IMPS Pollution
Runoff of Rain
and Snowmelt—
Our Biggest Water
Quality Problem

                        ?/EPA  JOURNAL
United Slates
Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Communications.
Education, and Public Affairs

William K. Reiliy

Lew Crampton
Associate Administrator

Charles Osolin
Director of Publications
)ohn Heritage

Karen Flagstad
Associate Editor

Ruth Barker
Assistant Editor

Jack Lewis
Assistant Editor

Nancy Starnes
Assistant Editor

Douglass Lea
Contributing Editor

Marilyn Rogers
Circulation Manager
Editorial Assistance
Leighton Price

Design Credits
Ron Farrah
James R. Ingram
Robert Flanagan
Fronl Cover:
Rainstorm—runoff in the
Photo by David Falconer of
Folio, Inc.
is printed on recycled paper.
A Magazine on National and Global Environmental Perspectives
                        Volume 17. Number 5  22K-1005
November/December 1991
From the Editor
   Perhaps we should forgive the bureaucrats for the phrase,
   nonpoint-source pollution. Consider a shopping mall parking lot in
   the dead of winter. Salt has done its work; the macadam is free of
   snow. But the snowmelt has carried the salt, crankcase oil, and
whatever else it finds to the gutter, and from there to the nearest stream.
  If you're not into shopping malls, consider a several-hundred-acre farm
enjoying a soaking rain: dairy cows, fields of corn protected by pesticides,
a stream meandering through. You get the idea. If you fertilized your lawn
last spring, you're probably a nonpoint-source (NPS) polluter.
  There's the rub. Nonpoint sources are so diffuse we find it difficult to
wrap our arms around the problem. I'm reminded of the early days of the
magazine, when we sent photographers out to capture pollution on film.
One came back with a beautiful shot of the New York City skyline.
"That's  carbon monoxide over Manhattan," he said.  Who could say he
was wrong?
  According to the most recent review the states made of their lakes, 56
percent of assessed lake acres failed to fully support the uses designated
for them—uses such as drinking water supply, contact recreation,  and
fisheries. The same can be said for 37 percent of river miles and
32 percent of estuarine square miles. By all accounts, NPS
pollution was the leading cause.
  The diffuseness of the sources of runoff, for that is what we're talking
about, compounds the difficulty of controlling it. We can't single out, as
we can  with point sources, the owner of a factory outfall and slap him
with a fine for violating his National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System permit. NPS pollution has to be tackled through the
management of land use, a sea of troubles in itself.
  In this issue of the Journal, we attempt to outline the dimensions of
NPS water pollution and introduce you to the controversy over the
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       The Problem
       Introducing NFS
       Water Pollution
       We can't write permits
       on parking lots.
       by Robert Griffin, Jr.

       Case Studies

       Chemicals: The Karst
       by John Weiss

       Sediment: The Case of
       Otter Creek
       by David Wunn
       and Jack Wilbur

       Urban  Runoff: The
       Example of Barnstable
       by David Still II.
       Logging: The
       Washington State
       by Steven Ralph

       Abandoned Mines:
       Report from West
       by Lyle Bennett

       Construction: The
       Whltemarsh Case
       by Karl Blankenship

The Issues and the
View from EPA
Mostly, it will be local
building and land use
by William K. Reilly
View from USDA
Farms only five miles
apart may need
different solutions.
by James R. Moseley
View from OMB
Must farmers prevent
pollution to escape
by Susan Of/utt
Questions the Reader
Might Ask
An Interview with
Robert H. Wayland III
A Forum
What Will It Take

Finding Solutions
My Experience
The more the residue,
the less the pollution
of surface water.
by William Richards

Some Other Options
by Jack Lewis

Nutrient Trading—in
the Wings
The Phosphorus Club
recommended the
Dillon Bubble.
by Bruce Zander

Wisconsin's "Bad
Actors" Program
The bad actors lost the
manure wars.
fay Ed  Odgers
Taking Action
Dos and Don'ts
around the Home
by Robert Goo

News and Comment
on EPA
For the Classroom
A Lesson Plan on NPS

Titans in
Gifford Pinchot
by Jack Lewis

Featuring EPA
Enlisting Space in the
by Alun B. Nichols
On the Move
New Names in Key
Agency Posts
EF'A is charged by Congress to protect the nation's land, air, and water systems. Under a mandate of national environmental laws, the Agency strives to
formulate and implement actions which lead to a compatible balance between human activities and the ability of natural systems to support and nurture life.
  EPA JOURNAL is published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Administrator of EPA has determined that the publication of this periodical
is necessary in the transaction of the public business required by law of this agency. Use of funds for printing this periodical has been approved by the
Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Views expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect EPA policy. No permission necessary to reproduce
contents except copyrighted photos and other materials.
  Contributions and inquiries should be addressed to the Editor, EPA JOURNAL (A-107),  Waterside Mall, 401 M Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20460

 Communities  that  Violate
 Air Standards Are Named
  EPA has listed 98 areas of
  the country that violate the
  air quality standard for
  ozone, 42 that exceed the
  carbon monoxide standard,
  71 the particulate standard,
  and 12 the standard for lead.
  EPA will update the list
  every year to track  progress
  in meeting the standards.
  Administrator Reilly said:
  "New clean air programs will
  begin operating in designated
  places over the next couple
  of years. The effect of these
  measures, combined with
  other recent  actions such as
  reformulated gasoline, will
  mean healthier air /or more
  Americans to breathe."
  The Washington Times
  reported: "... While states
  have considerable leeway on
  how to clean up the air,
  preferred measures  are likely
  to be requiring
  cleaner-burning gasoline,
  tighter tailpipe emission
  standards, the use of
  alternative motor fuels for
  fleets, tougher vehicle
  inspections,  required
  rideshare programs and
  controls on emissions from
  such businesses as bakeries,
  dry cleaners, and breweries.
  Only the Los Angeles-South
  Coast Basin area is  ranked as
  having "extreme" pollution,
  the worst category.  The area
  has until the year 2010 to
  come into compliance. Areas
  classified as having "severe"
  air pollution are San Diego
  and Ventura County in
  California; the Baltimore
  metropolitan area; an  urban
  stretch that includes
  Philadelphia and 13
  surrounding counties; the
  Houston-Gal veston-Brazoria
  area of Texas; New York and
  surrounding areas of
  Connecticut, Long Island,
and New Jersey; the
Chicago-Gary-Lake County
areas of Illinois and Indiana;
and Milwaukee-Racine in
Wisconsin	The EPA
earlier this year estimated
that while the overall air
quality improved in the
1980s, more than 84 million
people continued to live in
areas where the air does not
meet at least one of the
federal standards
The Washington Post
commented: "... Four
outlying suburban counties,
some considered rural only a
decade ago, are now so
polluted by commuter traffic
that the Environmental
Protection Agency yesterday
added them to the official
Washington smog zone ....
The clean-air law lets states
require that new cars
registered meet California
tailpipe standards, which are
tighter than federal mandates.
Yesterday, a regional
commission representing
states from Virginia to Maine
promised to ask legislatures
to adopt the California
standards. Representatives
from nine states, including
Virginia and Maryland, voted
for the resolution, as did a
representative from the
District. Vermont,
           Areas Violating Ozone Standards
Connecticut, and Rhode
Island abstained .... 'Cars
are responsible for over half
the emissions which create
ozone,' Fran Du Melle, of the
American Lung Association,
said in a statement. 'We are
encouraged to see the states
act without capitulating to
the auto industry's tired
exaggerations about cost and
technical feasibility.'
Automobile industry
officials, however,  called the
California restrictions a
costly and  excessive step.
Some auto dealers  oppose
having to offer 'California
cars,' because they would be
required to stock two types of
vehicles in a market that
includes more than one state
 .... The California rules
phase  out sales of cars
meeting less-restrictive
national standards  through
1999, and phases in the sale
of cars with little or no
emissions.  By 2003, 10
percent of  new cars must
emit no pollution; they
probably would be powered
by batteries. All clean cars
would carry a  100,000-mile
warranty on emission-related
parts, including the engine,
higher than current
warranties  .  . ."
GEO  Metro

Wins  1992

Mileage Derby

Fuel economy estimates for
1992 model-year vehicles
rank the 1,875-pound GEO
Metro XFi as the most
efficient car at 53
miles-per-gallon (mpg) city,
and 59 mpg highway. It is
the second year in a row for
this subcompact to come in
first. The Lamborghini DB
132/Diablo again received the
lowest fuel economy rating of
9 mpg city and 14 mpg
  Also included in EPA's list
of the top 10 high-mileage
cars were various models of
the Honda Civic, Suzuki
Swift, and other GEO Metro
models. Their fuel economy
estimates ranged from 48
mpg city/55 mpg highway to
39 mpg city/43 mpg highway.
  Light trucks have become a
major portion of the
light-duty fleet—30 percent
of the fleet now, as opposed
to 15 percent in 1980.
Consequently, EPA tabulated
separate top 10 and bottom
10 lists for them. The Suzuki
Samurai 2WD received  the
highest fuel economy rating
of 28 mpg city/29 mpg
highway. The lowest rating of
any vehicle in the 1992 Gas
Mileage Guide is shared by
three Dodge truck models:
W250 Pickup 4WD,
Ramcharger 4WD, and the
W100/W150 Pickup 4WD, at
9 mpg city and 13 mpg
  By choosing a car that gets
just 1 mpg more than the
average for its vehicle class,
consumers can save about
$440 in fuel costs over the
life of the car. For
comparison purposes, EPA
sorts vehicles into size
classes by interior volume.
Consumers can use the  1992
Gas Mileage Guide for
comparison shopping. The
                                                                                                EPA JOURNAL

Acid Rain  Emissions to  Be Cut in  Half
 EPA has proposed
 market-based rules that will
 cut sulfur dioxide (SOZ)
 emissions 10 million tons a
 year by the end of the
 century. This is half the SO2
 emitted in 1980 by electric
 power plants, the chief
 source of the gas.
 Administrator ReiJly said:
 "Today's proposal breaks
 new ground in  harnessing the
 power of the marketplace to
 improve the environment.
 Market incentives and
 tradeable allowances will be
 used to cut acid rain
 emissions. The Bush
 administration believes that
 the economic incentives in
 this rule have significant
 advantages over traditional
 'command and control'
 regulations in bringing about
 the most cost-effective
 pollution reductions
 The New York Times said:
 "... The proposed rules,
 required under revisions to
 the Clean Air Act that passed
 last  year, were welcomed by
 environmental groups and by
 industry as a signal that
 innovation and consultation,
 rather than obstruction and
 confrontation, can guide the
 development of costly new
 environmental rules  ....
 Under the proposal released
 today, a coal-fired utility that
 does better at cleaning up
 sulfur dioxide than the
 regulations require could
 accumulate credits for sale to
 another company that failed
 to clean up enough. In
theory, companies that can
clean up pollution cheaply
by changing fuel or
persuading their customers to
conserve energy would
recover some of the cost by
selling their pollution rights
to companies that could only
clean up by adopting costlier
measures, like filtering the
smoke  they emit. The air
would  be just as clean, but
the costs would be lower. In
effect, clean air  would
become a commodity with
known production costs, and
traded  under laws of supply
and demand as  if a reduction
in noxious emissions were a
pork belly. Indeed, the
futures market at the Chicago
Board of Trade plans to trade
the pollution allowances

The Washington Post
reported: "... Under the
EPA plan, 110 power plants
in the Midwest  and
Appalachian states that are
the largest emitters of sulfur
dioxide—the principal cause
of acid rain—would be
allocated pollution
'allowances' every year  to
begin with. Each allowance
would  be good for a ton of
sulfur dioxide emitted. At
year's end, each plant would
calculate whether it  had
emitted as much sulfur
dioxide as it had allowances
to cover. A utility that cut its
emissions and had leftover
allowance could sell them to
the highest bidder among
utilities that emitted more
than they were permitted. Or
the allowances could be
banked for later use  in the
event of plant expansion. A
utility that emitted more than
allowed but could not, or did
not, buy allowances would
have to pay the government
$2,000 per ton of excess
pollution. The EPA would
hold an annual sale to keep
the market fluid, offering
allowances at a fixed price of
$1,500, at least $500 more
than the cost  of cutting
pollution with technology

The Wall Street Journal said:
"... In its proposal, EPA
rejected attempts by the
Energy Department to allow
more utilities to qualify for a
special clean-coal technology
exemption that would give
them four extra years to meet
their cleanup deadline.
However,  in a dispute that
won't be resolved until  final
rules are issued in May 1992,
environmentalists were
dismayed  that the EPA failed
to be stricter on utilities
monitoring of their
smokestack pollution.
Overall, though, controversy
has been  held to a minimum,
largely because the EPA held
unusual advisory sessions
with utilities, energy
concerns,  environmentalists
and others in drafting the
rules. Utilities . . . still
contend the costs for
producers and consumers
will be higher than the EPA
projects. The  Edison Institute
expects 10 percent to 15
percent rate increases in
several states, and rate boosts
over 20 percent at 10
particularly hard-hit utilities.
EPA  officials  call those
estimates excessive. All
sides, though, agree that costs
are held  down by the law's
emphasis on allowing
utilities to choose for
themselves how to cut their
The Los Angeles Times
reported: "... The EPA
estimates that the total cost
of the crackdown  would be
less than $4 billion a year,
translating to an increase of 1
percent to 1.5 percent in
consumer electric bills  ....
Acid rain, so named because
the acidic pollutants are
emitted into the atmosphere
only to return to the surface
with rain and snow, has been
blamed not only for severe
damage, to lakes, streams,
and forests in the  eastern
United States but  in Canada
as well .... Without being
specific, Reilly suggested that
the financial incentives
brought to the acid rain
problem will get serious
consideration at EPA for
incorporation in water
pollution control programs
.... He lauded 'the efforts of
many people, including
representatives from electric
utilities, state regulatory
agencies, equipment
manufacturers, fuel suppliers,
environmental groups and
the business community ....
I believe  that the process we
used set a benchmark for
working together in
constructive and productive
ways. The child of these
labors is born today and it is
a healthy baby,  full of
guide should be available at
all new car dealerships. The
mpg ratings also appear on
the window stickers of all
new cars.

