticipated that EPA will require municipal agencies to
develop programs for public participation, including a series
of public hearings. Citizen preparation for these hearings
should involve, at a minimum:
(a) Encouraging local officials to keep the public fully in-
informed about what they and the planning board are
doing. With elected officials represented on planning
boards, citizens have the unique opportunity to insure
that planning agencies are held accountable for their
(b) Building a broad basis of support for environmentally
and economically sound treatment projects. (Past experi-
ence has shown that without citizen pressure newly con-
structed projects often turn out to be inadequate, forc-
ing outlying industries and residents to tie into other
systems.) Since both municipal facility and areawide
plans must be agreed to by all local officials, consensus
building will be a key citizen activity during the prepara-
tion of the plan.
(c) Informing residents of the need for new treatment plants,
and campaigning for local support to finance the munici-
pal share of the construction.
(d) Requesting that summary reports of all meetings and
hearings be made available for public review at local
planning agency offices.
In past years, States had the primary role for setting and
enforcing water quality standards. In the new Act, States re-

tam this responsibility, yet have the added duty of making
certain that no effluent limitation written into a permit is
inadequate to protect the water quality standard. Because of
the complex relationship between effluent discharges and
water quality, it is important that the permit issuance process
be coordinated with an overall study and planning program
on water quality. The State Continuing Planning Process is
designed to meet this need.
Through this process the State must develop:
• a program to attack water pollution where it is most
• priorities for state manpower and funding
• a means to assemble and utilize data on water quality as
a basis for issuing permits
Without a Federally approved State planning process, no State
will be allowed to operate a permit program.
Water Evaluation
The State must undertake an adequate monitoring program
to gather accurate nformation on water quality, and to tailor
abatement programs to individual stream conditions. Each
segment of every river and lake must be monitored at regular
intervals to determine ambient water quality variations. Both
point and non-point source discharges will be evaluated in
terms of their impact on water quality. From this information,
each segment will be classified into one of two categories,
indicating the severity of pollution and the difficulty in achiev-
ing the desired water quality standard. These two categories
• Water Quality Limited—in which the condition of the
water precludes attainment of the water quality standard,
even if all point sources provided the levels of treatment
required under Federal guidelines
• Effluent Limited—in which the water quality standard is
now being met or there is reasonable assurance that such
a standard will be met by the application of Federal
effluent guidelines

Where a segment is classified as “effluent limited,” the State
must develop an overall management plan to maintain water
quality. For any segment that is classified as “water quality
limited,” the State must assign maximum daily load limits re-
stricting the introduction of pollutants into the segment as a
whole. These limits, a Congressional report said, should be
sufficiently stringent to insure that a balanced population of
indigenous aquatic life can live in the stream.
Individual Basin Plans
The primary functional unit under which water quality data
will be gathered will be through studies of individual basins.
Basin planning areas may contain both water quality and efflu-
ent limited segments. EPA wishes basin area boundaries to
correspond to the 267 major and minor basins identified in
Priority Basin Accomplishment Planning. By May 1973 States
will be expected to submit designated boundaries and agen-
cies to EPA.
The details of a particular basin plan will depend upon the
complexity of problems in each segment within the basin. At
a minimum, however, all basin plans must include:
• Detailed and major descriptions of each body of water in
the basin
• Identification and analysis of all pollutant sources
• A ranking of each segment of water in order of priority
for improvement
• An analysis of measures to be taken to improve or main-
tain water quality
• Establishment of timetables for State actions
Since the individual basin plan is the central decision mak-
ing mechanism for all water quality programs, citizen partici-
pation in these studies is essential. In fact, unlike many other
of the Act’s programs, a public hearing is required before a
basin plan is approved. In addition, basin planning agencies
are required to “encourage public participation at the earliest
stages of the planning process.” In our opinion, this plan offers
perhaps the most significant avenues for substantive public

input into governmental decision making at the ground level.
Involvement in this planning process wilt also help citizens
acquire important background information which can be used
later in preparing comment for permit applications.
At the beginning of each fiscal year (beginning in 1974), a
State will submit its revised Planning Process to EPA for re-
view. This report will describe alt major milestones to be
achieved during the year and resources available to complete
these tasks.
Thereafter, States will report periodically to EPA on their
progress toward meeting the goals for the continuing planning
process. These reports will reveal whether States are setting
realistic timetables for their activities—a major fault under
previous legislation. In addition, the State’s success or failure
in meeting program deadlines will enable EPA to judge
whether abatement actions will be sufficient to meet the 1977
and 1983 goals. EPA will also use this data in making its annual
report to Congress on the nation’s overall progress in the
water clean-up effort.
Public Participation In State Continuing
Planning Process
Although the State’s Continuing Planning Process is certain
to have a profound effect on every other water program in the
State, EPA regulations do not specify what the State must do to
provide for citizen involvement The State must only submit an
annual “brief description of any public participation in the de-
velopment or revision of any planning process.” To insure
adequate opportunities for public participation, citizens
• Urge the State to make the official semiannual report
available to the public and to publish an annual summary
of progress on its success in meeting planning deadlines
• Request that the State hold a series of workshops to
solicit public opinion prior to the completion of each
phase of the planning process

Because the uses made of land and water resources are
intimately connected with and often determine water quality,
the Act establishes what it calls comprehensive “Level B ”
plans. These plans will encourage cooperation among a broad
spectrum of State and Federal agencies with statutory respon-
sibility for water pollution control, land use, and related
environmental programs.
While Level B plans may be developed around hydrological
basins (similar to State basin plans), the data base will include
more than information on water quality. Factors such as
economic growth patterns, treatment facilities, and projects
developed by the Corps of Engineers and other agencies will
be examined. Program alternatives will be developed, based
upon projected needs over the next 15 to 25 years. Subse-
quently, proposed alternatives will be evaluated for consist-
ency on a regional level before final recommendations are
sent to the President. The law requires that “Level B” plan-
ning for all determined regions be completed by 1980.
Recommendations for PubNc Participation
(a) Citizens should contact their Governor to request the
name and address of the designated agency or organiza-
tion (i.e. River Basin Commission, Interstate Coordinat-
ing Committee) as well as the names and affiliations of
individual participants.
(b) Citizens should urge that specific programs for citizen
participation be established at the outset in the planning
process. Citizens wishing to make a substantive impact
should press for financial support. For example, in New
England a citizen’s advisory committee has been funded
on a reimbursement basis for travel, phones, and other
expenses incurred while reviewing the Level B plan for
the Connecticut River.
(c) Citizens should urge that all proposed recommendations
be accompanied by an environmental impact statement
as recommended in the February 10, 1971 publication,
“Environmental Statements—Framework Studies and As-

sessments and Regional or River Basin Plans.” (Citizens
may write to the Water Resources Council for copies of
this booklet.)*
*currefltly, CEQ guidelines do not require impact statements on these
studies. Nevertheless, some of the major participants are Federal agencies
whose projects are subject to the NEPA requirements. An impact statement
requirement would help insure that the intent of the Water Pollution Control
Act is carried out. Besides providing an opportunity for interagency and
public comment, an impact statement would save citizens from having to
independently check to see that program objectives of the various plans do
not conflict.

Even the best standards will not clean up our waters by
themselves. If the national effluent limitations are to be mean-
ingful, we need a mechanism that will tell each discharger
what he must do to establish deadlines for action, that will
also provide for enforcement. The permit system, just such a
mechanism, is the key to the success of the Act.
The permits now issued under the National Pollutant Dis-
charge Elimination System (NPDES) will regulate discharges
into navigable waters from all point sources of pollution, in-
cluding industries, municipal treatment plants, large agricul-
tural feedlots and return irrigation flows. Industries discharging
into a municipal system need not obtain a permit but must
meet the pretreatment standards discussed previously.
The permits, to be valid for up to five years, can include
abatement measures required to meet the effluent limitations
for 1977 and 1983, the new source standards, toxic effluent
standards, and any more stringent limitations based upon
water quality standards , The core of the permit will be a
specific “schedule of compliance,” which prescribes an en-
forceable sequence of actions or operations leading to com-
pliance with an effluent limitation, other limitation, prohibi-
tion or standard. For example, such a schedule might set dates
for design, engineering, construction, or process changes.
These dates—no more than nine months apart—become
The Permit

check-points for measuring progress toward compliance with
the effluent limitations. Failure to meet any requirement cited
in the permit document—including any compliance schedule
will constitute a violation of the permit and a violation of the
Responsibility for administering the permit program rests
jointly with EPA and the States. EPA must establish the effluent
limitations on which the permits will be based, with the first
such limitation due October 1973. Until these limitations are
set, the permits will be based either on water quality standards
or on EPA ’s interim “guidance system”—an approximation of
the final effluent limitations. The permits may be issued by
either EPA or the States under one of two programs:
(a) The Federal permit program, under which EPA issues
permits after certification from the State
(b) A State permit program, under which the State issues the
permits following approval of the State program by EPA.
In this case, EPA retains veto power o er the issuance
of individual permits and monitors the adequacy of the
overall State program
Citizen Action: The Permit Proaram
The new permit system offers greatly expanded opportuni-
ties for citizen participation. No permit may be issued nor any
final State permit program approved without opportunities for
public hearings and consideration of written public comments.
In addition, permit applications, monitoring reports, and is-
sued permits must be available to citizens for reading and
copying. Access to the permit documents, which contain efflu-
ent data, schedules of compliance, and monitoring require-
ments, should enable citizens to effectively monitor the en-
forcement process.
There are three phases of the permit process that are par-
ticularly conducive to citizen action:
• When a State applies to the Regional EPA office for
approval of its proposed NPDES program
• When the State or EPA issues the first round of permits,
specifying effluent limitations, schedules of compliance,
and monitoring requirements