   Fuel economy estimates are
 derived from EPA's vehicle
 emission testing program.
 Pre-production vehicles are
 tested under controlled
 laboratory conditions for both
 emissions and fuel economy.
 EPA has reported fuel
 economy comparisons since

  Federal Water Standards  to  be  set
  for 22 States and Territories
  Surface water quality
  standards for as many as 105
  toxic pollutants will be set by
  EPA for states and territories
  that have failed to set their
  own standards, according to
  an announcement fay the
  Agency. Administrator fleilly
  said: "Many states have
  adopted good water quality
  standards /or toxics—but the
  delay of some is forcing us to
  step in, to accelerate the
  control of the most prevalent
  toxic pollutants impairing
  surface water. I hope today's
  proposal will prompt states
  to set toxic standards while
  they still  can under their
  own initiative."
  The Baltimore Sun reported:
  "... Nineteen states, the
  District of Columbia, and two
  territories must complete
  adoption  of water-quality
  standards by February 19 or
  the federal government will
  set the  standards for them
   .... EPA Administrator
  William K. Reilly said that by
  the time the three-month
  waiting period expires—the
  clock will begin ticking
  November 19, when the EPA
  publishes its standards in
  tentative form, subject to
  revision after an abbreviated
  30-day  period for public
  comment—he expects only
  Colorado  and New
  Hampshire to have standards
  for all 105 of the toxic
  pollutants involved .... In
  addition to Colorado, New
  Hampshire, and the District
  of Columbia, the jurisdictions
  involved are Alaska, Arizona,
  Arkansas, California,
  Connecticut,  Florida, Hawaii,
  Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana,
  Michigan, New Jersey,
  Nevada, the Northern
  Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico,
  Rhode Island, Vermont,
  Virginia, and Washington
The Washington Post said:
" .. .  Congress required the
EPA  to set standards for the
states to adopt by February
1990, and the agency
responded with regulations
for 105 pollutants, including
61 carcinogens. Among them
are such well-known
substances as dioxin, PCBs,
lead, benzene, and asbestos.
Only five states complied on
time, with 26 others falling
into line after the EPA
indicated plans to impose its
own  standards. It took the
agency nearly two years to
follow up its threat with
yesterday's action. The
long-awaited announcement
was propelled by new data
from  the states revealing
'harmful' levels of toxic
substances in 28,000 miles of
rivers, 3.6 million acres of
lakes, 2,000 square miles of
estuaries and 4,800 miles of
Great Lakes shoreline,
according to the EPA.
Forty-four states and
territories have issued
advisories warning against
eating local fish  because of
toxic pollutants concentrated
in the tissue of fish . . . ."

The Los Angeles Times
commented: "... In spite of
              Mike Brisson pholo.

the EPA's stern rhetoric, it
was unclear how aggressively
enforcement of the tough
federal standard will be
pursued. Although the
agency hopes to complete
work on the new regulations
and put them into effect in
about 90 days, it will take
five years for them to reach
all polluters. Routinely, the
standard will be put into
force only when industries
apply to renew any of the
thousands of water quality
permits. In urgent cases, the
EPA can intervene and make
the new toxic standard part
of an existing permit.
Possible sanctions against
violators include heavy fines,
abatement, and suspension of
operations. But, when states
respond to the EPA nudging
by completing their own
standards, they may be able
to get the federal agency's
approval for restrictions far
less stringent than those
announced Wednesday.
Depending on the
circumstances, the
one-in-a-million cancer
standard announced by
Reilly might be changed to
one in 100,000  . . . ."

Paper Pulp Mills
to  Pay $5.8 Million
in  Penalties

Louisiana Pacific Corporation
and the Simpson Paper
Company, owners of paper
pulp mills near Eureka,
California, have agreed to pay
$2.9 million each for illegal
discharges into the Pacific
Ocean. The agreements were
reached in consent decrees
signed by EPA, the
companies, and the Surfrider
Foundation. The penalties
are among the largest ever
levied under the Clean Water
Act. In addition to the
penalties, the settlements
require Louisiana Pacific and
Simpson to implement
treatment measures or
process changes to abate
toxicity in  the mills' 40
million gallons of daily
effluent. The decrees are
precedent-setting by
requiring treatment  systems
to meet toxicity limits based
upon impacts to living
organisms. EPA and the
Surfrider Foundation brought
suit against the mills in 1989
for persistent violations of
permits issued them under
the Clean Water Act. The
violations resulted in adverse
effects on human health  and
marine life in Humboldt
County coastal  waters.
                                                                                                 EPA JOURNAL

Enforcement   Actions
   $9.8"Million Sought
   for Illegal Shipment
   of Chemicals and

   Helped by the U.S. Customs
   Service, EPA seeks a total of
   $9.8 million from
   administrative actions it has
   filed against 21  companies
   for illegal import or export of
   chemicals and hazardous
   wastes. A number of the
   cases involve shipments
   across the Canadian and
   Mexican borders. The actions
   were filed under three EPA
   statutes: hazardous waste
   management provisions of
   the Resource Conservation
   and Recovery Act; import
   provisions of the Toxic
   Substances Control Act; and
   export provisions of the
   Federal Insecticide,
   Fungicide, and  Rodenticide
     In a related matter, on
   behalf of EPA, the
   Department of Justice filed
   judicial actions  against two
   companies for importing
   ozone-depleting CFCs
   without first obtaining the
   consumption allowances
   required by the Clean Air
   American  Cyanimid
   to Pay $625,000 for
   Violation of CAA

   The American  Cyanamid
   Company has agreed to pay a
   $625,000 civil  penalty for
   failing to obtain a
   pre-construction permit for a
   stationary gas turbine at its
   Lederle Laboratories Division
   facility in Pearl River, New
   York. Under the Clean Air
   Act, a facility that has the
   potential to emit 250 tons per
   year or more of certain
   pollutants, including carbon
   monoxide, nitrous oxides,
sulfur dioxide, and
particulate matter under 10
microns (PM-10), must obtain
a permit before beginning
construction. According to
the complaint filed by the
federal government, the
company was aware of the
requirement, and had applied
for a permit, but began
construction before EPA
issued it. In addition to the
$625,000 penalty, the
proposed agreement between
the government and
American Cyanamid includes
an injunction  requiring the
company to comply with all
provisions of the Clean Air
Act at its Pearl River facility
for three years. Violation of
the injunction would be
punishable as contempt.
First Penalty Sought
for Violation of
Laboratory  Rules

EPA has filed a civil
complaint in the amount of
$260,000 against Carter
Wallace, Inc. of Cranbury,
New Jersey, for violations of
Good Laboratory Practice
regulations, which the agency
had issued under the Federal
Insecticide,  Fungicide, and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The
60-count complaint is the
first complaint filed under
the regulations.
  The complaint charges
Lambert Kay with certifying
falsely that laboratory studies
of two of its pesticide
products were performed in
accordance with the FIFRA
rules. In fact, an EPA
inspection of the laboratory
turned up serious
discrepancies. EPA also
issued a Notice of Warning to
AMA Laboratories, which
performed the studies.
                             Superfund National  Director
                             Named;  Reforms  Announced
Key reforms to the Superfund
program have been
announced by EPA,
including the appointment of
a National Director and a 20-
to 30-person  trouble shooting
team to serve as a strategic
nerve center. The reforms are
designed to improve program
management  and
accountability; their objective
is to triple cleanup
completions by the end of
1993 and to bring the costs of
management  down to 20
percent or less. Richard
Guimond has been named as
National Director. He was
recently appointed Deputy
Assistant Administrator of
the Office of  Solid Waste and
Emergency Response. (See
July/August JournciJ.)
  In making the announcement,
Administrator Reilly said
that, as a result of the
enforcement-first strategy
adopted two years  ago, EPA
had succeeded in getting
private parties to increase
their share of cleanups: A
record number of settlements
have been reached, with  a
threefold increase in private
commitments. What
remained was to accelerate
the rate of cleanups and
reduce the cost of managing
  Reilly appointed a task
force last June to examine the
program. They found that
management expenditures by
some contractors, while not
illegal under federal
procurement regulations,
appeared to be unjustified.
Under the reforms, which
they recommended: Internal
controls of contracts will be
improved; more  audits will
be performed; all contracts
will be reexamined with an
eye to eliminating
unnecessary management
costs; poor contract
performers will be
terminated. Funds are being
provided from the fiscal year
1992 budget to speed audits.
  The new National Director
is charged with overseeing all
Superfund procurements and
budgeting, and with
implementing measures to
improve contracting and
accelerate cleanups.
Nevertheless, most
site-specific decisions  will
remain with EPA's regional
offices. The trouble shooting
team will track progress in
site cleanups and will
provide an early warning
system for identifying
problems and their solutions.
                                  LouisvilJe Courier-Journal photo.


                          THE  PROBLEM
We can't write
permits on
parking lots.
by Robert Griffin, Jr.
                         Sediment, animal wastes, and
                         chemicals run oil farms into our
                         surface waters.
{Griffin is a Washington-based science
writer specializing in health and
environmental issues.)
 In this period of public skepticism
 over government's ability to solve
problems, the results of the Clean
Water Act stand as a refreshing
counterpoint. By many indicators, this
legislation—and the programs it has
generated—must be counted as a major
  Gross pollution of the nation's
rivers, lakes, and coastal waters by
sewage and by industrial wastes is
largely a thing of the past. Fish have
returned to waters that were once
                                                       Mike Brisson pholo.
depleted of life-giving oxygen.
Swimming and other water-contact
sports are again permitted in rivers, in
lakes, and at ocean beaches that once
were closed by health officials.
  This success, however, is at best
only a partial one. Water pollution
remains a serious problem in most
parts of the country. Sediment,
nutrients, pathogenic organisms, and
toxics still find their way into the
nation's waters, where they degrade
the ecosystem, pose health hazards,

                     EPA JOURNAL

and impair the full use of water
  It is clear that our success in
combatting the gross pollution of
yesteryear—however incomplete—is
largely the result of tackling the easy
things first. We have, in large part,
brought under control the so-called
point sources of pollution.
  These include municipal and
industrial outfalls and other sources
that are clearly identified with a
well-defined location or place.
Government, by requiring permits to
operate such facilities, has created a
mechanism whereby control
technology—such as a waste treatment
plant—can be mandated, and the effect
of such technology can be monitored.
  It is equally clear that  if we are to
continue the progress made over the
past jwo decades, we must now focus
on "nonpoint  source" (NFS) pollution.
The task of controlling NFS pollution
is in many respects more difficult than
controlling pollution from point
sources, and requires different control
   Nonpoint-source pollution—unlike
pollution from point sources—is quite
diffuse, both in terms of its origin and
in the manner in which  it enters
ground and surface waters. It results
from a variety of human activities that
take place over a wide geographic area,
perhaps many hundreds or even
thousands of acres. Unlike pollutants
from point sources—which enter the
environment at well-defined locations
and in relatively even, continuous
discharges—pollutants from nonpoint
sources usually find their way into
surface and ground waters in sudden
surges, often in large quantities, and
are associated with rainfall,
 thunderstorms, or snowmelt.
   Let's take a look at some of the most
 significant sources of NFS pollution, as
 identified in EPA's latest published
 National Water Quality  Inventory:

  • Agriculture: Between 50 to 70
percent of impaired or threatened
surface waters are affected by NFS
pollution from agricultural activities.
Pollutants include sediments from
eroded croplands and overgrazed
pastures;  fertilizers or nutrients, which
promote excessive growth of aquatic
 plants and contamination of ground
water by nitrate; animal waste from
confined animal facilities, which
contains nutrients and bacteria that
can cause shellfish bed closures and
fish kills; and pesticides, which can be
toxic to aquatic life as well as to
 • Urban runoff: Pollutants carried by
runoff from such urban artifacts as
streets and roadways, commercial and
industrial sites, and parking lots affect
In some cases, policies of
federal agencies that directly
affect land use may
contribute  inadvertently to
the NFS problem.
 between 5 to 15 percent of surface
 waters. Urban runoff contains salts and
 oily residues from road surfaces and
 may include a variety of nutrients and
 toxics as well. Elevated
 temperatures—which are typical of
 urban runoff—can result in "thermal
 pollution," contributing to
 higher-than-normal temperatures in
 nearby streams,  reservoirs, or lakes.
   Urban runoff discharged from
 municipal separate storm sewers
 serving populations of 100,000 or more
 and stormwater  discharges associated
 with industrial activity are considered
 point sources by Congress and are
 regulated under the National Pollutant
 Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
 permit program.

  • Hydromodi/ication: Engineering
 projects, such as reservoir or dam
 construction, stream channelization,
 and flood prevention will inevitably
 result in changes in water flow
 patterns. When such changes occur,
 there is often an increase in sediment
 deposits. By modifying habitat, such
 projects may adversely  affect aquatic
 life. Between 5 to 15 percent of surface
 waters in the United States are
 estimated to be affected by

  • Abandoned mines and other past
 resource-extraction operations: Up to
 10 percent of surface waters are
 adversely affected by acid drainage
from abandoned mines, pollution from
mill tailings and mining waste piles,
and pollution from improperly sealed
oil and gas wells. Active mines are
regarded as point sources by EPA.
 • Silviculture: Pollution associated
with commercial timber cutting and
other forestry operations affects up to
five percent of surface waters. Erosion
from deforested lands, and particularly
debris from eroded surfaces of logging
roads, produces large amounts of
sediment which ultimately finds its
way into streams and lakes. Habitat
altered by logging can adversely affect
a wide range of plant and animal
 • Construction: New building and
major land development projects,
including highway construction,
produce sediment and  toxic materials
that have been  estimated to degrade up
to five percent  of the nation's surface
waters.  While pollution loadings from
development and construction
activities are generally  localized, and
of limited duration, such activities
have the potential to generate levels  of
sediment which are typically 10 to 20
times greater than those from
agricultural lands. Severe sediment
loads may degrade water quality and
permanently alter wildlife and fishery
habitat. Construction activities
disturbing five  acres or more are
considered point sources by Congress.
  • Land disposal: Between one and
five percent of  the nation's surface
waters are affected by disposal  of
waste on land—largely leakage from
septic tanks and the spreading of
sewage sludge.
   Often, the full effect of NFS
pollution cannot be  measured in terms
of water contamination alone: Loss of
topsoil to erosion has a negative
impact on agricultural productivity
and can cause  damage to structures,
roads, and ditches. Sediment can
destroy breeding grounds for fish and
other wildlife.  Increased levels of
sediment mean increased costs for
 dredging harbors and treating
wastewater. Resulting  higher riverbeds
 lead to greater flooding; and  reservoirs
 and lakes silt up more quickly  than
   Although the Clean  Water  Act has

served the nation well in the struggle
to control point-source pollution,
environmental experts as well as
Congress acknowledge that this
landmark legislation has proved
inadequate in the effort to manage
pollution from nonpoint sources. The
Act was amended in 1987, in part to
address  this deficiency.
  Under the amendments, all 50 states,
with guidance and  technical support
from EPA, have conducted surveys and
developed "assessment reports"
defining the nature and extent of NPS
pollution within their  boundaries.
Based on these assessments, the states
have adopted NPS  management
programs tailored to address the
particular NFS problems in their state.
EPA lends financial support to these
efforts through grants earmarked for
NPS pollution control.
  Controlling nonpoint sources turns
out to be a  different animal than
controlling point sources.
  Point  sources lend themselves to the
traditional regulatory approach, what
has been called a "top down" solution:
Federal  and state governments "at the
top" establish environmental
requirements that industries and
municipalities must meet.
Environmental agencies monitor
pollution control activities "down" to
the municipal or industrial plant level
to insure compliance.
  Under this approach, EPA defined
limits—applicable nationwide—on the
discharge of individual pollutants from
industrial plants and sewage treatment
facilities. State agencies then enforced
these limits through permits issued
individually to point source operators.
  The responsibility for meeting these
"top down" regulatory requirements is
typically confined to a relatively few
individuals—primarily industry
executives  or municipal officials. The
approach does not  require the active
support and involvement of the
general  public on a day-to-day basis.
  Pollution from nonpoint sources, in
contrast, cannot be controlled by
permits governing  discharges  from
individual  pipes or outfalls. There is
simply no practical way to write a
permit for every 100-acre field, or
parking lot. Further, NPS pollution
occurs as a direct result of the use to
which land is put, and abatement
strategies must accommodate the
politically sensitive issue of land use
planning and zoning.
  Under our federal system, regulation
of land use traditionally has been
primarily a prerogative of local
governments. Consequently, Congress
has been reluctant to create a federal
regulatory program that imposes "top
down" controls on NPS pollution.
Nevertheless, regulation of nonpoint
sources  clearly is feasible. The State of
Wisconsin, for example, has enacted a
back-up regulatory program that
imposes penalties on farms that violate
NPS pollution standards; individual
farms that pollute in a flagrant manner
may be regulated as "point sources,"
subject to monitoring and discharge
  The new coastal NPS legislation,
section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act
Reauthorization Amendments of 1990,
requires states to develop coastal NPS
programs that contain "enforceable
policies and mechanisms" to assure
implementation of these programs.
Thus, while Congress has fallen short
of dictating a particular "top  down"
approach to regulating NPS pollution,
it is clearly calling for states to beef up
their regulatory approaches to NPS
  Control strategies for NPS pollution
generally proceed from two basic
principles,  both involving land use
practices:               fl

         AUto, ANP  Now
          t»«LUl/T"(ON. "
                                      Harley Schwadrun. Reprinted with permission.
• First, measures can be taken to
increase the ability of the land to
retain water, thereby reducing runoff
to streams and lakes. Common-sense
ways to accomplish this include
maximizing cover on cropland and
other land at all times and using
natural  channels and drainage ditches,
instead  of paved ones or sewers, to
transport storm water runoff, allowing
the soil to absorb some pollutant-laden
waters.  Planting grasses or other forms
of vegetation, whose root structures
tend to  bind the topsoil, will prevent
erosion. Also, the plant tissues hold

• Second, the kinds and amount of
pollutants swept away  in runoff can be
minimized. For example, citizens can
be encouraged to recycle waste oil
properly—not down storm drains.
Prudent application of  pesticides and
fertilizers can reduce runoff of
chemicals from farms.
  Using these two basic principles, a
wide variety of NPS pollution control
strategies have been designed to meet
the special requirements of the
different categories of NPS pollution.
  For example, farmers may choose to
reserve steeply sloped lands, or lands
near riverbeds and lake shores, for
permanent pasture or woodland; they
may employ so-called "reduced tillage
systems" for crop cultivation—a
technique which minimizes ploughing
or soil disturbance, and which
involves retaining grass or residues
from previous crops to  help hold the
soil in place. Construction of terraces,
contour strips, and grassed waterways
are  other means for reducing the
velocity and volume of runoff and
reducing soil erosion.
  Runoff from construction areas can
be minimized by disturbing the
smallest possible surfaces of exposed
soil for the shortest  practical time—for
example, by grading only one part of a
construction site at a time. Sediments
can be contained by erecting "skirts"
of canvas or plastic  sheeting around
areas of exposed  soil, or by laying
down mulches to hold the soil until
                                                                                                    EPA JOURNAL

                                             .    '
Melting snow carries urban pollution into storm sewers.
vegetation can be established.
Depending upon the topography, it
may be necessary to construct
temporary diversions, dikes, or other
structures to divert water around
exposed soil surfaces.
  Success in the effort to control NFS
pollution undoubtedly requires finding
good technical solutions to managing
storm-water runoff and minimizing
migration of pollutants into rivers,
lakes, and ground water. But
identifying technical solutions, alone,
will not be sufficient. Attention must
be paid to institutional arrangements
and to financial incentives to correct
the problem. Perhaps most
importantly, it is essential to convince
individuals, and society as a whole,
that there is indeed a problem  and a
compelling need for taking action.
  In some cases, policies of federal
agencies that directly affect land use
may contribute inadvertently to the
NFS problem, and these must be
examined critically with a view toward
change. Such policies and programs
include, for example, U.S. Department
of Agriculture (LJSDA) farm
commodity-price and income-support
programs and USDA policies
governing timber harvesting from the
national forests.
  Currently, more than two-thirds of
all cropland in the United States is
enrolled in USDA
programs. Farmers receive price
supports according to a "base acre"
formula which reflects the average
crop yield over a previous five-year
period. A farmer who accepts price
supports may not substitute another
crop on the same land unless he also
has an established  "base" for the
substitute or rotation crop. Such
artificial impediments to crop rotation,
and penalties for leaving land fallow (a
fallow year lowers the five-year
average yield), work perversely to
encourage greater reliance on
agrichemicals, including synthetic
fertilizers and pesticides, to overcome
the ill effects of continual single-crop
cultivation. Similarly, critics of
USDA's Forest Service maintain that
the agency's timber harvesting policies
are biased toward production and do
not allow sufficient consideration for
environmental impacts.
  It should be noted that USDA has
shown greater sympathy in recent
years for the environmental point of
view: Clear-cutting has been reduced
in the national forests; changes have
been proposed to offer greater
flexibility to the price support
  There is promise in steps that are
being taken to control pollution of
coastal waters from nonpoint sources.
  Protection of coastal waters is an
especially sensitive issue. This fact is
surely due to the well-recognized
public health hazards, as well as insult
to aesthetic sensibilities, associated
with pollution of bathing beaches and
commercial fishing and  shellfish
habitat. Just as the amendments to the
Clean Water Act have focused greater
attention on control of NFS pollution
in general, so recent amendments to
the Coastal Zone Management Act
have focused specifically on the need
for controlling NFS pollution in
coastal areas.
  Environmentalists, marine biologists,
and others with an interest in
protecting the nation's coastal  waters
express satisfaction over the prospect
that states with approved coastal zone
management programs must soon
begin to develop Coastal Nonpoint
Pollution Control Programs. In
developing such programs, states must
follow guidance issued jointly by EPA
and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The guidance will describe
management measures of proven value
in controlling NFS pollution. These
will include measures which can be
employed to avoid or  reduce the
generation of pollutants, as well as
actions which can be taken to  prevent
pollution from reaching ground or
surface waters. A  legislatively
determined timetable calls for  the
states to complete development of
their Coastal NPS programs within 30
months following issuance of the
EPA/NOAA guidance, now scheduled
for publication in May 1992.
  The promise lies in  the hope of
many that successful implementation
of the program by coastal states will
warrant its extension to inland states,
as well.
  Finally, Congress has recognized that
bringing NPS pollution under control
will not be cheap, and it has
authorized channeling substantial
federal monies into the effort: A
number of grants to states  under the
Clean Water Act may be used for
either NPS program development or
implementation and State  Revolving
Funds, capitalized by  EPA, may be
applied to implementation of NPS
programs. In addition,  many states are
financing  their own NPS control
  The effort to control NPS pollution
will not be easy, nor can it be
accomplished quickly. It certainly will
not be inexpensive. But the price of
avoiding this issue, or of continuing
delay, grows daily. It is measured in
terms of the nation's health, and in the
degradation of our irreplaceable water
resources, a

 Hie  W  Case
 In the land  of sky blue waters, wells are polluted.

 by John Weiss
     Minnesota, land of sky blue waters,
     land of 10,000 lakes, land of tall
pines ringing clear lakes and streams.
This is the common image of the state.
  But the state and its water have
another side, one that presents unique
beauties, and unique problems, for its
people and their drinking water. That
side is  found in the southeastern
corner, in all or parts of six or seven
counties. In these counties, the glaciers
never left their mark with deep topsoil
and lakes.
  In many places in these counties,
there is little topsoil to filter pollutants
from water before it gets into the
sandstone or limestone that is often
only several inches or several feet
below the surface.
  What that means is that whatever is
put on  the surface, be it pesticides or
fertilizers, often quickly ends up in the
subsurface, or ground water. It is  a
problem that began to surface about 15
years ago in the realization of some
health experts, and in the last decade
in the minds of most of the region's
  A short geology lesson is needed to
understand the phenomenon known as
karst, an area of porous, fractured rock.
  According to Dr. Nancy Jannik, a
professor of geology at Winona State
University, rock formed at the bottom
of ancient, warm seas sometime within
the last 600 million years.  Sands
deposited there became sandstone;
marine creatures became limestone;
muds compacted  into shale.
 (Weiss is an environmental writer with
 the Rochester Post-Bulletin. He has
 covered water quality issues /or 15
  Being porous, the rocks contain huge
amounts of water, many times more
than is found in all the streams and
lakes of the state, except for Lake
Superior. The southeast,  in other
words, is a huge reservoir of ground
water. It is formed in three  basic layers
separated by rock that lets no water
through, or only lets it trickle through.
  Besides  being porous, the rock often
is fractured, especially near the
surface. Unfortunately, it is not
consistent in this regard, making the
study of ground water challenging and
frustrating. Rock may be quite solid in
one place, and badly fractured just 10
feet away. Some limestone  areas have
large caves that have been gouged  out
by underground streams.
  Because the rock is porous and
fractured, Jannik says, the best way to
think of it is not as rock but as a
sponge that may suck up any
pollution.  Where the pollution goes
when it's under the ground is hard to
predict, but it does go down, although
it often takes centuries to reach lower
  Karst  became a problem when
settlers came to the region and turned
much of the former prairie and woods
into farms or pastures. Although there
isn't a great amount of topsoil, much
of the region is still heavily farmed. In
flatter areas, at the top or at the base of
bluffs, there are large fields of corn or
soybeans, the two main cash crops.
There are also large hay or alfalfa
fields for cattle, another mainstay of
the farming industry. Some areas,
which are  too rolling for planting cash
corps, are used for pasture for beef or
dairy cattle.
  Farmers use pesticides to keep
grasses and insects at bay and
fertilizers to help crops grow. For years
it was commonly believed that such
chemicals would either remain on top
of the ground or would degrade before
they could reach the ground water.
  But recently, drinking water samples
were found to contain nitrates, nearly
all of which came from fertilizers
which seeped into the water. Many
samples were below the 10
parts-per-million standard set for
drinking water by EPA, but they still
showed amounts higher than would be
found naturally. Now and then, some
were found in high enough doses to
harm infants or young cattle. (High
nitrate levels can interfere with  the
ability of blood to carry oxygen.)
  Besides nitrates, some common
pesticides, such as atrazine, have also
been found in the water. What low
levels of such pollutants will do over
the  long run isn't well known.
  When the settlers came, they also
drilled wells to tap  the ground water.
But they usually didn't bother to
protect the wells. Consequently, the
wells became  not only a conduit for
water to come up, but also for
pollution to go down. In some cases,
where wells were too close to feedlots
or home sewage systems, people
literally drank their own waste or that
of their cattle.
When rock is dissolved by ground water,
the land surface may cave in, forming
                                                                                                 EPA JOURNAL

  Still another problem, besides little
topsoil or bad wells, are sinkholes,
according to Laurie Hassler, who
works on water protection for the Soil
Conservation Service in Olmsted
County, in the center of the southeast.
Those holes are simply areas where
the rock has been eroded  from below,
and the surface has caved in. They are
direct links from the surface to  the
ground water. Olmsted County  has
about 800 such sinkholes; Fillmore
County, to the south, is the sinkhole
capital of the southeast, with several
  Because they were of little use
otherwise, sinkholes were often used
for dumps.  Included in the debris were
unrinsed herbicide or insecticide
containers.  In the cases of two towns,
sinkholes opened below sewage
lagoons, allowing thousands of  gallons
of untreated (or semi-treated) sewage
to flow into the ground water.
  As farming became more developed,
chemicals and fertilizers were used
more, and problems became worse.
Now, in large part due to  chemicals,
but also because of urban  pollution,
throughout the region the top layer of
ground water is too contaminated to
use for drinking or cooking, the middle
layer is  in good shape, and the  lowest
one is still good. But towns built along
rivers usually don't have all three
ground-water layers. They may  already
be using the lowest one. If that  is
polluted, they are out of luck. There is
very little water below.
  Policy makers and others  in the
region have begun to respond to the
problem. Nine counties have formed a
joint powers board through which they
can work together to reduce the
amount of contamination  going into
the water. Agricultural experts are
helping farmers to use fewer
chemicals, use them more effectively,
and recycle pesticide containers. In  the
case of nitrates, studies have been
made to help farmers determine just
how much fertilizer they really need,
so that excess fertilizer doesn't  end up
in drinking water. This also saves
them money.
  As for the sinkholes,  Hassler  said  the
region recently received a state  grant to
see if it's possible to divert runoff
around them. It's too expensive to seal
them, and the seals don't  always work.
However, with diking or other devices,
runoff can be kept out of the sinkholes,
and out of the ground water, a