• When the State issues its quarterly report describing every
permit holder who has fallen behind in meeting his com-
pliance schedule. (Through continuous monitoring of
these compliance reports, citizens can insure that the
terms of the permits are being enforced.)
EPA can delegate to the State its authority to issue NPDES
permits if the proposed State program meets stringent Federal
requirements. Any State wishing to operate its own permit
program must submit a complete description of its proposed
NPDES program to EPA for approval. EPA will have 90 days in
which to review the State program, consider citizen com-
ments, hold public hearings, and approve or deny the State’s
Requirements for State Participation NPDES
In general, to satisfy the NPDES requirements, a State must
promulgate formal regulations so that the permit agency has
authority to:
• Issue permits which comply with all requirements of the
• Modify or revoke permits if there is a violation of the law
• Control disposal of pollutants into wells
• Inspect, monitor, and enter the premises of all dischargers
• Require reports from all permit holders and industrial
users of municipal treatment works
• Insure that all interested or potentially interested parties
have an opportunity to comment on an application prior
to issuance of a permit
• Abate violations of permits through civil and criminal
Insure that industrial users of treatment works comply
with pretreatment standards, user charges, and inspection
and monitoring provisions required under the Act
The State must also have an approved “continuing planning
process” and an enforceable law prohibiting any discharge of
pollutants not authorized by the permit

States must develop a program of surveillance sq that water
quality and point source discharges may be sampled regularly.
Major discharges must be inspected at least once a year to see
if they conform to compliance schedules; irregular spot checks
must be conducted to catch and prosecute intermittent vio-
lators; and all stretches of water must be sampled at least
once every six years.
In addition, States must be able to follow up on evidence of
violations and notify any owner of a point source who has
failed to submit his interim compliance report. Four times a
year, States must inventory all point sources and send EPA a
list of every factory or municipality that has failed to meet its
interim compliance deadlines.
Mon itorIng
States may develop their own procedures on the use and
maintenance of monitoring equipment by permit holders. The
monitoring, however, must provide a clear understanding of
the characteristics (i.e., batch discharge or continuous dis-
charge) and fluctuations in flow that occur on a regular basis.
The State must have authority to gain access to monitoring
data, equipment, to inspect and copy records, and to sample
effluents at any time.
The State must require any owner of a facility that dis-
charges toxic pollutants or that averages more than 50,000 gal-
lons per day to monitor and record his effluent on a daily
basis, and submit all monitoring reports at frequent intervals,
e.g., once a month. Smaller discharges may only be required
to submit data on an annual basis. All discharges will be re-
quired to retain copies of monitoring reports and related data
for at least three years.
Money and Manpower
A complete inventory of manpower and financial resources
available to the State permit agency must be submitted with
the State’s proposed program. EPA will judge the adequacy of
these resources in relation to both the number and size of
point sources to be monitored and inspected and the severity
of the pollution problem in the State.

No member of the board of a State permit agency may re-
ceive a significant portion of his income from holders of, or
applicants for a permit. This requirement is intedded to mini-
mize conflicts of interest in issuing permits. Many States will
be forced to change their regulations specifying that agency
boards include representatives from industry, agriculture, and
Subsurface Disposal
States participating in the permit system must develop pro-
cedures for the control of subsurface disposal methods suffi-
cient to “protect the public health and welfare and to prevent
pollution of ground and surface water resources.” The vast
bulk of the Nation’s fresh water is stored in the porous rocks
of the earth’s crust, and this vital resource is threatened by the
subsurface disposal of liquid pollutants—some of them highly
toxic—through deep well and leaching from fill areas into the
water table. Regulation of subsurface disposal may become
more critical as surface disposal is more strictly regulated and
polluters find deep well injection an increasingly attractive
alternative to waste treatment.
By October 1973, EPA is to issue technical information on
“processes, procedures, and methods to control pollution”
from well disposal. However, the Act does not give EPA clear
authority to set substantive national standards for subsurface
disposal; therefore, the States may retain broad authority to
determine their own standards for issuing injection well per-
mits. Citizens concerned about subsurface disposal might urge
their States to consider the strong regulatory policy issued in
an EPA order of October 15, 1970.
For the oil and gas industry, subsurface injection, as tradi-
tionally employed, will not be regulated under the Act if the
well is approved by the State authority, and the State “deter-
mines that such injection will not result in the degradation of
ground or surface water resources.”
Permits to Control Thermal Pollution
States must be capable of evaluating the effects of thermal
discharges on water quality. While the law requiries EPA to
establish Federal limitations on thermal pollution, these may

be waived by the State permit agency if the discharger shows
that the standard is more stringent than necessary to protect
important species of fish and shellfish. In practice then, lim-
itations on thermal standards will be established on a case-by-
case basis. Once a thermal discharge limit is written into the
permit, the discharger will not be subject to any more strin-
gent standard for a ten year period or the period of deprecia-
tion, whichever is shorter. Responsible State decisions on
thermal discharges will be heavily dependent upon scientific
information on the effects of thermal pollution on different
aquatic environments. Citizens may write to the Lake Michi-
gan Federation, 56 West Jackson, Chicago, Illinois, 66604 for
additional studies on thermal pollution.
Citizen Action: Approval of a State Permit Program
When a State applies to EPA for final permit authority, its
entire proposed NPDES program will be subject to public com-
ment Careful citizen review at this stage is vital. The effective-
ness of citizen action in the issuance, monitoring and enforce-
ment of permits will depend on the foundation laid down in
the approved permit program.
Initially, the public should participate in the enactment of
the new State laws and regulations that will be required before
the State can qualify for permit program authority. Then, when
the State submits its formal application to EPA, the Regional
Administrator of EPA is required to hold a public hearing on
the application, following at least 21 days notice. The hearing
will provide for:
• written comment by any person
• full, open discussion of the issue
• discussion between witnesses and the hearing panel
• a transcript to be submitted to EPA along with the appli-
• the exclusion of repetitive oral testimony
• five days for submitting additional statements or rebuttals
Before participating in the hearing, the citizen should check
his State’s proposed permit program against the Federal re-

quirements for State NPDES participation,* giving particular
attention to:
• membership of the State permit board
• existence of adequate State legal authority
• procedures for public notification and hearings
• requirements for complete, exhaustive permit applications
• provisions for public access to NPDES forms and docu-
• monitoring and enforcement procedures.
• procedures to control subsurface disposal of wastes
Issuing Permits: The State Program
Once its program is approved, the State can start to issue
permits, following a procedure established by EPA regulations.
The major steps in the process are:
(1) The discharger submits a permit application, providing
all data requested on the application form.
(2) The State agency submits a copy of the application to
the regional EPA Administrator for review within 90
days. (The regional Administrator may waive his right
to review permits for certain categories of sources.)
(3) The State prepares a tentative draft permit containing
proposed effluent limitations, compliance schedules,
and monitoring requirements.
(4) The State issues public notice of the application at least
30 days before the permit is to be issued and provides
public access to the permit forms and other related
(5) When the permit application covers a discharge of
more than 500,000 gallons per day or a discharge of
toxic substances, the State must issue a fact sheet de-
scribing the conditions of the proposed permit and the
procedures for public comment on the application.
t Available from EPA, ask for a copy of the 40 CFR part 124 regulation,
published in the Federal Register, December 22, 1972.

(6) The State sends copies of the fact sheet to interested
citizens on its mailing list
(7) Citizens request for hearings on the permit application.
(8) The State issues public notice of a hearing and holds
the hearing in the area where the discharge will occur.
(9) The regional administrator may comment on the pro-
posed permit within 90 days of notice.
(10) The State issues the permit for a maximum of five years.
Public Hearing Procedures
Whether a State actually holds a hearing will depend upon
the interest expressed by private citizens. EPA regulations call
for hearings if there is “significant public interest,” and stipu-
late that “instances of doubt should be resolved in favor of
holding a hearing.” The following information may be helpful
in understanding the hearing procedure.
• Notice for public hearings must be given at least 30 days
prior to the hearing in the local newspaper, at the post
office, and near the applicant’s plant or facility.
• The State will send notices of all permit applications,
hearing notices and fact sheets to interested persons and
groups. Those wishing to receive this information should
request that the State permit agency place them on the
mailing list.
Requesting a Public Hearing
• Citizens may either petition for a hearing or submit an
individual written request, stating clearly why a hearing
is warranted.
• Petitions or requests should be followed up with a phone
call to insure that the official responsible for calling the
hearing has received the request.
Understanding Your State’s Hearing Procedure
Since many States have their own procedures for holding

public hearings, citizens should ask the following questions:
• Is there a deadline date after which a citizen’s written
comments will not be accepted?
• Will citizens be able to request that a public hearing be
limited to a single, complex application? Many public
hearings will consider more than one perrhit application.
If combined hearings are required, can some other means,
such as a public meeting be provided so that citizen con-
cerns can be considered prior to the hearing? Will the
number of witnesses or the time allotted to each witness
be limited?
Preparing for the Hearing
Active citizen involvement in permit hearings is essential to
insure that stringent compliance schedules and monitoring
requirements are written into the permits and that these assure
compliance with all applicable effluent limitations, including
water quality standards. Citizens should prepare for the hear-
ing by:
• Familiarizing themselves with the basic effluent limitations
and standards contained in the EPA Effluent Guidance
Documents, the State water quality standards, and the
various EPA regulations establishing effluent limitations.
• Screening the proposed permits by comparing the sug-
gested limitations in the fact sheets against Federal and
State standards in the above documents.
• Concentrating on those permits that seem most deficient.
If the fact sheet does not provide sufficient information,
citizens should examine the permit forms and other data,
available at the State permit office for reading and photo-
copying. Reports that both EPA and the State agree reveal
trade secrets will not be available—except that all effluent
data must be made public.
• Assuring themselves that the permits contain enforceable,
detailed compliance schedules and specific monitoring
requirements as well as adequate effluent limitations.
• Coordinating their activities through citizens groups, in
order to distribute the work load and insure that every
questionable permit is subjected to public scrutiny.

State participation in the NPDES is not mandatory.
States may decide not to participate in the NPDES—
leaving all permit enforcement decisions and opera-
tions to the regional EPA office under the Federal
permit program.
Citizens should carefully evaluate whether Federal
expertise can compensate for the reduction in some of
the State’s role in the water pollution abatement effort.
Citizens should ask that States publish an analysis of
the “pros and cons” of State participation in the
NPDES. Such a statement is available from the Virginia
State Water Control Board, 4010 West Broad Street,
P.O. Box 1143, Richmond, Virginia, 23230.
If a State does not participate in the NPDES, permits will be
issued by EPA under the Federal permit program. EPA will
follow procedures very similar to those required of the States
that do have NPDES authority with the exceptions of the
following additional major provisions:
State Certification
Before a Federal permit is issued, the State must have certi-
fied that the proposed permit will fully comply with all appli-
cable standards and effluent limitations. The State may suggest
monitoring requirements needed to insure compliance with
these standards. Citizens should inquire whether their State
will provide an opportunity for public comments or hearings
before issuing the certification.
No permit can be issued if the State denies certification.
However, EPA may act without State certification if the State
fails to report on the application “within a reasonable period
of time”—three months to a year.

Federal Permit Hearings
Two sets of public hearings will be permitted on Federally
issued permits. The first is intended to be much like those
held by the State permit office in that “significant public
interest” must be shown before the Regional Administrator
grants a hearing. In addition, either before or after a public
hearing is held, any person may request an Adjudicatory hear-
ing. This hearing wilt only be held to consider substantial legal
issues or changes in the permit and witnesses will be required
to testify under oath. All parties of interest have the right to
appeal the Regional Administrator’s decision; however the
appeal must be in the form of a brief. Citizens should contact
their Regional Office to obtain further information on these
Like the State permit agency, each Regional Administrator
wilt prepare a quarterly list of all violations of Federal permits.
This list will be made available at the Regional Office for
public inspection and photocopying.
Federal Ocean Discharge Permits
Discharges into waters of the territorial seas and the water
of the contiguous zone are subject to special ocean discharge
permits, intended to restrict discharges of toxic and hazardous
substances. These permits will be based on EPA guidelines
known as ocean discharge criteria (information on the effects
of pollutants on water quality in the oceans). In restricting
ocean discharges, EPA will also explore alternatives to ocean
disposal including feasible land disposal methods. Permit issu-
ance for ocean discharges will remain largely a Federal pro-
Enforcement of Permit Conditions: Citizen Action
During the initial two year period when permits are issued
to existing sources, citizens may have a difficult time keeping
abreast of the many thousands of permits issued in their State.
Once the first round of permit hearings has ended, however,
citizens have the equally important job of seeing that permit
terms and conditions are fait :Hv carried out Dy permittees.
Citizens can o:us pressure c’ aermit vio!aror by requesting

copies of the State’s quarterly report to EPA listing each permit-
tee that has failed to meet its nine month interim compliance
requirement. Particular attention should be focused on those
sources which have been repeatedly delinquent in either sub-
rnitting monitoring reports or in notifying the State or Federal
permit agency of progress in meeting specified compliance
The list can also serve as an indicator of the State’s enter-
prise in finding and reporting violations. For example, if most
of the violations were discovered through spot checks by the
State agency, there is a good chance that it is doing an ade-
quate job of surveillance.
Citizens may monitor industrial effluents and report the
results to EPA or the State agency. Although single effluent
sample is not sufficient evidence to prove a violation, a sample
may demonstrate a need for extensive State monitoring or pro-
vide the basis for an EPA compliance order. Citizens interested
in monitoring industrial outfall pipes should work with their
State in developing procedures to insure that prompt follow-up
action will ensue when citizen samples indicate violations.
Permits and Pretreatment
An industrial user of a municipal treatment plant will not be
required to obtain a permit. However, the municipal facility
into which the industrial user pipes its wastes will be required
to have a permit, which will specify maximum levels of effluent
discharges for both the industrial and municipal components
of the joint treatment system according to the national effluent
As the permit holder, the municipality will be responsible
for imposing pretreatment standards adequate to prevent the
wastes entering the facility from damaging the works or passing
through the plant untreated. In addition, the municipality will
require each major industrial user to monitor its own effluent.
However, because these pretreatment standards are both set
and enforced by the municipality, EPA will not bring suit
against industrial users for violation of the municipal permit
unless the discharge also results in a violation of the national
effluent limitations. Thus, if an industrial user discharged a

substance that damaged the municipal plant’s equipment, but
the discharge did not exceed national effluent limitations, then
the municipality itself would be responsible for locating the
violator and stopping the discharge.
In order to reduce the administrative load on the municipal
agency, States may require that individual industrial users of
public treatment works obtain State permits, specifically listing
the pretreatment standards the manufacturer must meet. Under
such a system of pretreatment permits (already used by Vir-
ginia), the State enforcement agency can proceed directly
against a noncomplying user on the basis of an easily dem-
onstrated violation of the specific permit conditions.
Dischargers: Any owner of a discharge who has filed a
valid application within the required deadlines t (either
under the Refuse Act or under the new permit pro-
gram) and has not received a ruling from EPA or the
State permit agency, is not subject to any enforcement
actions until December 31, 1974.
t For all discharges beginning prior to july 15, 1973, the owners must file
permit applications before April 16, 1973. All other dischargers must submit
an application at least 180 days prior to the proposed commencement of the
discharge, unless otherwise granted by the permit agency.