Tlie   Case  of  Otter  Creek
 Erosion can smother fish  and aquatic plants.
 by David Wann and Jack Wilbur
     Chinese leaders expressed it well
     more than 3,000 years ago: "To
 protect your rivers, protect your
 mountains." The same Earth that is a
 critical resource on wilderness terrain
 or grazing lands becomes a
 pollutant—sediment—when it washes
 into creeks and streams. Otter Creek  in
 central Utah is a good example.
   The Otter Creek watershed is a
 tributary to the Sevier River system,
 which provides municipal, industrial,
 and agricultural water to several
 thousand downstream users. Because
 of its deteriorating condition, Otter
 Creek is near the top of Utah's priority
 list of areas requiring immediate
 action. The bull's-eye is good water
 quality in the creek and downstream
 reservoir, but the target includes
 240,000 acres of riparian and upland
 range operated by the Bureau of Land
 Management, the U.S. Forest Service,
 the state of Utah, and private owners.
   The story is a familiar one, yet one
 that is ecologically complex.
   When rangeland condition is
 declining, native grasses tend  to be
 replaced by vegetation that doesn't
 adequately hold the soil in place. (At
 Otter Creek, sedges, blue gramma
 grass, and aspens are steadily being
 replaced by more shallow-rooted
 (Wann works in the Policy Office in
 EPA's Region 8; recently he produced
 television programs on hazardous
 waste, transportation, and sustainable
 agriculture. Wilbur is a public
 information specialist with the Utah
 Department of Agriculture,
 specializing in nonpoint-source water
 pollution issues.]
grasses, sagebrush, and juniper.)
  The effects of wind, water, ice, and
excessive grazing can combine to
deposit soil in creeks and streams,
which  in turn changes the stream's
shape,  temperature, and biological
capacity. Eroded soil can smother fish
habitat and deplete dissolved oxygen.
Many species of  aquatic plants cannot
thrive because of the cloudiness of the
water. Downstream, reservoirs fill up
with silt, reducing their storage
capacity and biological vitality.
  What are the causes of this chain of
events? In most cases, a whole series
of activities occurring both in  upland
pastures and streamside ("riparian")
meadows. Like humans, whose major
cities are located on rivers, livestock
and wildlife tend to congregate along
streams and creeks, especially in hot
weather. When upland vegetation
deteriorates, livestock rely on
streamside forage even more than
usual. This heavy concentration  may
cause trampling of the overhanging
streambanks that are ideal as fish
habitat, filling in the pools where fish
feed. Excessive grazing also depletes
the lush vegetation that typically
grows on the banks of streams.
  Poorly managed grazing in riparian
zones often removes young tree and
shrub seedlings,  leaving species  that
are not only less palatable but also less
capable of holding streamside  soil in
place. The removal of vegetation along
the stream causes elevated water
temperatures that are intolerable to
fish species such as trout. And it leads
to the bank erosion that makes streams
wide and shallow, a condition that
further raises temperatures.
  Over-utilized vegetation loses  its

  vigor. The roots become less healthy
  and the plants may eventually die
  back, leaving exposed soil that is
  vulnerable to runoff. To be healthy,
  both upland and riparian areas need a
  mix of vegetation that provides a
  "pathway" for water to soak into the
  ground, and tenacious roots to hold
  streambanks together. A healthy
  mixture of plant species stabilizes soil
  so the pasture can withstand natural
  challenges like thunderstorms,
  flashfloods, and rapid snowmelts.
    The decline of a watershed can
  happen quickly,  or it can beslow and
  difficult to detect. But the end result is
  the same: a hydrological system that is
  literally going down the drain.
    A wide variety of agencies and
  groups are attacking the causes of Otter
  Creek's malaise: The state of Utah's
  Departments of Environment,
  Agriculture, Wildlife, Parks, and
  Recreation are working closely with the
  federal Bureau of Land Management,
  Soil Conservation Service, Forest
  Service, Environmental Protection
  Agency, Agricultural Stabilization and
  Conservation Service, Utah State
  University Cooperative Extension
  Service, Piute County, Piute Soil
Conservation District, and the towns of
Angle, Greenwich, Koosharem, and
  Participants in the project will
perform remediations such as the
exclusion of cattle from critical
riparian areas, range seeding, brush
management, streambank stabilization,
and in-stream structures to improve
fish habitat.
  Range managers and ecologists have
found that streamside vegetation can
sometimes become so depleted that
even a long "rest period" from grazing
won't enable it to regenerate to a
vigorous, productive state.  In such
cases, clearing away unproductive
brush and reseeding grasses and
willows is called for.
  In other situations, a change in
grazing patterns is enough  to bring the
pastures and riparian back to life.
Using fencing systems that permit
managed rotation of their herds,
ranchers move the cattle before they
can damage the grass. Gradually, the
pastures gain back their vigor; water
tables rise, as snowmelt and rain soak
in, rather than running off.
  At Otter Creek and elsewhere, the
key is to devise a strategy that
integrates climate, soils, vegetation,
livestock, wildlife, and stream
conditions into a single, living system,
benefiting not only the farmer but the
community.  Throughout the Otter
Creek watershed, for example, local
business will benefit by increased sales
to recreational users, hunters, and
fishermen. Sometimes the benefits can
range much  further, as in the case of
birds and fish that use a watershed
and then migrate to  a  different region.
In the rangelands of the West, riparian
zones are less than three percent of the
land area, but they provide habitat for
80 percent of the wildlife species.
  Poor water quality in a stream such
as Otter Creek can be a symptom of
poor livestock management. In the
past, range managers have tended to
focus their attention on the
maintenance of vegetation and the
productivity of the livestock. Fish and
wildlife managers have stressed
in-stream conditions and fish
populations. At Otter Creek, experts
have literally found  common ground:
Taking care  of riparian as well as
upland vegetation can result in
high-quality  cattle, as  well as "happy"
fish. Q
                                                                                         Livestock graze
                                                                                         along Otter
                                                                                         Creek, trampling
                                                                                         its banks and
                                                                                         causing erosion.
                                                                                                     EPA JOURNAL

Hie   Examp  e   of  Barnstable
The aquifer of a Cape Cod town is threatened.
by David Still  II
    Covering an area of 64 square miles,
    and with over 100 miles of
shoreline, the town of Barnstable is the
largest community on Cape Cod, a
peninsula that juts into the Atlantic
Ocean from Massachusetts. Although
the town is properly called Barnstable,
most people more readily identify with
its urban center of Hyannis. Hyannis,
however, is just one of seven villages
that comprise the town.
  Barnstable is 70 miles south of
Boston, and it serves as a retirement
and summer recreational area for
Boston, the rest of New England, and
parts of Canada. Most jobs are in
tourism, construction, fishing, shellfish
harvesting, and, more recently, light
industry. Thirty-four percent of all jobs
are in retailing; an additional 31
percent are in service industries.
  The Cape Cod peninsula was formed
during the most recent Ice Age. The
ice sheet acted as a conveyor belt in
depositing a thick layer of glacial till.
As  the ice sheet melted, runoff washed
through the deposits and transported
sand southward to form an out-wash
plane on the south side of the Cape.
Consequently, the southern half of
Barnstable has extremely porous sands
and gravels. The northern half is more
varied, with alternating areas of clays,
sand, boulders, and silts. A single large
aquifer lies under the town; it is the
only source of drinking water.
  Barnstable has been one of the
fastest growing communities in the
Northeast, more than doubling its
population in the last 20 years.
Currently, the year-round population
 (Still is a reporter for the
 Barnstable Patriot.]
of 41,000 increases to nearly 70,000 in
the summer.
  There is a convergence of problems
within Barnstable that are directly
attributable to the urbanization of the
town. Over the past 20 years, the
demands placed on the town's natural
resources have grown along with the
ever-expanding population. To house
this population, there were two major
building booms, one ending mid-way
through the 1970s and the other in
1988. Whether the building booms
contributed to the population increase
has been the focus of some debate.
Whatever the answer, Barnstable has
had a difficult time keeping pace.
  Protection of the aquifer has been a
major concern. Most of the ground
water is still drinkable without
treatment. However, some problems
are emerging:
• One public supply well in the
Hyannis industrial park has been shut
down due to chloroform
contamination; a second due to freon
• Ground water is being treated at two
locations because of gasoline leakage
from underground tanks.
• Elevated nitrate levels have been
found in densely populated areas
where septic systems are used.
• High bacterial  counts have been
found in some  densely populated
coastal areas where the water table is
high and where septic systems are
• The ground water feeds coastal
estuaries with contamination.
Eighty-five percent of the nutrient
loading on one Cape Cod bay came
from the ground  water.
                                                                                                     Barnstable Harbor
                                                                                                     v	j

                  NANTUCKET SOUND
  Of particular concern has been the
increase in the number of septic
systems discharging wastewater into
the ground. Only about 15 percent of
residences hook into the town sewer.
  When construction of the wastewater
treatment plant started in the early
1970s, the thought was to build one
each in the eastern  and western parts
of town, eventually connecting all
residents to a collection system. This
thinking went by the wayside because
of lack of funding, and because it has
since been found impractical to
connect all properties to the system.
  Barnstable is working to identify
sewage-related problems and to target
areas for improvement. At an original
projected cost of $2.5 million, a
facilities plan was to have identified
the areas of the town where  upgrading
sewage collection technologies was a
main priority. The plan has been
scaled back significantly because of a
reduction in funding by the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Although the entire project will
eventually have to be completed if
Barnstable is to comply with state and
federal grant requirements, the town is
being allowed to stretch the  upgrade
over the next several years so as to
lighten the financial load. The primary
effort will be  focused on the

wastewater plant and the plume of
contaminants emanating from it.
  Protection of the aquifer is vital to
the future of the Cape and the town of
Barnstable; the quality of the town's
coastal waters is also a primary
  Stretching the entire north-to-south
span of the Cape, Barnstable has two
distinct shorelines. The south side,
with five separate bays and many more
estuarine systems, abuts Nantucket
Sound, which is warmed by the
northerly flow of the Gulf stream. The
north side, with its one major harbor
and 5,000 acres of marshlands, outlets
to the much colder waters of Cape Cod
  As developers continued paving or
otherwise occupying large areas of
previously undisturbed land, the
ability of the area to handle
stormwater declined. The common
method of dealing with the additional
runoff was to redirect it off site or into
the ground as quickly as possible,
which managed the volume of water
but not  the quality. Water quality has
become an important issue with regard
to runoff.
  In recent years, the town has been
sensitive to water quality when
correcting drainage problems close to
the shore. Rather than installing outfall
pipes leading directly into the water,
they built gravel and rock filtration
beds or created grass swales for water
to drain through before discharge. But
many pipes built both privately and
publicly in the past are still in
  Water sampling conducted at various
locations in the town identified no less
than 50 sites where stormwater
discharges needed to be treated. After
closer scrutiny, 12 of the 50 were
classified as high priority. The
town-owned boat ramp at Scudder
Lane topped this list and was selected
as the location for the town's first
proactive stance on  treating stormwater
  The Scudder Lane ramp is a popular
access to Barnstable Harbor and its
bountiful shellfishery, used heavily by
both commercial and recreational
fishermen.  The housing and road
development around the Scudder Lane
ramp has not changed very much in
the  past 20 years. The homes in
existence today are the same ones in
existence then. Contamination caused
by storm runoff has always existed, but
only recently has there been an effort
to curb its effects. If successful, the
technology used at this site will be
used as a model for other town-owned
sites, as well as for shoreline
protection elsewhere in the state.
  To determine the extent of the
contamination at Scudder Lane, water
samples were taken from the harbor
before, during, and after a storm.  These
showed bacteria counts measuring 7 to
10 parts per million (ppm) before a
storm, jumping to 1,450 ppm during a
storm and returning to pre-storm  levels
two to three days later.
  The plan to reduce contamination
had to take into consideration the fact
that the amount of town-owned
property at the site was limited.
Therefore, the first step was to see if
the contamination could be cut off at
the source. A sanitary survey found
that all four homes in the watershed
had properly functioning septic
systems and did not contribute to the
high bacteria counts in the storm
water. In the end, the sources were
determined to be diverse and
undetermined, leaving treatment  of the
stormwater itself as the only viable
  Treating the runoff could have  been
done in a  number of ways. A
town-hired consultant looked into
chemical and ultra-violet disinfection,
and into using wetlands for filtration.
However,  a man-made infiltration
system seemed the best solution on the
basis of cost effectiveness and amount
of maintenance. Moreover, such a
system would use existing technology
that the  town could service itself.
  In simplest terms, the town built a
huge septic system to catch stormwater
as it made its way to Barnstable
Harbor. The water collects in large
catch basins that discharge to leaching
fields. Direct flow into the harbor is
stopped. Once in the system, the  water
seeps into the ground and  eventually
resurfaces through the harbor floor.
Ground soils filter out contaminants
before they get to the shellfish beds.
  The collection system was  designed
and built at a cost of $105,000, with a
capacity of 19,000 gallons per storm.
This is large enough to treat all runoff
from typical storm events,  but larger
storms will inundate the system.  In
these cases, the majority of the
contaminants will be taken into the
system by the first 19,000 gallons; the
overflow discharging directly into the
harbor will be relatively clean.
  To test the effectiveness of the
ground soils as filters, three ground
water monitoring wells were placed  on
the site: one before the system, one
just after it, and another closer to the
  The final touches on the project
were completed mid-way through
November, and the town has not had
the opportunity to fully test its
effectiveness. However, early
indications point to improved water
quality in the immediate area.
  Infiltration systems for the other
areas identified in the surveys are
being designed  by the town's
engineering department. The goal is  to
recapture the large shellfish areas
closed because  of high pollution
counts. It is estimated that well  over
$2 million in stocks were lost to
contamination in 1990.
  Stopping the  direct discharge  of
stormwater into coastal waters is key
to reducing contamination, but it is
just one of the problems Barnstable has
to come to grips with in terms of
eliminating coastal pollution. Other
sources, such as wastewater discharges
from boats, failing septic systems on
coastal properties, and wildlife
pollution also contribute to the
problem. Before they can be addressed,
the town will need additional
manpower, as well as a reliable  source
of funding, a
                                                                                                    EPA JOURNAL

Lugging:  The
As stream habitat is altered, the small  fry are leaving.
by Stephen  Ralph
 r;n Washington State, especially on
 'the wetter western slopes of the
Cascade and Olympic mountains, the
preferred mode of timber harvesting is
clear-cut logging.  During this
operation, trees are  completely
removed from the landscape, and
everything not of  commercial
value—limbs,  root wads, shrubs, dead
or diseased  trees—are either piled and
left on site or burned. Once
clear-cutting has occurred, an area is
planted and left to regrow to
commercial size for 40 to 120 years,
depending upon the conditions at the
growing site and the demands of the
market place. The growing and harvest
cycle then begins anew.
  Many of the extensive timberland
areas of the state have been harvested
in this way  two or three times in
succession.  In the process, old growth
forests of spruce,  hemlock, fir, and
cedar have been converted to tree
plantations for growing the most
commercially valuable species. Except
on federal timber  lands, there are no
limits on the size of clear-cuts, even in
a basin  already substantially cut over.
In some areas, square mile after square
mile of  clear-cuts  punctuate the
  Timber harvesting in Washington
state is big business. The forest
products industry pumps $8 billion
into Washington's economy annually.
The predominant  land use on nearly
42 percent (18 million acres) of the
area is (or recently was) commercial
production of  timber and related forest
  Probably, most  current timber
harvesting results in little or no impact
on water resources.  But timber
harvesting and road building in some