Legal Action
The 1972 amendments thoroughly revise enforcement pro-
cedures, replacing the highly inefficient, three-stage enforce-
ment conference and the lengthy 180-day notice of the Water
Quality Act of 1965. Modeled on the strong Federal control
in the 1899 Refuse Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act, the new
enforcement procedures provide for fast, straightforward ac-
tion, while allowing EPA and the States procedural flexibility.
Under the 1965 Act, Federal jurisdiction was restricted to
interstate waters; it has now been expanded to include all
navigable waters.* However, it is the Act’s explicit intent to
assign the bulk of enforcement actions to the States, utilizing
Federal authority only in instances where States are unable or
unwilling to vigorously enforce the law.
• For violation of a permit
• For violation of any standard or limitation
*The Act asserts Federal jurisdiction over “all navigable” waters. The Con-
ference Report states that the regislators “fully intend that the term ‘navi-
gable waters’ to be given the broadest possible constitutional interpreta-
tion . .

How Federal Enforcement Works
Types of Violations
Specifically, Federal enforcement must be initiated any time
EPA finds there has been a violation of any of the following:
• New-source performance standards
• Inspection, monitoring, and entry requirements
• Toxic-effluent standards
• Any term or condition of a permit (including compliance
• Pretreatment standards
Federal discovery of violations, however, will depend upon
State officials making spot checks, tracking down violators, and
promptly reporting their findings to Federal authorities. EPA,
therefore, requires States to prepare a quarterly list of all dis-
chargers in violation of any compliance schedule.
Types of Enforcement Actions
Upon learning of a violation, the law requires the Adminis-
tratorof EPA to:
• Issue a compliance order
• Notify the discharger and the State of the violation
• Bring a civil suit or criminal proceedings
The “compliance order” mechanism can strengthen EPA’s
enforcement capabilities. When the Administrator believes a
discharger is violating the terms of his permit, but does not
view the violation as sufficiently severe to warrant a suit, he
can issue a compliance order requiring the discharger to
cease.* This order serves as a warning to the discharger. If the
alleged violator fails to comply with the order, the Adminis-
trator can bring suit. This time, however, the Government’s
case will be strengthened by the fact that it has done every-
thing in its power to rectify the situation prior to initiating
legal action.
However, when the Administrator issues a compliance order for violation
of monitoring or inspection requirements, the order will not take effect until
the polluter has had an opportunity to confer with EPA about the alleged

In line with Congress’ intent that States assume the greater
portion of enforcement authority, EPA will usually notify the
State and the discharger rather than issuing orders or bringing
suit itself. If the violator does not voluntarily comply and if
the State fails to initiate enforcement procedures within 30
days, EPA must issue a compliance order or bring a civil ac-
tion. The 30-day waiting period is not required if the violation
is threatening the public health or welfare.
in issuing compliance orders and bringing civil action, the Ad-
ministrator is granted broad authority to request any necessary
interim relief. This may include obtaining a temporary restrain-
ing order or a preliminary injunction to halt pollution until the
case is decided in court. Penalties for civil actions run as high
as $10,000 per day, however, the law does not set any mini-
mum fine.
Willful or negligent violators will be subject to more strin-
gent penalties. Those who falsify permit applications, records,
or documents, misrepresent information, or tamper with a
monitoring device may receive a $10,000 fine per day and/or
six months in jail if convicted. Criminal violations of any
standard, limitation, or permit condition are subject to fines
of between $2,500 and $25,000 per day of violation and/or one
year imprisonment. These penalties double if a discharger
persists, or repeats the violation after a first criminal convic-
Emergency Powers—Oil and
Hazardous Substances
The law grants EPA broad authority to seek immediate relief
where any pollutant or combination of pollutants is “present-
ing an imminent or substantial endangerment” to public
health or any person’s livelihood, such as the marketing of
shellfish. Although it is not clearly stated in the law, these
emergency powers are intended to implement action under
a separate program entitled “Oil and Hazardous Substances
The oil and hazardous substances section is essentially an
expansion of the oil spill control program of the 1970 Water
Quality Improvement Act except that it also includes dis-

charges or spills or other hazardous substances. Unlike the per-
mit program with its emphasis on preventive control, this
program seeks to control discharges of oil and hazardous sub-
stances through the negative mechanism of heavy fines. For
example, the owner or operator of a vessel may be fined as
much as $14,000,000 for negligence or misconduct leading to
a spill as well as an additional fine to cover the entire cost of
the clean-up.
States may impose their own restrictions on and penalties
for discharges of hazardous substances. In addition, the Coast
Guard may deny entry to any vessel that fails to meet all
The House Report states that “the list of hazardous sub-
stances must be easy to understand and must receive wide-
spread publicity.” However, no provision has been included
for citizen involvement in this process. Furthermore, the law
does not clarify the difference between a toxic and a hazard-
ous substance. Citizens should request that EPA clearly explain
these differences, the means by which each might be recog-
nized and how a citizen should go about reporting the pres-
ence in the water of either type of substance.
Review of the State Program
If a State clearly fails to properly administer its NPDES per-
mit program, EPA has the power to revoke the State’s permit
authority and administer the program itself. If, after a public
hearing, EPA determines that a State is not administering its
approved program in accordance with the Act, it must notify
the State. If after 90 days the State has failed to take correc-
tive action, the Administrator must withdraw his approval of
the State’s program. Responsibility for administering the per-
mit program will then revert to EPA.
If a State with an otherwise well run program fails to enforce
its permits, EPA will assume responsibility for enforcement
without revoking the entire State program. Before assuming
full enforcement powers, EPA must: receive information of
widespread permit violations; notify the State; allow the State
30 days to correct the failure; and give public notice of “Fed-
erally assumed enforcement” if the failures continue. EPA must

then enforce all permit conditions by issuing compliance orders
until the State convinces the Administrator that it wilt enforce
its permits.
In the initial implementation of the permit program, States
will undoubtedly encounter numerous problems. However,
citizens will have to judge whether, over the long run, the
cause of clean water will be better served by working with
the State to improve the State program or by having authority
transferred back to the Federal government.
Retained Enforcement Measures
The law specifically provides that any order to come out of
a Federal enforcement conference, or any suit brought under
the Refuse Act or previous water pollution control legislation
will continue in full force unless it conflicts with the Act’s
major objectives. However, this does not include enforce-
ment conferences, summaries, or recommendations for reme-
dial action to be taken by State water pollution control
agencies that were adopted at enforcement conferences under
the old Act.
Since the original Water Pollution Control Act of 1948,
States have always had primary responsibility for enforcement,
backed-up by Federal powers if State enforcement was insuf-
ficient. Widespread dissatisfaction over State handling of en-
forcement has produced a gradual increase in Federal au-
thority, culminating in the new Act. Yet, despite broad Federal
regulatory powers granted under the 1972 Law, Congress has
asserted that it “fully intends that the greater portion of en-
forcement action will be brought by States.”
While States are expected to develop their own procedures
for permit program enforcement, EPA regulations require that
they have procedures and authority to:
• Sue in court to impose civil and criminal penalties
• Insure that fines are comparable to Federal penalties and
that they represent an effective economic deterrent to
vio lations

• Immediately halt any substantial endangerments to public
health by:
—issuing an order or bringing suit
—immediately notifying the Regional Administrator
• Initiate follow-up action when any discharger is not meet-
ing his compliance schedule
• Modify, suspend or revoke permits after an opportunity
for a public hearing
Except in the special case of direct jeopardy to health and wel-
fare, the Federal guidelines do not reveal how and under what
conditions these enforcement activities will be initiated. The
guidelines require States to adopt new regulations to carry
out enforcement by January 1, 1974. Citizens should use this
opportunity to work with States in developing specific enforce-
ment procedures before they are submitted as part of their
permit program to EPA. In pressing for stronger procedures
and regulations, citizens should urge their State to clarify:
• What it must do if, in sampling a discharger’s effluent, a
violation is discovered
• Whether a single violation warrants a compliance order,
a fine, or merely transmission of the information to EPA
• The maximum time limitations for compliance with a State
enforcement order
• The State’s definition of “follow-up action”
The public may hear that: highly specific enforcement pro-
cedures will restrict flexibility, that enforcement must be tail-
ored to the individual discharger; or that negotiation is more
effective and less expensive than legal proceedings. Citizens
may, however, point to the experience under the Water Pol-
lution Control Act of 1965, where, in the absence of firm and
quick enforcement procedures, the Federal government spent
millions of dollars in negotiations with comparatively few
results. Moreover, it may be argued that enforcement measures
are equitable only if they fall uniformly on all polluters.
Substantial fines may help States defray their legal expenses.
EPA has suggested three options that States may incorporate