(Ralph is on the research staff at  the
Center /or Streamside Studies at the
University of Washington.)
steep, unstable watersheds have had a
significant impact on the survival of
the region's once abundant fisheries
resource by altering the fundamental
character of stream habitat that salmon
depend upon. The magnitude and
extent of these impacts are difficult to
assess because of the sheer size of the
area. In some places,  impacts from
logging done as long ago as 60 years
have left  an indelible mark on the
stream habitat.
  Extensive removal of forest
vegetation within a basin changes the
volume of water that runs off the
slopes of the watershed.  Without the
complex  of trees, shrubs, and mosses
that act like a sponge, water runs off
the hillslope more quickly. Snow that
accumulates in clear-cuts melts faster
than a comparable amount falling in
mature timber stands, especially
during frequent winter warm spells
brought by Pacific Ocean windstorms
known locally as "chinooks." The
streams found within these basins
have to carry a larger volume of water
during more frequent periods of the
year than normally.
  Logging in steep unstable areas can
weaken the thin soils held in place by
root balls of mature trees. Hills having
thin unstable soils can become further
weakened when roads built along their
slopes  interrupt the runoff of rain and
melting snow and channel it. Areas
below culverts become supersaturated
with water, which can cause large
areas of the slope to slide downhill,
carrying logging debris, rocks, soil, and
whatever else is in the path into the
stream channel. When the amount of
sediment entering the stream is
excessive, spawning beds are silted
over, and pools used by juvenile
salmon are filled. When excessive
sedimentation is coupled  with large
storm  events that yield intense  periods
 Adult salmon returning to natal stream. They have become genefic<)//y
 fine tuned to their birthplace.

of rainfall, the capacity of the channel
to convey the flood level flows is
severely reduced. The results can
include extensive stream bank erosion
and the altering of habitat features
such as pools and riffles.
  The most significant result of timber
harvesting within the riparian zone
relates to the removal of big trees that
border streams. In the old growth
condition, trees fall into the stream
and form deep pools, store gravel
moving downstream, and  provide a
buffer to  the impacts of large flood
flows. Streams no longer shaded by
riparian trees are subjected to
increased warming from sunlight.
Temperatures within the stream can
reach sublethal levels for adult and
juvenile salmon and trout alike.
  Enter the salmon, the quintessential
icon of Washington State. Salmon and
their cousins, the trout, need access to
streams having clean wa».er and clean
gravel to successfully complete their
complex  life cycle. Salmon are a major
export in international trade, and they
contribute nearly a billion dollars
annually to the economy through
commercial, sport fishing, and their
secondary markets. Although salmon
stocks native to our rivers were once
abundant beyond imagination, their
future status is at best uncertain due to
a list of challenges that include not
only timber harvesting, but
overfishing, urban sprawl, hydropower
dams, and agriculture—all related to
society's sometimes  contradictory
expectations for resource production
and conservation stewardship.
  Seven species of Pacific salmon and
sea-run trout return  to the freshwater
rivers and streams of Washington.
Over the millennia, they have evolved
a pattern of life that takes advantage of
the best that both rivers and oceans
have to offer. Salmon eggs, deposited
in nests built by adult fish in the
gravels of cool water rivers, hatch tiny
juvenile fish  called fry. When the fry
have grown  to the size of an index
finger, they begin their long journey
downstream and out to marine waters,
where they graze and grow for two to
four years.
  At maturity, adult salmon return
from their oceanic pastures to their
natal streams. They  employ an
amazing sense of navigation to make
this journey,  that can be measured in
the thousands of miles. Those that
escape the armada of the fishing fleet
and sport fishermen will fight the
rain-swollen rivers to ascend to the
same reach from which they emerged
as juvenile fish. After a spawning pair
builds their nests in the gravel beds of
rivers and streams, thousands of eggs
are deposited, fertilized by the male,
and covered with gravel to protect the
eggs during development. The cycle
repeats itself as it has done for
thousands of years.  Over the ages,
stocks of salmon returning to a
particular river have evolved to
become genetically "fine tuned" to the
unique characteristics provided by that
stream. Their unique life history  makes
salmon susceptible to changes in rivers
that can break the critical fresh-water
link that ensures their survival.
  The standard approach to protecting
the fish is to impose stricter controls
on timber harvesting. The problem
with this approach in the past is  that it
hasn't allowed flexibility to adjust
"rules" to the conditions found at a
particular site. In Washington,
regulations governing logging were
imposed for the first time in the early
1970s. Environmental groups, Indian
tribes, state agencies, and timber
companies, warring for years over
tighter restrictions, reached an interim
agreement in 1987 on a set of rules
that did allow some flexibility. These
rules impose "best management
practices"  (BMPs) that are presumed to
give a reasonably good chance of
minimizing impacts on water
resources.  They include leaving a
certain number of trees along streams,
placing culverts of the proper diameter
under logging roads where they cross
streams, and restricting harvesting and
road construction in areas with
unstable soils or geology.
  All parties to this issue sincerely
want to employ effective strategies that
will afford protection to water quality.
However, because of the differing
environmental conditions found  from
one site to another, it seems unlikely
that a BMP applied to one area will
always give the same desired
protection when applied to another.  To
compound the matter, timber harvest
permits are routinely assessed without
a critical understanding of what the
conditions are like in the entire
watershed. Cumulative impacts from
past logging and reading are largely
ignored when approval is given to add
yet another 200-acre clearcut to the
landscape,  D
Report  from
West  Virginia
Abandoned coal mines still
drain  acid  into  streams.
by Lyie Bennett
    The first recorded mention of coal in
    West Virginia was by John Peter
Salley, who, in 1742, found coal on a
river which he subsequently named
the Coal River. At the beginning of the
19th century, the only people using
West Virginia coal were crossroad
blacksmiths and the pioneers whose
cabins happened to be situated near an
  By 1840, mining operations were
open in  eight of the Virginia counties
which later became part of West
Virginia. By the end of the Civil War,
in the northern part of the state, the
Baltimore  and Ohio Railroad provided
an overland outlet to the east and  the
west. Over the next several decades, as
the transportation network improved,
coal mining developed into the state's
predominant industry; it remains so
today. In 1990, West Virginia was  the
nation's third largest coal-producing
state, with an annual tonnage of
  More than two-thirds  of the
"mountain" state's 24,282 square miles
lie within  the Appalachian bituminous
area. West Virginia is acknowledged as
having the most valuable fuel deposits
in the United States. The coal lies in
10 fields; the fields entail 39 of the
state's 55 counties.

(Bennett is Nonpoint-Source Program
Leader with the West Virginia Division
of Natural Resources.)

                     EPA JOURNAL

  Coal mining is, and probably will
continue to be, the major conomic
force in the state. Unfortunately, coal
mining has left behind thousands of
abandoned mines, which collectively
form the number one nonpoint water
pollution source in West Virginia.
  Abandoned mines contribute to
widespread water quality problems.
Where topsoil  and vegetation have
been removed  from the surface,
fractured rock  is exposed to oxidation
and leaching. Various elements
dissolve and flow into streams along
with sediment. Erosion of disturbed
soil from abandoned surface mines or
refuse  piles creates turbidity,
sedimentation, and siltation, which
can lead to stream cloggings, loss of
fish spawning  gravels, or removal and
compaction of stream bottoms. Studies
indicate that sediment loads from
uncontrolled surface mines may be up
to 2,000 times  greater than runoff from
undisturbed forests.
  Drainage from underground mine
openings or runoff seeping through
refuse  piles or surface mine spoil may
alter water chemically. The results  can
be devastating for aquatic life, water
supplies, recreation, and agricultural
and industrial  usage.
  Most chemical pollution results from
the oxidation of  sulfide  minerals. The
reactions lower the pH of the runoff,
creating acid mine drainage (AMD).
Solids  dissolved in AMD may contain
significant quantities of iron,
aluminum, calcium, magnesium,
manganese, copper, zinc, and other
heavy  metals. Acid mine drainage has
been the most  serious water pollution
problem plaguing West Virginia during
the 20th century.
  Prior to the 1960s, with no laws in
place to protect water quality, many
coal mine operators ignored the effects
pollution was having on rivers and
streams. Federal studies conducted
during the 1960s found  that 3,100
miles of streams were impacted by
mine drainage.
  Information  gathered in the 1980s
indicates that little improvement has
been made. The  data,  incorporated  into
the West Virginia Nonpoint Source
Assessment in  1989, show that 96 of
the state's 315  watersheds are
impacted by drainage from abandoned
coal mines. According to this
information, 2,852 miles of streams
currently are affected.
  With the advent of the Federal Clean
Water Act in 1972, several miles of
streams improved in quality, as active
coal mining operations were forced to
treat discharges before they left the
site. As beneficial as this law has been
in regulating active mine operations
however, it was not designed to
address the problem of drainage from
already abandoned mines, nor was it
intended to prevent problems arising
from newly abandoned operations.
  In 1977, the Surface Mining Control
and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) became
law. Under this law, to qualify for
reclamation funds, each state had to
inventory its abandoned mine lands.
By December 1990, the 13th year of
SMCRA, $115  million had been spent
to reclaim 417 areas in West Virginia.
However, 394  new problem areas have
been created since the law was passed.
Currently, there are 4,000 areas in the
state's inventory.
  During the past 50 years, great
strides have been made in  reducing the
problem of erosion through regrading
and revegetating of abandoned strip
mines. This aspect of reclamation
should be nearly 100-percent effective
when using current technologies.
Unfortunately, many mistakenly
believe that  returning a mine to a lush
green pasture cures all  its ills. While it
does minimize erosion, it often ignores
the source of acid mine drainage.
  The first intensive efforts to control
acid mine drainage were made by the
U.S. Public Health Service during the
1930s. They were aimed at  reducing
drainage by  sealing openings to
abandoned underground mines.
Reductions in pollutant levels were
remarkable, considering the
technologies available. Mines sealed
through this effort originally
contributed an acid load of 402,787
tons per year.  After sealing,  261.800
tons per year,  or 65 percent, were
removed. The  sealing program was
based on the theory that eliminating
most of the oxygen and reducing the
available water would prevent the
formation of acid. The theory remains
the basic principle used today.
  Numerous research and
demonstration projects have been
carried out since the 1930s Sealing
Program. They range from the
simplistic to the exotic. The  dilemma
of controlling acid drainage after a
mine is abandoned, however, still
confronts government agencies and
  The research has shown that each
mine discharge exhibits different
characteristics. What works in one
situation will not necessarily work in
another. In West Virginia, the primary
focus is on correcting pollution
problems through natural processes.
  Recent years have seen numerous

man-made wetlands installed to act as
filters to collect and absorb the
materials found in acid mine drainage.
More advanced wetlands incorporate
alkaline recharge zones to neutralize
the acid. Modifications of the mine
sealing theory have been demonstrated
as well. They involve sealing the
underground mine and piping the
water to an alkaline leach bed.  Here,
the water trickles from a series  of
perforated pipes through 5 to 10 feet of
limestone before discharge. The
process provides both oxygen
reduction and neutralization. Metals
drop out, and pH levels increase to
within water quality standards.
  Other abatement systems treat water
through a combination of trenches and
wetlands. The  trenches are filled with
alkaline material, which  reduces the
acidity of the water and adds alkalinity
in the absence  of oxygen. Outlets for
the trenches lead to man-made
wetlands, where the water is cleansed
of metals before discharging  into a
  Although all these reclamation
practices have  merit, unless  acid
drainage from abandoned coal mines is
addressed on a watershed basis, it will
continue to cause serious water
pollution problems in West Virginia.
  As part of the West Virginia
Nonpoint Source Program, the  Middle
Fork River Watershed has been chosen
from the state's inventory and
established as a National Pilot
Demonstration Watershed Project. The
project is designed to develop a more
effective and coordinated federal/state
approach to resolving acid drainage
problems from abandoned coal mines
through the use of innovative
reclamation practices.
   Without a doubt, acid  mine drainage
will continue to be an environmental
challenge in the current  decade. West
Virginia will continue to seek
long-term solutions based on pollution
prevention. But long-term solutions
will also require changes in  behavior.
In the Middle Fork River Pilot
Demonstration Watershed Project, state
and federal agencies are proving they
can get away from traditional roles and
work as a team. The prognosis for
curing acid mine drainage will
improve when duplication of efforts
are eliminated, and funding  sources
are grouped. Q
The  litemaish  Case
Only the blacknose dace
will live in Whitemarsh Run.
by Karl Blankenship
     One Saturday afternoon in the early
     1970s, Richard Klein was hiking
 along a neighborhood stream,
 Whitemarsh Run, when he noticed a
 thick ribbon of mud pouring into it
 from a tributary. He turned to
 investigate. "I  came across a hill that
 was totally cleared," he recalled. "In
 fact, the bulldozers were still running
 over it."
   The bulldozers were preparing the
 site for a town house development.
 They had exposed springs, which were
 eroding ruts in the slope. Mud oozed
 into a small stream at the foot of the
   For years, scenes like this were all
 too common in the Whitemarsh Run
 watershed, a 17-square mile area just
 east of Baltimore. It is the largest—and
 most heavily developed—tributary of
 the Bird River, a three-mile long
 estuary that connects several small
 waterways to the Chesapeake Bay.
 Once a rural area where farms and
 forests covered the rolling hills, the
 Whitemarsh Run watershed underwent
 intense construction as Baltimore
 sprawled across its borders.
   The construction boom that poured
 countless tons  of "mud pollution" into
 the stream was the latest wave of
 degradation. For centuries, farming
 activities had contributed sediment to
 the waterway;  in latter years, the area
 was mined for  sand and gravel.  Then,
 in the 1960s, the construction boom
 began. Acres of land were laid bare by
 the bulldozer at a time when controls
 on sediment runoff were not required.

(BJankenship is a free-lance
writer and Editor of the Bay Journal, a
publication of the Alliance for the
Chesapeake Bay.)
  In the past few decades, the
watershed has become home to two
expressways, subdivisions, town
houses, shopping centers, and all the
usual accompaniments of modern
suburbs. Sediment runoff from these
activities has been  as deadly as an oil
spill, choking aquatic life out of the
stream, causing flooding, and perhaps
altering habitat forever.
  Klein, who grew up in the area,
founded Community & Environmental
Defense  Services, which helps citizens
to make  sure that developers minimize
impacts  during construction. He
recalled  that the streambed at times
was totally obscured in a field of dirt,
bulldozers plowing where fish once
swam. "There used to be three ponds
where we would catch tadpoles and
frogs when I was a kid," he  said.
"They were silted in. They were 100
feet from the stream, but they got filled
in when the stream would flood its
banks and carry sediment into them."
  Klein  is building a grassroots
movement to watchdog construction
sites with the slogan "save a stream for
a century"—a slogan stemming from
the premise that it takes a century for a
stream to recover from construction
activity. Indeed, in the case  of
Whitemarsh Run, recovery is years and
probably millions of dollars away.
Baltimore County is in the midst of  a
year-long study to determine what it
will take to restore the watershed. Its
problems are many.
  The building boom brought new and
bigger roads. Often, engineers forced
the stream through narrow concrete
culverts  below the pavement. When
sediment-laden water funneled
through, it had the impact of a
sandblaster: On the downstream side

                     EPA JOURNAL

of the culvert, it literally scoured away
the streambed. Not only were the
streambed and banks destabilized, a
barrier to fish was created when the
bed was eroded below the level of the
culvert. In one place, the bed dropped
almost four feet. Migratory fish
couldn't swim upstream.
  In parts of the watershed, stream
channels were bulldozed, moved and
straightened.  More like a canal than
natural waterway, the channel that was
left had no natural fish habitat,  such as
pools, or hiding places from predators.

  In 1986, the state graded the
watershed as  "fair", the next-to-lowest
mark on its four-point rating system.
Fair meant it  suffered intermittent
"severe degradation" or "moderate
continued degradation." Also, "few if
any sensitive  species occur" and those
that  do are "pollution tolerant."
  "I  distinctly remember about a dozen
different species, and I watched them
decline," Klein said. "All that we have
left is the blacknose dace, which is
about the most urban-tolerant species
that  we have."
  Elsewhere,  tree cover, which helped
moderate water temperature for fish
and secure banks from further erosion,
was  removed. Sand bars popped up in
the stream channel where there had
been none before. Before they could be
secured by vegetation, they would
wash away to another location.  As the
channel filled, some downstream areas
began to flood.
  In the Bird  River estuary, submerged
aquatic vegetation—vital habitat for
fish and other aquatic species—was
wiped  out. "I would think at the
minimum, there's a couple of feet of
sediment on the bottom of that estuary
that  wasn't there 50 years ago,"  said
Roger Copp, of the consulting firm
Dames & Moore, which is studying the
watershed for the county. That amount
of sediment would amount to about 2
million cubic yards, he said, not
counting material that has been  carried
into  the Chesapeake Bay.
  Things are  changing. Today,
Maryland has some of the toughest
runoff control laws in the nation.
Among them: Builders must install
controls around the perimeter of a site
within seven  days of starting
construction,  and almost all  other
areas of the site must be stabilized
with seed, mulch or other material,
Maryland now has tough runoff control laws, but past damage remain*.
Fast flowing water through this culvert eroded the streambank.
within 14 days.
  During a recent drive through the
watershed, for example,  Klein found a
highway construction site where the
steep slopes were covered with mulch
to prevent erosion. Lines of sediment
fences  lined a small stream  in the
valley. These controls, Klein said,
would  make a "dramatic difference" in
controlling runoff. But even the best
controls are not 100 percent effective.
  Thomas Vidmar, Chief of Baltimore
County's Bureau of Engineering
Services, estimated that  such controls
are, ideally, 70 to 75 percent effective
in trapping sediment. "Once you start
dramatically changing the land use,
you start to have an effect that controls
can't fully mitigate," Vidmar said.
"When you have an active
construction site, you're going to get
  These programs require heavy
enforcement to be effective. In 1990,
Klein did a random survey of
construction sites for the Chesapeake
Bay Foundation, a Maryland-based
environmental group, and found
"adequate" controls at only 42 percent
of the Maryland sites
inspected—though enforcement  in
Baltimore County tended to be much
  Even if controls were perfect,
Whitemarsh Run's problems would not
be resolved. Much sediment remains
in the stream, and the problems caused
by new developments are compounded
by post-construction impacts of earlier
developments. With much of the
watershed now paved, uncontrolled
stormwater runoff is flushed into
Whitemarsh Run at such rapid rates
that it gouges out the streambed.
Whereas it once carried  sediment that
came primarily from adjacent
construction sites, it now carries large
sediment loads from its own banks.
  "Was it worse in the "60s and '70s
when the construction boom was
getting underway? Is it worse now? It's
really not documented," said Robert
Ryan, who is project manager for the
county's Bird River study. "Before, we
had all the uncontrolled sediment but
not as much stormwater."
  Whitemarsh Run comprises 60
percent of the Bird River watershed.
Part of the restoration will include
dredging the sediment out of Bird
River, itself, to make it more  useable
for recreational boaters. Officials
recognize that dredging won't solve the
sediment  problem, unless the upstream
issues are addressed. That would
require, among other things, costly
projects to install stormwater control
devices, such as settling ponds, in
areas developed  when such measures
were not mandated. The total tab
easily runs into millions of dollars,
Ryan said.
  Restoration of  Whitemarsh  Run will
require efforts to stabilize eroding
streambanks,  reforestation, and
improving fish habitat. The completed
restoration plan will include  ways for
local people—for whom much of the
construction was done—to take  part,
such as streamside trash collection
efforts. Klein  believes  the public can
get involved even further. On that day
he found the  bulldozers scraping the
surface off the hill, he. took it upon
himself to confront the foreman. "He
said he would look into it. I didn't
expect  much."
  Klein, dressed in a T-shirt and
cutoffs, didn't figure he'd made much
of an impression and didn't expect
much. But the next day he learned
what one  person could do: Walking
along Whitemarsh Run, he again came
across the tributary, but this time there
was only a trickle of mud flowing
through it. "I  looked up that hillside,
and there was this great big sediment
pond." D

View from
by William K. Reilly
Mostly, it will be
local building and
land use decisions.
              lug Bay, a freshwater tidal marsh on the Paluxenl River, is a Chesapeake Kay National Estuarine
              Research Reserve.
(Hrilly is Administrator of EPA.
                                                EPA JOURNAL

l^onsider the following:

•  In 1986, The Conservation
Foundation reported that every year,
almost 5 tons of soil erode off each
acre of farmland in the United States,
carrying fertilizers, herbicides, and
insecticides into the nation's
• EPA estimates that each year,
do-it-yourself auto mechanics pour
down storm drains or send to landfills
about 180 million gallons of used
motor oil—the equivalent of more than
16 Exxon Valdez oil spills. Some of
this oil finds its way into drinking
water sources and other water bodies.
• Beneath Los Angeles, more than
1,000 miles of storm drains collect
runoff from city streets, dumping it in
coastal bays. The Natural Resources
Defense Council estimates that in 1989
eight inches of rain  washed 150,000
pounds of lead, 500,000 pounds of
zinc, and 11,000 pounds of cadmium
into Santa Monica Bay  alone.
• More than one million tons of
nutrients each year make their way
into the Gulf of Mexico. Nutrients,
EPA believes, are responsible for the
increase in the size and frequency of
the Gulf's so-called "dead zone" at the
mouth of the Mississippi River,  which
drains two-thirds of the continental
United States.
  These alarming statistics share a
common denominator:  They are all
examples of nonpoint-source
pollution—pollution that does not
comes from distinct, identifiable
"point" sources (such as a sewage
treatment or industrial  plant discharge
pipe). Nonpoint-source pollution is
runoff from rainwater or snow melt
that picks up along the way soil,
animal wastes, fertilizers, pesticides,
used oil, toxic substances, and street
debris. It comes from farms,  cities,
forests, mining operations, and
construction sites. And it carries
contaminants into nearby surface or
underground waterways—sometimes
washing directly into lakes and
streams, sometimes entering storm and
 sanitary sewer systems, where from
 EPA's regulatory perspective it
 becomes a point source. However it
 reaches our waterways, it originates,
 nonetheless, as nonpoint-source
 pollution. And almost always, it is
 subtle, it is diffuse, it is difficult to
   Unlike dramatic scenes from an
 earlier era of belching smokestacks
 spewing black clouds skyward or
Yet this "pointless" pollution
is one of the most serious
remaining threats to our
nation's water quality....
 sewer pipes disgorging viscous, green
 ooze seaward, nonpoint-source
 pollution conjures up no vivid images
 in the mind's eye. Unlike the mere
 mention of oil spills or beach closings
 or toxic waste dumps, nonpoint-source
 pollution fails to inflame or incite to
 action. Yet this "pointless" pollution is
 one of the most serious remaining
 threats to our nation's water
 quality—and its cumulative effects
 from many small sources and
 individual actions are visible and
 disturbing: algal blooms that choke
 lakes and aquatic life, fish kills, fishing
 bans, silt-covered spawning habitat
 along riverbeds.
  A preview of EPA's 1990 Notional
 Water Quality Report to Congress
 shows that nonpoint-source pollution
 is the main reason lakes and rivers fail
 to meet clean water standards  for
 fishing, swimming, and drinking.
 Agricultural runoff was by far  the most
 extensive source of pollution,
 responsible for impairing about 60
 percent of the degraded rivers  and a
 like percentage of degraded lakes
 studied. Extraction activities, along
 with dams, levees, and other
 hydrologic modifications were also
 significant contributors, as were storm
 sewers and urban runoff.
  Clearly, the problem is enormous.
 Yet because this type of pollution is so
 hard to pinpoint and because almost
everybody contributes to the problem,
it largely defies traditional
command-and-control regulatory
approaches that have brought so much
success in curbing pollution from
specific plants or pipes over the past
20 years.
  Incidentally, let me underscore the
significant progress we have made in
this area—progress that has revealed
the previously obscured threat of
nonpoint-source pollution. Since 1972,
the federal government has spent over
$50 billion to upgrade and construct
municipal sewage treatment plants. By
1988, EPA reported that almost 90
percent of all municipal sewage
treatment plants and a slightly higher
percentage of major industrial facilities
met federal and state water pollution
control requirements.
  With the exception of EPA's
programs to control pollution from
urban and industrial stormwater pipes
and from combined
sanitary/stormwater overflows through
more traditional permitting programs,
tackling nonpoint-source pollution
poses different challenges and requires
new solutions.
  I see three hurdles ahead in curbing
nonpoint source pollution.
  First, a national regulatory program
similar to that to control point sources
simply won't work. The challenge is,
in part, one of promoting changes in
longstanding habits and practices—at
home,  at work, in our communities, on
farms,  in mining,  forestry, and
construction operations.  Education is
key to  influencing changes in lifestyles
and behaviors to prevent  this type of
pollution. Nonpoint-source pollution is
everyone's problem. It is the
responsibility of fanners to grow their
crops and graze their animals in ways
that protect nearby streams and ground
water.  It is the responsibility of those
who harvest timber to do so in ways
that prevent soil runoff. It is the
responsibility of backyard mechanics
to take used motor oil to collection or
recycling centers.  It's the responsibility
of homeowners  to apply lawn care
chemicals and fertilizers carefully and

safely if and when needed. It's the
responsibility of car owners to keep
their vehicles maintained so they don't
leak oil or grease onto the roadway.
  Farmers and other landowners, in
particular, are understandably wary of
intrusive government programs. No
effective solutions will work without
the whole-hearted involvement of
farmers, whose stake  in conservation is
greater than that of virtually all others,
whose very livelihood depends on
productive soils and healthy natural
systems. Their trust, and their
interests, need to be protected.
  Second, addressing nonpoint-source
pollution effectively may require
attention to land use  planning. States
and localities often find they can't
protect water quality  without planning
for protection of their watersheds—and
that means planning for growth. That,
of course, is properly a matter for state
and local governments, not the federal
government. We at the federal level
can provide information on how
various communities  have successfully
addressed these
challenges—accommodating growth
and development in a manner that
protects valuable wetlands and
habitats and avoids creating
nonpoint-source pollution that
threatens the health of aquatic
  Local enforcement  officials need  to
be  alert to prevent runoff from
construction sites and ensure that
homes and businesses don't
unlawfully connect sanitary sewer
lines to systems designed to collect
only stormwater. State and local
governments can require catch basins,
buffer strips, and other management
practices. The federal government has
the responsibility to provide basic
scientific information, incentives,
technical expertise, and limited
funding to state governments to
develop effective programs. Research,
information, education, technical
assistance—all are reasonable federal
Farmers and other
landowners, in particular,
are understandably wary of
intrusive government
 roles. But it is local building and land
 use decisions more than anything else
 that will help cut nonpoint-source
   Third, in some instances—like our
 incipient efforts to regulate urban
 stormwater—the costs to control
 nonpoint-source pollution through
 traditional approaches are potentially
 enormous: tens of billions of dollars. 1
 might add that  on the stormwater
 permitting front, the Agency is hearing
 from states,  municipalities, and
 industries alarmed at the cost and
 complexity of implementing statutory
 requirements to regulate stormwater as
                                      I Ollpalw
a point source. With all the concurrent
demands on local governments for an
entire array of environmental
improvements, not to mention other
worthy needs, financing
nonpoint-source controls is a real
  Not withstanding these constraints, a
number of promising activities are
underway. One is an agricultural
pollution prevention strategy that EPA
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) are developing together.
  This strategy holds great
promise—in large measure because it
promotes voluntary programs for
American farmers, who have an
intimate dependence on soil
productivity and water quality. It is
farmers' cooperation in joining with
government agencies, extension
services, and universities, and their
willingness to apply environmentally
sound practices in working the land
and grazing their animals, that will
make this project succeed and also
create a model for other
nonpoint-source programs.
  In many cases, the agricultural
pollution prevention strategy will seek
to promote better management
• Maintaining unplowed strips of
grass and vegetation or natural wetland
areas along stream banks to prevent
soil and water runoff into the streams
• Instituting management practices
that  prevent livestock waste from
entering waterways
                                                            EPA JOURNAL


                                                             Street debris is
                                                             one of many
                                                             sources of
• Ensuring the efficient use of
pesticides and careful application of
them under weather conditions that
prevent their migrating into nearby
creeks  and rivers
• Accurately determining fertilizer
• Developing new practices and
reviving traditional ones like crop
rotation that interrupt destructive
insects' life cycles to reduce the need
for pesticides.
  USDA Soil Conservation Service has
a distinguished history of  providing
practical, on-site guidance and
assistance to farmers. The  new strategy
capitalizes on that success to provide
even greater training and information
on the  importance of protecting
aquatic resources and habitat, as well
as appropriate pollution prevention
      Steve Delaney photo.