into their enforcement program to encourage compliance and
to generate additional funds:
(a) Assessing the violator for costs of investigating or moni-
toring the violation
(b) Charging the violator for removal of pollutants or for
reducing the impact of his pollution
(c) Requiring compensation to the State for damages to the
public (including loss of fish and wildlife) or payment to
affected residents in the State
Citizen response to the legal remedies available under the
Refuse Act was overwhelmingly favorable. To provide citizens
with some similar means of legal recourse, without also en-
couraging them “to engage in frivolous and harassing legal
action,” the Act provides that any citizen who is, or may be,
affected by a violator may bring suit if enforcement agencies
are unable or unwilling to act.*
The citizen may bring suit against any party (corporation,
association, State, municipality, or instrumentality of the United
States) who is alleged to be in violation of:
• Any effluent standard or limitation promulgated under
the Act—includes permit certification procedures and any
permit or term and condition of a permit, including com-
pliance schedules.
• Any order or permit issued by the Administrator or State
In bringing suit, the citizen must give 60 days notice to both
the State and to the violator, to allow voluntary compliance
or the initiation of enforcement action by the State. In the
interim, citizens may wish to seek a temporary restraining
order to halt serious pollution. In seeking immediate relief,
4 The Act’s provision reflects the Supreme court decision reached in Sierra
club v. Morton , In the case, the Court ruled that legal standing to sue
against development of a public resource depends upon a showing of direct
interest by an individual user. However, direct injury can include loss of
recreational, aesthetic and other conservational values as well as financial

citizens should expect to have to post substantial bonds as
proof of interest and of the urgency of the situation. The 60
day waiting period may be waived for violations of “new
source” or toxic standards or in the case of danger to public
health and welfare or where EPA fails to enforce a standard
in another State. Citizens filing suit under either of the first
two conditions are still required to inform EPA of their actions
by formal notice.
Restrictions on Citizen Suits
The law specifies the following restrictions on citizen spon-
sored suits:
(a) Citizens may only bring suit to the extent allowed under
the 11th Amendment of the Constitution. This Amendment
prohibits citizens in one State from bringing action against
another State. Citizens wishing to sue an upstream State for
failure to enforce a standard must urge their Governor to sue
EPA. However, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to show
the relationship between the violated standard and its inter-
state effect on water quality or on public health and welfare.
(b) Citizens may not sue to require compliance if the Ad-
ministrator or the State is actively pursuing enforcement
action against the violator. If an enforcement agency is ini-
tiating suit, citizens have the right to intervene in the case,
without having to prove “substantial or direct interest”
(c) The Act allows courts to assign the costs of litigation
to any party in the suit. While this might sometimes free citi-
zens from the expense of litigation, it is also intended to deter
them from suing without good cause.
d) EPA may not be sued unless it has failed to perform
mandatory action or duties. The law must specify that EPA
“shall” perform a specific duty, and not simply “authorize”
EPA to take action.
Judicial Review of EPA’s Action
The c zen suit pro ision—in and c f—doe . t a !ow
individuats to sue EPA for setting sta . : h t pi:/e to
insufficient to carry Out the objectke c. 1 I :e ‘\ct. n )we’ 1

citizens may go to court to seek judicial review of EPA ’s
actions regarding:
• Approval or denial of individual permits
• Establishment of standards and limitations
• Approval or denial of State permit programs
However, the Administrator’s actions may not be reviewed
in any civil or criminal proceeding for enforcement. Nor does
the judicial review process require the Administrator to modify
his actions on the basis of supplementary information, While
this tatter provision may help preserve the standards from
industries seeking to avoid stringent permit requirements, it
may also work against the citizen in seeking to upgrade the
standards. *
*However the Administrative Procedures Act allows such review if citizens
can prove that the Administrato(s decision was made “arbitrarily or capri-
ciously.” Further details on the APA are in Environmental Law, Chapter 5.
(See BibLiography.)

The decisions on how clean our waters should be cannot
be divorced from the question of how much the clean-up will
cost. Although the 1972 Act appears to be an unusually strong
document, it would be a mistake for the reader to think that
the Act commits us to cleaning up our waters, whatever the
Scattered liberally throughout the 1972 Act are provisions
requiring a consideration of the costs and benefits of pollution
control in, for example:
• The establishment of standards for “best practicable” and
“best available treatment,” and standards for new sources
• The setting of water quality-related effluent limitations
• Biennial reports to Congress by EPA
The public may hear that required levels of control will
cause the prices of our goods to rise relative to prices of
foreign products, resulting in our products being less com-
petitive in the world market. Therefore the Act calls for a
thorough study of the effects of pollution control on our world
trading position. The Secretary of Commerce is to report to
Congress each year on:
• The effects of control measures on production costs and
market prices of manufactured goods

• Levels of control expected in other countries (as water
pollution problems become more severe abroad)
• Possible shifts in competitive advantage
• Means of off-setting foreign competitive advantage, e.g.,
• Effect of such tariffs as incentives to foreign pollution
At the national level, controversy focuses on the possible
costs of meeting the long-run goals of the Act: best available
treatment and body contact water quality by 1983, and zero
discharge of pollutants by 1985. Foes of stringent pollution
limitations argue that the costs of control will be ruinous.
There are several vital factors that this argument overlooks.
First, pollution control will produce benefits as well as costs.
To be meaningful, estimates of the costs of pollution control
must be balanced against the benefits derived from clean
water. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in its
Annual Reports contends that such costs will often be out-
weighed by the benefits.
Second, predictions of economic disaster tend to ignore the
fact that the zero discharge goal for 1985 is exactly that—a
goal—and not a legal requirement. If it becomes clear that
elimination of all discharges will be prohibitively expensive
or that it will produce no corresponding gains in water quality,
the goal can and will be changed.
Third, cost estimates for zero discharge are often based on
the application of existing add-on treatment techniques. How-
ever, the no discharge goal is predicated on the use of more
economical methods, including process changes, recycling,
and in-plant controls. The development of more advanced
treatment techniques is expected to produce even further
economies. Finally, the Act specifically calls for benefit/cost
analyses so that the Nation can decide, on the basis of full
information, how clean is clean enough.

At the local level, controversy may focus on particular
plants or a locally-dominant industry. Advocates of clean
water will be confronted with arguments that stringent pollu-
tion control standards will force plants to close, cause whole-
sale unemployment, and undermine the economic base of
the entire community.
In many cases, plans for closing a plant may already exist,
and the company may simply use pollution control require-
ments as an excuse to shut down an antiquated plant which
has long been losing money. In other instances, an economi-
cally healthy plant may threaten closure or layoffs in an at-
tempt to delay the application of stringent control require-
Changes in production methods may offer an economical
alternative to prohibitively expensive add-on treatment. The
use of such in-process controls will often produce gains in
productivity or profits from recovered wastes. The com-
pany’s accounting of control expenses should clearly balance
these economic benefits against the costs. Finally, tax credits
and accelerated depreciation deductions may permit the com-
pany (particularly a highly-profitable one) to recover part of
its investment by reducing normal after-profit taxes.
In some towns, particularly in economically-depressed re-
gions, a marginal plant may be the major employer. If the
plant is closed and no new jobs are available for the workers,
the community may well choose to suffer the pollution rather
than massive unemployment However, low-interest Federal
loans for construction of pollution control facilities may offer
a solution in such cases. The Act authorizes loans to small
businesses that would otherwise “suffer substantial economic
injury” from meeting the control requirements.
Citizens will need accurate information to evaluate a shut-
down threat, including: information on the company’s eco-
nomic health; the actual costs of pollution control; and off-
setting gains in productivity; the number and type of jobs
affected; and the chances for alternative employment. In the
next section, we consider some of the ways plant employees

and citizens concerned with water pollution can work to-
gether to obtain this information.
Organized labor has become a new proponent of better
environmental policies. Labor leaders together with environ-
mentalists have sought legislative protection from:
• Company threats to move to another State or country
having less stringent standards
• instances where corporations, anxious to get rid of in-
efficient and obsolete facilities, falsely blamed shutdowns
on environmental regulations
• Intimidation of workers who report in-plant violations of
pollution control laws
In addition, they have sought a means by which to subpoena
records to investigate company profits versus actual costs in
acquiring pollution control equipment.
The new Water Pollution Control law is the first Act under
which injured employees may seek recourse against polluting
employers. The law offers protection to employees who have
testified or brought suit under the Act, and to those who be-
lieve they have been discriminated against. The Secretary of
Labor is required to hold hearings and subpoena company
records, if necessary, in order to determine any possible vio-
lations committed by the employer. Employers found to be
violating any standards or regulations must pay all the em-
ployee’s legal costs and may be required to fully compensate
or rehire him.
The law also requires the EPA Administrator to investigate,
upon request of an affected employee, threatened plant clos-
ures or Iay-offs when employees attribute them to any re-
quirement of the Act. Once such a public hearing is granted,
the Administrator is required to make findings of fact and to
issue non-binding recommendations.
Also, the Department of Labor and EPA have established
an “early warning system,” under which EPA notifies Labor
when reports indicate that a plant may have to shut down
because of environmental considerations. Labor, at that time

begins work to minimize the adverse effects on employees
in the affected community.
By removing the threat of economic intimidation, these
provisions free employees to become ever stronger advocates
of water pollution control. Citizen activists should cooperate
closely with labor’s efforts to clean up the waters; they may
contact the United Auto Workers, which has worked closely
with many other unions in water pollution issues.*
Money spent to control water pollution is an investment in
the quality of life. We are free to divorce the whole question
of the cost of pollution control from the realm of economic
justifications and to treat clean water as an overriding national
goal, as we did with the space program.
National goals are inherently political questions; the an-
swers will be forged in the give and take of our political
process. If citizens feel strongly that clean water is such a
goal, they must demonstrate that they are willing to pay the
costs in higher prices, reduced consumption, and generous
support for pollution control programs.
t United Auto Workers Union, Conservation Department, 8000 E. Jefferson,
Detroit, Michigan 48214.

Effective citizen participation depends upon timely and adequate infor-
mation. The various reports that EPA must submit to Congress may be a
most useful source of information including data on progress and problems
in pollution control programs at both State and Federal levels of govern-
ment. Citizens should watch for these reports during the early months of
each session of Congress and obtain copies from their Congressman or from
The Act requires EPA to make a large number of reports on a wide variety
of topics including training grants, waste treatment programs for particular
local regions and other special programs. Some of these reports may be less
than vita? from the citizen’s point of view. However, there are two reports
which the citizen should not miss. These reports—one annual, the other
biennial—should provide an irreplaceable summary and overview of pollu-
tion control efforts, complimenting the citizens’ information on specific local
Annual Report
Within the first three months of each session, EPA must submit a report
1) The progress and problems of all the different levels of plans required
by the Act.
2) Actions and results of Federal pollution control research.
3) The progress and problems in developing effluent limitations.
4) The status of State programs, including a comparison of actual and
planned progress.
5) Enforcement actions undertaken during the year.

6) The status of State and local pollution control programs.
7) Results of the annual survey of the efficiency of public waste treatment
8) EPA actions, including those on training grants and scholarships.
9) The reports and recommendations of the Water Pollution Control Ad-
visory Board.
Biennial Report
By February 10 of every odd-numbered year, EPA must submit:
1) A detailed estimate of the cost of carrying out the Act.
2) A revised estimate of the cost of constructing all needed public waste
treatment works.
3) A study of the economic impact of construction of treatment facilities
on all levels of government.
4) An analysis of the requirements for and cost of meeting the Act’s ob-
jectives nationwide.
5) Copies of cost estimates received from the States.
National Policies and Goals Study
The Act requires the President to study all national policies and goals
established by law and to determine the optimum relationships among
them, in terms of the resources of the Nation. By October 1974, he must
inform the Congress of the results of the study and of his recommendations.
Report on New Court System
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act may radically change the current
system of legal jurisdiction over matters of water pollution, and perhaps over
all environmental issues. The Act requires that within one year after passage
of the Act, the Attorney General of the United States report to Congress on
the feasibility of establishing a separate judicial structure.
The justice Department is currently considering three alternatives: a single
court to hear a ll environmental cases; a panel of judges to review environ-
mentally-related orders of all Federal agencies; or a court which would re-
view all orders issued by specific agencies, such as the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency, the Department of Interior, Atomic Energy Commission, etc.
Citizens should contact the Land and Natural Resources Division, Depart-
ment of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530 for up-dated information on this
See p. 94 for more information on reports.

The most common form of water pollution control in the United States
is a system consisting of sewers and a waste treatMent plant. The sewers
collect the waste water from homes, businesses, and industries, and deliver
it to the plant for treatment to make it fit for discharge into streams—or
for reuse.
Collection Systems
Each building has a sewer that connects to the common or lateral sewer
beneath the street . The laterals connect with the larger trunk or main sewers
which, in turn, discharge into an interceptor sewer.
Separated sewer systems consist of sanitary sewers, which carry only
sewage, and separate storm sewers, which take care of the runoff from rain
and snow. However, the water released from the storm sewers is often
seriously contaminated with oil, dirt, organic matter and chemicals.
Combined sewers carry away both water polluted by human use and
storm run-off from streets and buildings. In a combined sewer system, the
interceptors are designed to permit a portion of the sewage to pass directly
into the receiving waters when storms cause high runoff. if part of the in-
creased load of water were not diverted, the treatment plant would be
overloaded and the purifying process would not function properly.
Waste Treatment
The basic function of waste treatment is to speed up the natural processes
by which water purifies itself. This process relies on bacteria that digest the
organic matter in the sewage, consuming oxygen in the water in order to do
their job. If the sewage load is excessive, the bacteria may consume too
much of the dissolved oxygen (DO) available in the water, leaving too little
to sustain fish and plant life. Low levels of DO also reduce the stream’s
ability to assimilate and purify wastes. This demand for dissolved oxygen—
called the biochemical oxygen demand or BOD—is used to measure the
organic waste load of sewage. It is thus an indication of how well a treat-
ment plant is working; if the plant is overloaded or performing poorly, its
effluent will have a high content of organic wastes and therefore a high
Primary Treatment
This mechanical process chiefly removes solids from the water. First,
sewage is screened to remove floating objects. Next, the sewage passes into
a chamber where sand and grit settle. Suspended solids are then settled out
in a sedimentation tank, collecting on the bottom as raw sludge. Finally, the
waste water is chlorinated to kill disease-causing bacteria and to reduce
‘This section is largely adapted from EPA publications, Including: A Primer on Waste
Water Treatment; Clean Water: It’s Up to You; and several brochures on technology

About 30 percent of our municipalities give only primary treatment to
their sewage. At best, primary treatment removes only about 35 percent of
BOD, too little to protect water quality.
Secondary Treatment
The next series of steps in waste water treatment is usually a biological
process; it improves on natural purification methods by using bacteria under
controlled conditions to rapidly decompose organic wastes.
The principal types of secondary treatment are the trickling filter and the
activated sludge process. A trickling filter is a bed of stones or synthetic
material through which the sewage passes after primary treatment. Bacteria
on the stones consume most of the organic matter in the sewage as it
trickles through the bed. In the activated sludge process, sewage that has
undergone primary treatment is mixed with air and bacteria-laden sludge
and held for several hours. Sedimentation and chlorination complete the
process. The activated sludge process is becoming the more popular type
because of smaller size, lower cost, more precise control, and greater
While a plant combining primary and secondary treatment may be able
to remove up to 80 or 90 percent BOD, secondary treatment is effective
only for organic wastes. Complex industrial wastes are often not susceptible
to biological treatment and damaging to the bacteria in the treatment plant.
Physical-Chemical Treatment
More advanced methods of treatment have been developed to cope with
a waste load that is growing worse in both quantity and quality. Physical-
chemical treatment methods include a number of versatile techniques that
do not rely on biological processes; they offer extreme flexibility in waste
treatment. In an exclusively physical-chemical system, these techniques can
be used in series to provide any desired level of waste treatment—includ-
ing removal of phosphates, mineral salts, and suspended solids. One or
more of these techniques can also be used in combination with biological
treatment to remove a particular troublesome pollutant or to increase the
capacity of the facility. Such combinations of biological, physical, and chemi-
cal treatment methods offer an economical means of adapting to specific
changes in water quality requirements and qualitative shifts in waste road.
The three major physical-chemical methods include:
(a) Coagulation—sedimentation (also known as clarification). This process
removes essentially all suspended solids and reduces concentration of
phosphates by over 90 percent. Chemicals called flocculants are used
to bunch the particles together into larger masses which can then be
removed. Clarifying chemicals can be simply and economically added
to a conventional biological system at any of several points in the
existing treatment process.
(b) Carbon—adsorption. The effluent is passed thr ugh activated charcoal,
which will remove over 98 percent of the organic matter that resists
normal biological treatment.