practices—practices that can benefit
farmers by cutting costs while
maintaining productivity.
  Another way EPA is elevating
attention to nonpoint-source pollution
prevention is through our geographic
initiatives. These projects—involving
the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico,
Chesapeake Bay, the National Estuary
Program, and a growing number of
watersheds—focus on the overall
health of the entire ecosystems,
identifying, and targeting for
measurable progress the primary
sources of pollution. In these
geographic initiatives, we bring all our
programmatic  expertise and resources
to bear—air and water quality
programs, waste site cleanup,
permitting, enforcement, and  research,
to name a few. Although problems
differ from watershed to watershed, in
 virtually all these initiatives, curbing
 and preventing nonpoint-source
 pollution is high on the priority list.
 These projects seek to bring federal,
 state, and local governments, farmers,
 business and industry, civic
 organizations, and academic
 institutions together to improve and
 protect valuable watersheds and
 productive natural resources.
  When people recognize the impact
 of their activities on productive
 resources and ecosystems, they often
 are receptive to the call for
 stewardship. This appeal  can help
 alter behavior. For example, farming
 practices along the Susquehanna River
 in Pennsylvania—miles upstream from
 the Chesapeake Bay—have a profound
 impact on the health of the bay. The
 bay program's nutrient management
 program, pioneered in Pennsylvania,  is
 a national model.  Already, the  bay
 states—Pennsylvania, Maryland, and
 Virginia—have almost 115,000  acres
 under nutrient management plans and
 have cut potential pollutants by nearly
 7.6 million pounds.
  The Chesapeake Bay program is the
 oldest of its kind  in the nation—and
 serves as a bellwether for  the rest of
 the country. Although the program  has
 experienced considerable  success, it
 still  faces real challenges to restore  the
  During my recent tenure as
 Chairman of the Chesapeake Executive
 Council, I commissioned an
 independent panel report  on
 nonpoint-source pollution. The panel
 sounded a note of caution, concluding
 that  existing programs were
 insufficient to meet the bay program's
goal  of 40-percent nutrient reduction
by the year 2000.  It recommended
 augmenting voluntary programs with
 the use of regulatory authority.
  I believe  we can achieve many of
 our goals more quickly, and more
 efficiently,  through voluntary means.
 But we must recognize that, where
voluntary initiatives fail, protecting the
 ecological and economic productivity
 of the resource may require states and
 local governments to adopt stronger
  In the Everglades, for example, the
Bush Administration is proud of a
recent action to protect this unique
ecosystem.  The Department of Justice,
with Interior Department and  EPA

 participation, secured this past year a
 landmark settlement. The State of
 Florida and the South Florida Water
 Management District agreed to clean
 up polluted, nutrient-laden water
 before it  flows into the Everglades,
 where it  has choked the native
 sawgrasses and stimulated the growth
 of cattails and other plants, altering the
 habitat so vital to many of the plants
 and animals that live there. Under the
 agreement, Florida will create a buffer
 // we in  the Bush
 Administration occasionally
 carry a stick,  we are pleased
 to distribute carrots as  well.
 zone and a marsh to filter water before
 it enters the Everglades. The action
 will reduce up to 70 percent of the
 phosphorus from vegetable and sugar
 cane fields that now enters one of the
 most vulnerable of our magnificent
 national parks.
   If we in the Bush Administration
 occasionally carry a stick, we are
 pleased to distribute carrots as well.
 EPA is in the forefront of providing
 grants to states to implement
 established nonpoint-source programs.
 In a new grant program begun in fiscal
 year 1990, we are awarding $140
 million to support approved state
 nonpoint-source programs through
 fiscal year 1992. This  program
 embodies the Agency's new emphasis
 on targeting our resources where they
 can reduce the greatest environmental
 risks from this type of pollution. All
 the money  is going to  implementation,
 not planning (with the exception of
 newer ground water programs), in a
 competitive process that emphasizes
 real environmental progress. The
 grants are enabling states and localities
 to get clearly defined programs with
 measurable objectives  up and running.
 It is the involvement of the
 states—closer to the citizens and their
 local governments—that  make these
 projects work.
   In Montana, the Water Quality
 Bureau, with EPA funding, has begun
 a project to restore a productive fishery
in Ninemile Creek. In Idaho, USDA is
working with state and local entities to
restore trout  spawning habitat in Rock
Creek. And the State of Wisconsin
offers a superb example of a
long-running nonpoint-source program
begun in 1978 that now involves 51
priority watersheds. (See story on page
51.) The state program—one of the
most successful in the nation—works
in part because of the voluntary
cooperation of landowners working
with field staff who know the
particular problems. It involves
extensive outreach and citizen
  Providing yet another opportunity to
help cut nonpoint-source pollution are
the Geographic Information Systems.
The systems  contain data about
watersheds that are useful to set
priorities for nonpoint-source
initiatives, to help identify streams
that can be used as benchmarks for
setting appropriate water quality
standards, and to measure progress.
They also have a very positive
secondary outcome: They help bring
together a variety of agencies on a
common mission.
  Over the past decade, all those
concerned about protecting  the
productive natural systems of the
United States have begun to  recogni/.e
the immensity of the nonpoint-source
problem and the challenges it poses.
We are learning what makes for good
pollution prevention programs, how  to
make sound, risk-based decisions with
respect to solving the most serious
problems in the most  cost-effective
ways. Good projects are on the ground,
underway, providing living
laboratories to test a variety of
innovative solutions.
  We at EPA have committed
ourselves on several concurrent  paths
to step up the pace with which we
address this problem. We cannot do  it
alone: Preventing nonpoint source
pollution and restoring our waterways
to health will require  the dedication  of
every American. I am confident  that  as
more and more people come to
understand the nature of the problem
and their central role in solving  it, the
American spirit of ingenuity, coupled
with an emerging ethic of stewardship
for this great land, will prevail.  D
                                                                                                 EPA JOURNAL

View  from
Farms only five miles apart may need different solutions.
by James R. Moseley
      What do you get when you put a
      NASA space scientist, a soil
scientist, and a Mississippi catfish
farmer in the same room? You get an
example of how American farmers and
ranchers are working diligently to
protect and improve our nation's water
  Truman Roberts, a catfish farmer
from southern Mississippi, wanted to
find a better way to filter nutrients and
waste from his catfish ponds. He
turned to a scientist from NASA who
had been using plant roots to filter and
treat wastewater generated during
space travel and to a Soil Conservation
Service (SCS) scientist, who knew how
to build a filtering system that would
accommodate the local Mississippi soil
and water conditions. Together,
working with Roberts, they constructed
a wetland to serve as a catfish pond
filtering system.
  Roberts and the scientists agree the
filter works. The wetland system has
improved water quality,  increased fish
production, improved fish flavor,
reduced disease, increased wildlife
habitat, and saved ground water,
money, and energy. It's been so
successful he is planning to build four
more to take care of his entire 60 acres
of catfish ponds.
  This is just one illustration of the
innovations the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and  agricultural
producers are using to improve the
quality of our nation's water. It's also a
good example of how farmers and
ranchers are voluntarily incorporating
soil and water resource management
practices into their operations.
  Agricultural producers share the
(Moseley is Assistant Secretary of
Agriculture for Natural Resources and
 Analyzing soil for nitrogen content helps determine the amount oi
 fertilizer needed.
nation's concern for the quality of our
natural resources. No other segment of
our society has a more direct and
dependent relationship with the
environment than farmers and
ranchers. Producers understand they
have a special responsibility to protect
our water supply from  pollution that
may occur because of particular
agricultural production practices.
Farmers and ranchers have not gone
out and  deliberately damaged the
environment for the sake of improving
their farm income. If environmental
damage has occurred, it has happened
because of lack of knowledge of the
problem and counterproductive U.S.
farm policy.
  Although ground-water
contamination from agricultural
chemicals and fertilizers is not a
serious health threat, when the USDA
and the industry hear of an
agricultural water quality problem, it's
taken seriously.
  USDA and its agencies (Agricultural

 Stabilization and Conservation Service,
 Soil Conservation Service, Agricultural
 Research Service, Cooperative State
 Research Service, and the Extension
 Service), working in partnership with
 agricultural producers, are aggressively
 attacking water quality issues through
 research, education, technical
 assistance, and cost-sharing programs.
   The major purpose of USDA's water
 quality programs is to provide
 producers with the information
 necessary to voluntarily adopt
 improved, environmentally sound
 management practices that do not
 sacrifice farm profitability. Two key
 principles guide  the Department in
 developing these programs: Conduct
 state-of-the-art scientific research and
 develop effective farm policy and
 programs that can practically be used
 by farmers and ranchers.
   Agricultural nonpoint-source
 pollution is best  treated by modifying
 farm practices that may potentially
 threaten natural resources. USDA
 research efforts for managing nonpoint
 problems are focused on "source
 reduction." Regardless of what the
 "source" is—chemical applications,
 fertilizers, or animal waste—USDA
research strategies center on
developing and improving
cost-effective crop and animal
production technologies that reduce
the contamination source.
  Significant progress is being made in
reducing potential agricultural
contamination sources.  One promising
development in controlling agricultural
nutrients from entering  ground and
surface water is nutrient management
  Precise measurement  of nutrient
content and prescription application is
becoming standard operating
procedure on farms all across the
country. In managing animal waste
and fertilizer applications, farmers are
paying special attention to calibration
rates in an effort to apply  only what is
required of a crop for growth in
specific crop cycle. This is especially
important  with nitrogen because
excess free nitrogen unused by a crop
can move off site or into ground water.
  In the Chesapeake basin three-state
area (Pennsylvania, Virginia, and
Maryland), over 114,000 acres are
currently covered by  nutrient
management plans. Since  the statewide
management plans have been
incorporated into the farming
operations, 1,797 tons of nitrogen and
2,006 tons of phosphorus have been
prevented from entering the bay.
Fertilizer sales in the three bay states
have decreased by 24 percent, while
nationally sale of fertilizers have
dropped by 16 percent.
  New technology is being developed
that will measure soil  productivity and
calibrate fertilizer rates at the point of
application according to the soil's
productivity. This technological
breakthrough will increase nutrient
consumption by the crops and reduce
the potential for leaching or runoff of
the plant food.
  Computers, electronics, and satellites
are being integrated into farm
equipment for  more precise measuring
of inputs. In Missouri, three grower
cooperatives are experimenting on
10,000 acres of cropland with
truck-mounted computers, lasers,
infrared photography, and soil tests to
precisely apply only the amount of
nutrients and herbicides needed as the
truck moves across the field.  Very little
or no excess chemicals remain for
leaching to ground water or leaving the
field in surface runoff.
                                                                                      Missouri farmers are
                                                                                      experimenting with computer-
                                                                                      generated soil sampling grids
                                                                                      to determine precise fertilizer
                                                                                      mixtures. In the field, a computer
                                                                                      aboard a fertilizer truck will help
                                                                                      ensure the desired mixture is
                                                                                      distributed properly.
                                                                               SCS pholo.
                                                                                                   EPA JOURNAL

  "Prescription farming" is so popular
with the local Missouri farmers that
they have more than 30,000 additional
acres ready for application as soon as
the experiment is completed. Sixty
more experimental truck-mounted
systems are operating on more than
500,000 acres across the country.
  U.S. farm policy also plays a major
role in determining what type of
agricultural practices producers  use in
their business. These production
practices can have significant impact
on water quality.
  Congress recognized this
policy-practice  interrelation and forged
a new era in American agricultural
policy in the 1985  and 1990 Farm
Bills. For the first time in the history
of U.S. farm policy, farmers had to
meet environmental standards in order
to qualify for farm  program benefits.
  Under the Conservation Reserve
Progpam (CRP), highly erodible land is
being planted to grasses and trees,
reducing chemical use and the
potential for chemical leaching and
sedimentation from soil erosion.
  Since the first signup in 1986,
farmers have enrolled approximately
35.6 million acres  in the program, and
the expected water quality benefits  are
significant. A reduction in soil loss of
655 million tons annually resulted in a
210-million-ton annual reduction in
sediment loadings  to water bodies. The
CRP also will reduce herbicide and
pesticide usage by an  estimated 61
million pounds annually, and a 2.4
million tons annual reduction in
fertilizer use.
  A key component of most
conservation compliance plans is
conservation tillage and crop residue
management. USDA scientists know
that conservation tillage can provide a
significant impact  on improving water
quality in our streams and lakes. The
concept is simple: Keep the water on
the land and you reduce the
opportunity to  move soil and nutrients
to the drainage system.
  Conservation tillage systems can also
provide producers with an economic
advantage. In my own personal
experience as a farmer in Indiana, we
cut our cost of production by 18 cents
per bushel when we switched from a
traditional tillage method to a
ridge-tillage system. We not only
improved our soil and water resources
with the  new tillage system, but
improved crop yields as well.
  When both conservation compliance
and the CRP are fully implemented,
SCS estimates the cropland erosion
rate in the United States will be
reduced by 45 to 50 percent, providing
significant water quality benefits.
  The challenge in the future for
USDA, the agriculture industry, and
At a CWA hearing held this
past summer, the first
question asked by a
committee member to the
agriculture industry witnesses
was, "Tell us why agriculture
should not be regulated?"
 policy makers will be to continue to
 find ways to integrate environmental
 and agricultural goals in policy and
 programs that enhance our nation's
 environmental and economic
   The upcoming reauthorization  of the
 Clean Water Act (CWA) is the next
 major challenge for policy makers to
 try to integrate these environmental
 and economic goals.  Nonpoint-source
 contamination from agriculture will be
 a main issue in this reauthorization
 process. At  a CWA hearing held this
 past summer,  the first question asked
 by a committee member to the
 agriculture industry witnesses  was,
 "Tell us why agriculture should not be
   There are two main schools of
 thought on how to deal with
 agricultural nonpoint sources of
 contamination. One emphasizes the
 adoption of regulations on the use of
 contaminants. The other focuses  on the
 voluntary adoption by farmers of
 production  practices that are both
 environmentally sound and
 cost-effective for producers.
   USDA's 130 years' experience
 working with  farmers and ranchers
 supports the philosophy that voluntary
 action through education is more
 effective than regulation in addressing
 our environmental issues. Prohibiting
 the use of certain chemicals  and
 policing and fining polluters is not the
best way to deal with water quality
concerns, particularly in a diversified
industry such as agriculture.
  Effective water quality management
practices are dynamic for every farm
and ranch in this country. Two farms
located within five miles  of each other
can have dramatically different water
quality plans. The goals of these plans
are the same, but the conditions on
each farm demand different solutions.
  Regulations undermine agriculture's
flexibility in determining production
options. And flexibility is critical to
agriculture's economic stability.
Regulations will increase  the cost of
agricultural production and put farm
operators who  cannot absorb the added
costs out of business.
  American producers are committed
to taking care of the water quality
problems attributed  to agriculture. A
recent study in Big Spring Basin in
Iowa reiterates USDA's long standing
philosophy that a voluntary
cooperative approach between
government agencies and  farmers can
produce effective results.  On a
volunteer basis, through education and
demonstrations conducted in
cooperation with USDA, 200 farmers
cut their nitrogen use from 174 pounds
per acre in 1981 to 138 pounds per
acre  in 1989. Corn yields  \vere  not
adversely affected.
  American agriculture is the most
productive in the world, not because
of government intervention, but rather
because the partnership between the
USDA and American agriculture was
allowed to flourish.  USDA provides
the research, technology,  and
education and  producers  apply this
knowledge to the land. That same
system, given the opportunity, can
solve our environmental needs  as
well. D

View  from
 Must farmers prevent pollution to escape regulation?