(c) Electrodialysis. This process may be used if a reduction in dissolved
salts is required. Ionized mineral salts in the water are attracted
through a membrane to an electrically charged pole. Rarely employed
unless the water will be reused for municipal or industrial supplies,
electrodialysis is capable of reducing the load of salts by over 50 per-
cent. (The process is not currently considered to be cost-effective.)
New Approaches
Scientists and engineers are still looking for the ultimate system, one that
will clean up our water, simply, completely, and at reasonable cost. Two
promising processes are:
(a) Reverse osmosis. This is an experimental technique in which molecules
of pure water are forced through a semi-permeable membrane, thus
reversing the usual treatment process by removing the water from the
waste. Small scale tests show the method to be effective in separating
the water from all pollutants.
(b) land Disposal. Also known as the living filter, this biological process
relies on the waste disposal capability of the soil. Sewage is first held
in shallow lagoons and aerated to accelerate the action of the bacteria.
The sludge settles out and is applied to the land as fertilizer while the
liquid waste (containing suspended and dissolved nutrients) is chlori-
nated and sprayed on the land. Final purification is accomplished by
natural biological, chemical and physical reactions in the soil.
land disposal or “soil systems” is one of the oldest means of treat-
ment and has been used for hundreds of years. There are over 500
soils systems in the US. However, this system is currently undergoing
a revival and only recently has a full-scale research effort been under-
taken to adapt the system for possible use on a municipal scale. The
first large scale application is now being developed in Muskegon
County, Michigan.

The following terms appear frequently in thç text and in other materials
on water pollution control. These terms are presented in simplified, rather
than highly technical, definition. (Definitions from the Act are designated
by an asterisk in the margin.)
activated-sludge process—use of biologically active sewage sludge to hasten
the breakdown of organic matter in raw sewage during secondary treat-
ment .
adsorption—the adhesion of a substance to the surface of a solid or liquid.
Adsorption is often used to extract pollutants by causing them to be at-
tached to adsorbents such as activated carbon or silica gel. Some ad-
sorbents are used to extract oil from waterways in oil spills.
aquifer—a bed of porous rock or sand that carries or holds water.
advanced treatment—various processes used in addition to secondary treat-
ment, including coagulation-sedimentation or electrodialysis, and adsorp-
benefit-cost analysis—economic analysis of a project or program, which
yields a ratio between anticipated benefits and costs, thus revealing the
relative economic efficiency of the project.
biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)—a measure of the amount of oxygen
consumed in biological processes that break down organic matter in water;
a measure of the organic pollutant load.
chlorination—the application of chlorine to water for purposes of disinfec-
tion (ineffective against many viruses).
coagulation—the clumping of particles to settle out impurities; often in-
duced by chemicals such as lime or alum.
* discharge of a pollutant—any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters
from any point source; any addition of any pollutant to the waters of the
contiguous zone or the ocean from any point source other than a vessel.
disposal well—a deep well used for the disposal of liquid wastes.
DO—dissolved oxygen; the oxygen freely available in water and necessary
for aquatic life and the oxidation of organic materials.
effluent—a substance that flows out; the treated or untreated liquid that
flows out of a waste treatment plant, a sewer, or an industrial out-fall.
* effluent limitation—any restriction (including schedules of compliance)
established by a State or EPA on quantities, rates, and concentrations of
chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which are discharged
from point sources into navigable waters, the waters of the contiguous
zone, or the ocean.
electrodialysis—a treatment process that uses electrical current and an
arrangement of permeable membranes to separate soluble minerals from
water. Often used to desalinate salt or brackish water.
estuary—aquatic area where fresh and salt water mix.

eutrophication—an aging process in lakes, during which the water be-
comes overly rich in dissolved nutrients, resulting in excessive develop-
ment of algae and other microscopic plants causing a decline in levels of
dissolved oxygen (DO).
flocculation—the process of separating suspended solids by chemical crea-
tion of clumps or flocs.
ground water—water in the porous rocks and soils of the earth’s crust;
a large proportion of the total supply of fresh water.
industrial user—any industry that introduces pollutants into public sewer
systems and whose wastes are treated by a publicly-owned treatment
land disposal method—advanced waste treatment that uses soil, air, plants
and bacteria to remove pollutants from waste water. It includes four basic
processes: pretreatment to screen out large solids; chlorination and vegeta-
tion in the soil; spraying over cropland where vegetation and micro-
organisms in the soil remove additional pollutants; and reclamation by
wells or drain tiles.
navigable waters—the waters of the United States, including the territorial
seas, and intrastate waters.
new source—any point source which is constructed after the issuance of
National Standards of Performance regulations (May 1974).
non-point source—any non-confined area from which pollutants are dis-
charged into a body of water, i.e., agricultural run-off, urban run-off, and
sedimentation from construction sites.
nutrient—a chemical substance (e.g., nitrogen or phosphorus) absorbed
by green plants and used for growth.
* ocean—any portion of the high seas beyond the contiguous zone.
permit—a legally-binding document issued by a State or Federal permit
agency to the owner or manager of a point source discharge. The permit
document contains a schedule of compliance requiring the permit holder
to achieve a specified standard or limitation (by constructing treatment
facilities or modifying plant processes) by a specified date. Permit docu-
ments also specify monitoring and reporting requirements to be conducted
by the applicant. All permits issued are valid for a maximum of five years.
* point source—any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, includ-
ing . . . any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete opera-
tions, or vessel, or other floating craft, from which pollutants are or may
be discharged.
pollution—the man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical,
physical, biological and radiological integrity of water making it less desir-
able for the propagation of balanced indigenous populations of fish, for
recreation, industry or wildlife uses.
* pollutant waste discharged into water including: dredged spoil, solid
waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions,

chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat wrecked
or discarded equpment, rock, sand, cellar dirt, and industrial, municipal
and agricultural waste; but not including, sewage discharged from vessels
nor material injected into wells in connection with the production of oil
and gas.
pretreatment—any process used to reduce the pollutant load before the
waste is introduced into a sewer system or delivered to a treatment plant.
primary treatment—the first stage in waste water treatment in which float-
ing or settleable solids are mechanically removed by screening and sedi-
receiving waters—bodies of water into which waste water effluents are
reverse osmosis—an advanced method of waste treatment that relies on a
semi-permeable membrane to separate waters from pollutants.
river basin—one of 267 major and minor basin areas drained by a river
and its tributaries.
schedule of compliance—description of remedial aCions to be accom-
plished by the permit holder (type of facility to be installed or alternative
control measures to be established) and a sequence of actions leading to
compliance with applicable standards.
secondary treatment—the second step in most waste treatment systems in
which bacteria consume the organic parts of the wastes. It is accomplished
by bringing the sewage and bacteria together in trickling filters or in the
activated sludge process.
sewer—any pipe or conduit used to carry sewage or storm water to treat-
ment plants or receiving waters.
sewer, combined—sewer that carries both waste water and storm water.
sewer, interceptor—a sewer which collects the sewage from the main and
trunk sewers and carries them to points of treatment or discharge.
sewer, lateral—a street sewer that serves a limited number of properties
and discharges into a trunk sewer.
sewer, sanitary—in a system of separated sewers, the pipes that carry
waste water but exclude storm water.
sewer, trunk—a sewer that transports waste water from collecting (lateral)
sewers to the treatment plants.
sludge—the solids removed from waste water by sedimentation and pre-
cipitation; often presents a problem of ultimate disposal.
suspended solids—(SS) small particles of solid pollutants that resist separa-
tion by conventional means. SS (along with BOD) is used as a measure-
ment of water quality and an indicator of treatment plant efficiency.
territorial seas—the portion of the sea that is within the three mile limit.
thermal pollution—the impairment of water quality through temperature
increase, usually from discharges of industrial cooling water.

*kicpoNueants........a pollutant or combination of pollutants including disease
causing agents, which after discharge and upon exposure, ingestion, inhala-
tion or assimilation into any organism either directly or indirectly cause
death, disease, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions (in-
duding malfunctions in reproduction), and physical deformations in such
organisms and their offspring.
tridding filter—a bed of rocks that supports bacterial growth used to treat
waste water; a secondary treatment process where sewage is trickled over
a bed of rocks so that bacteria can break down organic wastes.
water quality standard—a plan for water quality management specifying:
the use (recreation, fish and wildlife propagation, drinking water, indus-
trial or agricultural) to be made of the water; criteria to measure and pro-
tect these uses; implementation and enforcement plans; and an anti-
degradation statement to protect existing water quality.
t quality criteria—the levels of pollutants that affect the suitability of
water for a given use.

The following is a list of some of the more important writings about water
pollution control. Sources and prices are given wherever possible.
For convenience, each source has been placed under a general heading.
The classification is often arbitrary. For example, the Economics of Water
Supply and Quality has been listed under the “Technical Information” Sec-
tion. It could also be placed in the “Economics” section, since the approach
to the study is clearly an economic one.
Publications available from the Government Printing Office (GPO) can be
ordered from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402.
Publications available from the National Technical Information Service can
be ordered from NTIS, 5282 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA, 22151. Pub-
lication numbers must be cited when ordering by mail.
EPA also distributes informational materials. Copies of EPA standards and
other regulations are generally available free of charge. Check with your
regional public affairs office or write to EPA, Office of Public Affairs, 401 M
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460.
authority, December, 1972, EPA. Provides a brief description of EPA’s legal
authority in water, air, solid waste and other environmental programs. (Free
from EPA)
ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, C.E.Q. Annual Reports, 1970-1972; to obtain,
write to the Council on Environmental Quality, 722 Jackson Place, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20006. This book is an excellent summary of the year’s
events in all environmental law.
THE TOWN THAT LAUNDERS ITS WATER, Stevens, Leonard A., New York,
Coward, McCann, Geoghegan, Inc., 1971. How a California town managed
to reclaim and reuse its water. The New Conservation Series describes the
experiment of Santee, California in water reuse covering such aspects as
funding construction of purification plant and gaining public acceptance.
Price: $4.49.
March, 1971. Discusses many aspects of treating pollution; explains methods
of treatment used today and new processes being developed for treatment
of wastes in the future. 55 ’
THE POLITICS OF POLLUTION, Davies, J. Clarence, New York, Pegasus Co.,
1970. This book deals with all types of pollution; it is strong on historical
background including that of water pollution control and contains a chapter
on citizen lobbies.

WATER WASTELAND, Zwick, David and Benstock, Marcy, Grossman Pub-
lishers, 1971. A comprehensive, incisive and candid book on water pollution:
covers all types of water pollution issues and discusses the political realm
under which pollution abatement programs operate.
Federal policy for protection of the environment; requires Federal agencies
to evaluate and report on all major proposed actions that affect the en-
vironment. GPO 10
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, Reitze, Arnold W. Jr., North American International,
1972. This excellent textbook covers the waterfront on environmental laws.
It also provides useful scientific information and gives an incisive rundown
on Congressional and Federal agency procedures dealing with environmental
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, Public Law 90-23. Establishes the right
of public access to Federal information; defines the kinds of information to
be considered public and agency responsibilities in responding to requests.
GPO 5e
Public Law 92-500, 92nd Congress. This law sets the national policy for water
pollution control; defines complex Federal-State-regional-local responsibili-
ties. (Available free from EPA or may be purchased from GPO for SOC)
SENATE REPORT, S. 2770 on the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
Amendments of 1971, Report No. 92-414, by the Senate Public Works Com-
mittee, Oct 28, 1971; 55C. This document describes the Senate Public Works
Committee’s intent in drafting the new Federal Water Pollution Control Act
HOUSE REPORT, H.R. 11895 & 11896, on the Federal Water Pollution Con-
trol Act Amendments of 1972, Report No. 92-911. Describes the House
Public Works Committee’s intent in issuing their version of the new water
law. Contains section by section analysis of the House version by EPA.
Haskell, Elizabeth H., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
April 1971. Describes and evaluates trends in environmental management by
State governments. (Available from Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, Smithsonian lnstitution, Washington, D.C. 20024 for $3.75.
Frank P., Rathjens, George W., and Rosenthal, Albert 1., A study prepared by
the Legislative Drafting Research Fund of Columbia University, Columbia
University Press, N.Y ., New York, 1971. Discusses mechanisms for environ-
mental control; the setting of standards; comments on Federal environ-
mental control programs and discusses private litigation in water pollution
control. Includes excellent bibliographic references. $9.00.

THE ECONOMICS OF CLEAN WATER, EPA, 4 Volumes and Summary; the
summary gives a good overall economic picture on water pollution control;
volumes I and II are very technical; volume Ill is a good intermediate level
description of what it will cost industry to meet the objectives of water
pollution control program. 1970, $6.50.
Seckler, David W., Harcourt Brace jovanovich. Inc., N.Y., 1972. An excellent
book on the interrelationships between our Nation’s growth and environ-
mental decay. Gives a comprehensive history of growth and an economist’s
skeptism regarding it.
summary of recent studies prepared for CEQ by Department of Commerce
and EPA. A good intermediate level analysis of the economic effects of pollu-
tion control. (Available from EPA.)
GROUPS THAT CAN HELP, EPA, 1972. Lists major environmental organiza-
tions; ways they can assist the average interested citizens in the environ-
men t.
DON’T LEAVE IT ALL TO THE EXPERTS, The Citizen’s Role in Environmental
Decision Making, EPA, November 1972. GPO Number 0-478-748, 55 . (Also
available from EPA.)
HOW TO BE POLITICALLY EFFECTIVE, League of Women Voters, National
Office, 1730 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, No. 168; $3.00. A basic
guide suitable for use by schools, groups or individuals on how to make
yourself heard in local and State political issues.
Program, February 1971. Discusses municipal waste treatment; economics of
water supply; relates political realm to both water resource and water pol-
lution control programs. GPO 50 . Publication No. 5501 -0070.
tory, published monthly by the American Chemical Society, 1155 16th
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Contains an excellent bibliography of
research papers and engineering equipment for pollution control.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL INDEX, 1972. A guide to environmental and research
books and papers as well as films published during the year. $73.00—for
town libraries, Contact the Council on Environmental Quality for informa-
tion on where to order the complete set.
EXPRO ‘73, EPA, 1973. A listing of all environmental research projects eligi-
ble for funding from EPA.

1915 1976 1971
v. 28, ‘72) FY ‘73
(Feb. 18, ‘73) Se
(Mar. 2, ‘73) Us
(Apr. 18, ‘73)
(Jun. 30, ‘
‘74 Construction
er System Regula
r Charge Grant ii
4uidelines for Tre
3) Must not apprc
18, ‘73) Must app l
(Jun. 30, ‘
rant Allotment m
ons & studies pro
luirements in effe
tment works
‘e any grant unles
for relmbursemer
‘4) Must not appn
le by EPA
iulgated by EPA
applicant shows
for treatment cor
‘e any grant with’
ompliance w/2/1
Ut consideration o
/73 regulations
best practicable
Jan. 18, ‘73) EPA
(Mar. 18, ‘73) V
(Jul. 18,’
c. 18, ‘73) Planni
uidelines for ident
ater Quality Prob l
3) Boundaries anc
(Jul. 18,’
agency regulatio
:yjng planning are
ms identified by G
agencies selected
‘4) Planning ageni
s pub. by EPA
by Governors
r develops plannin
(Jul. 18, ‘
p apparatus
6) Plan approved
(Jul. 18, ‘
y Governor, sent
7) Annual Revislo
(Jul. 18,
of plan
‘8) 2nd revision
y thereafter
1, ‘73) EPA re
oil to states on ef
ects of pesticides
n water
31, ‘73) Water
Resources Counc
progress report
i completing Leve
B plans . . . ann’
(Apr. 18, ‘73)
ec. of Commerce
eport on effects o
Act on market p(
es . . . annually
(Jul. 18,
‘3) EPA report to s
ates and public on
ways to control th
rmal discharges
18, ‘73) EPA repo
on effects of poll
tants on recreatio
,wildlife, aestheti
18, ‘73) EPA repo
on factors neces
‘ary to restore intei
rity of nation’s wal
an. 1, ‘74) EPA n
lonwide inventory
18, ‘74) EPA repo
an. 1, ‘75) EPA re.
Act’s c
f water quality
to Congress on
ontrol after fiscal
ort on social, en
jectives. . . anru
ternative methods
ronmental & econ
illy thereafter
‘ally thereafter
ere after
s, etc.
of financing
mic costs to mee

This booklet was prepared by the lzaak Walton League of Amer-
ica under contract with the Environmental Protection Agency. We
hope this booklet expands the reader’s appreciation and under-
standing of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 and
its many opportunities for public participation.
Primary credit for research, writing and layout of the booklet
goes to project leader Nancy Matisoff, research assistant Maitland
Sharpe and Barbara Bristow. Also appreciated are the contribu-
tions from the many members of the League of Women Voters, the
Natural Resources Defense Council and the lzaak Walton League.
Their review and constructive suggestions on the manuscript were
most helpful.
Raymond C. Hubley, Jr.
Executive Director
lzaak Walton League of America