 by Susan Offutt
     Agriculture is the remaining major
     unregulated source of
environmental, primarily water,
pollutants. The nation's water
resources include underground
aquifers as well as lakes, rivers, and
the oceans. Agriculture is a significant
non-point source of ground water
contamination, presenting a thorny
problem  for the design of public
measures to prevent pollution.
  Historically, environmental policies
tackled point-source pollution of
surface waters before dealing with
nonpoint-source problems for several
reasons: Cause and effect are more
easily observable, solutions are
therefore most easily found, and
enforcement is possible.  Ground-water
problems, in contrast,  are hard  to
detect, and individual sources of
aquifer contamination hard to identify.
  Two years ago, the federal
government launched  an initiative to
protect water resources from
contamination by fertilizers and
pesticides without jeopardizing the
economic vitality of U.S. agriculture.
Federal agencies, including USDA and
EPA, are designing water quality
programs to accommodate both the
immediate need  to halt contamination,
particularly of ground  water, and  the
future  need to alter farming practices
that may threaten the environment.
The premise of this initiative is that,
ultimately, farmers must be
responsible for changing production
practices to avoid contaminating
ground and surface waters. Federal
and state resources will be available,
however, to provide information and
(O//utt is Agriculture Branch Chief in
the Natural Resources Division of the
U.S. Office o/Management and
technical assistance to farmers so that
environmentally sensitive techniques
can be implemented at minimum cost.
  This initiative reflects the belief that
the most sensible approach to
preventing water quality degradation
for farming and for society is to rely on
the farm community itself to devise
and implement a pollution-control
program. Within this framework,
research and education develop and
promote use of environmentally benign
production practices. The very real
threat of federal or state regulation
would seem to be a strong incentive
for the agricultural community to
embrace this strategy.
  This tack recognizes that federal
regulation would be greatly
complicated by geographic variations
in physical environment that
determine whether contamination
actually does occur and with what
severity. An effective regulatory
solution (one that accommodates all
site-specific factors in prescribing best
management practices) would be very
expensive to implement. An ineffective
regulatory solution, on the other hand,
could be wasteful  and inefficient if use
of chemicals and nutrients were
unnecessarily proscribed.
  The challenge to the efficacy of the
voluntary approach is formidable,
however. Research and development
must design a set of management
practices that farmers will continue to
use even as commodity and  input
prices vary. Recent experience with
conservation tillage instructs caution
in this respect. An  important lesson in
designing and evaluating
environmentally sensitive practices is
to be mindful of the presence of
coincidentally  favorable price
relationships. During the 1980s, low
commodity prices may have indirectly
provided environmental benefits by
reducing the incentive to apply
pesticides and fertilizers in order to
increase yields. Low output prices  may
in large measure explain the apparent
success of "low input" agriculture
(although surely many farmers'
attitudes have changed, as well).
  Beyond the not inconsiderable
problems with sensitivity to
commoaity and input price changes,
what barriers might there be to
permanent adoption of
environmentally sensitive practices?
First, the question of diversification
away from chemical-intensive crops, at
least to allow for rotations, is critical.
While  diversification in cropping
patterns is currently economically
feasible in some areas of the country, it
is not clear this is true everywhere.
The economic forces (political and
technological) that make specialization
profitable need  to be better understood
and recognized  in designing new
multi-output systems.
  Ironically enough, another barrier to
ground-water quality protection may
be soil conservation. As was learned
with conservation tillage, in some
instances inhibiting runoff of
chemicals and nutrients leads to their
percolation through the soil and
perhaps into ground water. What if
acceptance of higher erosion rates is
the price of saving ground water from
contamination?  How can institutional
prejudice against such an outcome  be
overcome? Research  can determine
whether or not there is a tradeoff
between surface- and ground-water
quality. The more fundamental need is
to recognize and accept that, no matter
what, agriculture disturbs the natural
environment. The issue is how much
disturbance society is willing to
accept, not whether it will accept any
at all.
  It is difficult to be  sanguine about
the prospect of immediate mitigation
of threats to water quality because
                                                                                                 EPA JOURNAL

Runoff from a farm after a rainstorm. A federal initiative seeks to protect
water resources without stifling agricultural production.
                                                                                         F. M. Stone photo. Soil Conservation Sen-ice
basic farm production technology is
still dependent on fertilizers and
chemicals. In the future, ensuring
against surface- and ground- water
contamination will require a truly
alternative agriculture. Plants that fix
their own nitrogen, repel insects, and
outcompete  weeds would obviate the
need for farmers to apply nutrients  and
pest toxins.  In this respect, advances
in biotechnology could make very real
contributions. The short-terrn question
of coping with contamination persists,
however, because society will not wait
for science to deliver  on these
promises. Because ground-water
contamination is very slow to dissipate
and very difficult (and expensive) to
ameliorate, there is no time to lose.
  To society at large and to farmers, a
program of research and education
aimed at water quality protection has a
number of advantages over compulsory
regulation. For farmers, education and
voluntary compliance offer at least a
partial cost-share through
subsidization of the development of
new fanning practices and of the
dissemination of related information.
Farmers enjoy maximum flexibility
when they may choose the practices
that not only meet environmental
objectives but also the needs of their
own enterprises. And, very
importantly, voluntary programs are
most in the spirit of farm  policy over
the past 50 years. For society,  allowing
farmers maximum flexibility also
promotes efficiency in resource use
because the site-specific nature of
water contamination problems also
dictates site-specific solutions.
  The apparent mutual advantages of
this framework notwithstanding, the
real question is: Will  it work?  Will the
farm community embrace the
preservation of surface- and
ground-water quality  as part of its
stewardship of natural resources? Or
will it hold  out for compensation and
perhaps ultimately be compelled to
accommodate environmental concerns?
As a clue to the answer, consider the
provisions of the 1990 Farm Bill.
enacted since the start of the initiative
to encourage voluntary change.
  Although  it reaffirms the importance
of research,  extension education, and
technical assistance, the Farm Bill also
authorizes monetary incentives as a
means of lessening the impact of
farming on water quality.  First, to
maintain eligibility for commodity
subsidies, farmers must be in
compliance  with a set  of strictures
governing practices intended to reduce
soil erosion. Second, federal payments
to retire farmland (either through
annual rental payments or permanent
easements) address environmental side
effects by halting farming. Third,
federal funds may be provided as an
incentive to adopt an environmentally
sensitive farm plan or  as a cost-share
to promote a particular practice.
  To the extent  that the Farm Bill
provides for financial assistance to
farmers,  its impact will be constrained

by the scarcity of federal funds. The
problem is one of too many acres
chasing too few dollars with too little
  There are 423 million acres of
cropland in the United States. Of
these, 135 million are  subject to
conservation compliance. In fiscal year
1992, the Soil Conservation Service
will devote $432 million to providing
technical assistance in helping farmers
prepare to meet the 1995 compliance
deadline. Conservation compliance
may well increase the  costs of farming
even as commodity program benefits
decline. At some point, a farmer may
decide participation is not worth it,
and the environmental "hook" will
have been lost.
  Another 37 million acres will be
retired under the Conservation and
Wetlands Reserves  at a 1992 cost of $2
billion in rental payments and
easement purchases. These reserves
will eventually cost $20 billion, all
aimed at retiring roughly 10 percent of
all cropland. An additional 9 million
acres will  be treated in fiscal year 1992
using $203 million in cost-share funds
available through USDA for adoption
of practices that may or may not have
water quality protection as a priority.
The Farm  Hill's new Water Quality
Incentives Program will expend $3
million to pay for farm plans on
290,000 acres (out of 10 million
authorized) in fiscal 1992.
  In total this year, then, this
back-of-the-envelope inventory shows
$2.4 billion of taxpayer funds will be
applied to 182 million acres,
comprising less than half of all U.S.
cropland. The programs catalogued
address a variety of environmental
conditions, often with  little
coordination. At present, no one
knows whether the 182 million acres
currently participating in some form of
environmental program are those that
present the greatest risk to surface- and
ground-water quality. Simply spending
more to cover more acres would be
difficult to justify even if it were
possible to circumvent the funding
constraint. Better targeting of existing
funds will be the means for enhanced
effectiveness in the future and will
depend on the simultaneous
development of knowledge about how
and when; to best apply limited
  The Farm Hill holds out the promise
of a financial carrot that cannot be
delivered. The federal budget deficit is
one constraint, but so, too, may be
society's attitude toward assigning
responsibility for pollution prevention.
Making a case on behalf of farmers for
special treatment (in the form of
financial  assistance)  will be
increasingly difficult as other segments
of the population have shouldered
more and more of the costs of all kinds
of pollution prevention and abatement.
And, many  industries, such as basic
metals, face the same competition as
does U.S. farming from overseas
suppliers not  necessarily subject to
environmental regulation.
  For any other sector of the economy,
allocating the financial burden for
prevention  of contamination is an
easily settled  matter: The polluter pays
and is compelled to do so through
regulation.  Whether agriculture can
escape regulation and also avoid the
costs of pollution prevention, however,
is problematic. In the absence of
federal budget constraints, society
could choose  to provide farmers with a
monetary incentive to avoid  polluting.
Indeed, cost-sharing  programs have a
long history in conservation  policy for
agriculture. However, the scope of the
effort  needed  to avert water quality
problems, compounded by a shortage
of federal funds, precludes extensive
cost-sharing as a viable federal option.
  To the  extent that  farmers  cannot
pass on the costs of pollution
prevention  to middlemen and
consumers, a  case for taxpayer subsidy
can be made.  However, today's  fiscal
and political realities dictate that any
subsidy will be modest and that,
therefore, the voluntary approach
remains the alternative to regulatory
  As debate over the reauthorization of
the Clean Water Act  proceeds, farmers'
responsibility for protecting water
quality will be assessed by those
outside agriculture. Extension of the
usual controls to agriculture,—in the
form of burdensome  regulation—could
possibly be averted.  To forestall
regulation,  the agricultural community
would have to acknowledge the
validity of concerns about water
quality and the costs associated with
preventing  contamination. By
assuming responsibility for at least
part of those costs, farmers could
better negotiate a sensible pact that
protects water quality as well as farm
prosperity,  Q
the  Reader
The public must
recognize they are
part of the problem.
Nonpoint-source pollution is
everyone's problem. Yet many people
are not even acquainted with the term,
Jet alone the nature and extent of the
problem and how it can be dealt with.
To learn  more about water pollution
from nonpoint sources and about
prospective remedies, EPA Journal
interviewed Robert H. WayJand III,
Director of the Agency's Office of
Wetlands, Oceans, and  Watersheds,
which includes a program for
nonpoint-source control.
                                 .V •«
                         , ..V  «    - -. '
                       "•  "  '     "•'-  :
Mike Brisson pholo.
                                                                                                  EPA JOURNAL

      Nonpoint-source pollution is not
 exactly a household phrase. So to
 begin with, why don't you tell us just
 exactly what it  is; give us some

 L \   We use the term to distinguish
 the smaller and very  diffuse sources of
 water pollution from  the large,
 individual-industry or municipal point
 sources that usually discharge directly
 from a pipe into a river, lake, or
 estuary,  and which EPA has a long
 tradition of managing very closely.
   We've developed water quality
 standards and effluent guidelines for
 point sources of water pollution, and
 we've issued tens of thousands of
 individual permits  to bring them under
 control.  But nonpoint sources are a
 different animal. They include a
 suburban lawn from which rainfall
 carries off pesticides  and fertilizer
 nutrients to nearby waterways.
 Nonpoint-source pollution is also the
 atmospheric deposition of  nutrients
 and toxics that originally volatilized
 off a farm field. It may be associated
 with automobile air emissions. Its
 cumulative effect now represents the
 most significant threat to water quality
 in most stream segments in the United
 States. It is a very serious problem in
 terms of nutrients and toxics. It is a
 significant problem in terms of simple
 sedimentation, which changes the
contours of stream bottoms and may
destroy fish habitat.
     This question has a curve to it,
so take your time. As you indicated,
we've made a very determined effort
in this country to control the point
sources of water pollution — the
factory outfall, the sewage treatment
plant, and so on — through a federal
permit system. In other words, a
regulatory program. But under the
law, nonpoint sources have been left
to the states, and the states, for the
most part, have tried  to control them
through voluntary programs. Isn't
EPA, for  all intents and purposes,

A  Not at all. EPA has a very
important role to  play. The very
success of the point-source control
program  points up the need for EPA to
become more involved in helping to
bring nonpoint sources under control.
  However, the model, the regulatory
approach that we took in  dealing with
oil refineries or with wastewater
treatment facilities that collected
sewage from tens of thousands of
people simply is not appropriate when
we are talking about pollution from a
small construction site or a small farm.
Nonpoint-source control measures,
some of which may  be simple and
inexpensive, have not been adopted in
many cases because small scale
enterprises or individuals simply do
not see their  activities as polluting. So,
for one thing, we have a public
awareness hurdle that we didn't have
with point sources.
  As I see it, EPA can contribute in
three  very important ways. First, we
can help raise public  awareness  and
understanding of the problem. Second,
we can help develop the techniques
for controlling nonpoint sources, and
we can demonstrate that these
techniques work and that they are
readily available. Finally, we can help
create  the institutional framework
under  which  these techniques or
practices would be  applied.
Animal wastes, a significant sou/rt' of nonpoint-source pollution. EPA ,in
     Do you expect that in the
upcoming reauthorization of the Clean
Water Act the approach to dealing
with nonpoint-source pollution will be

/\  I certainly expect  that the
recognition of the importance of the
problem will cause increased
legislative attention to it. In the early
history of the Glean Water Act, we had
so far to go with cleaning up large
point sources that they necessarily
were the focus of concern and of the
tools that Congress placed in our
  The experience of EPA and  states,
and a recent report from the General
Accounting Office, all serve to
highlight the fact that our priorities
need to be adjusted to reflect the
progress that has been made and the
risks that remain. EPA's Science
Advisory Board report on reducing
risk, with its  emphasis  on ecological
problems, habitat loss, and nonpoint
pollution, I think builds a good
foundation for future program and
legislative work  in  this area.

     Just how effective have the states
been in dealing with the problem? Do
they have sufficient resources to do
the job?

     Resources for state
nonpoint-source efforts have increased
substantially in recent years. The 319
program, which is our principal
framework  under the Glean Water Act
for making grants to states to
demonstrate nonpoint-source control
measures, has increased from
essentially zero four fiscal years ago to
$50 million a year in each of the last
two fiscal years.
  So, in the face of severe federal
budget  difficulties, there has been a
very substantially increased
commitment by the federal government
for dealing with  this  problem. And
that has been matched by an  increase
in state financial and institutional
  Moreover, there are many other
federal  agency programs which affect
nonpoint-source problems, and we
believe they can be modified to reduce
these problems without detracting
from the; objectives and missions of the
agencies that implement them.
  The effectiveness of the state
programs varies. Some states have
relatively mature nonpoint-source
programs which address the whole
range of sources, which involve using
a wide mix of available tools, and
which provide substantial
state-allocated  resources to do the job.
Other states have more modest
programs that address only major
sources such as agriculture, and only
minimal resources are allocated. But in
general, states have made major strides
in the past several years.
     At least one state, Wisconsin, we
understand, is applying both the
carrot and the stick. (See separate
article.) How is that working out?
l\  Several states are using both
carrots and sticks. Wisconsin has  a
voluntary, incentive-based program in
which the state shares the capital  costs
of installing best management practices
with agricultural enterprises and other
contributors to nonpoint-source
problems. And it is a good program.
  In addition, the state has adopted
backup regulatory requirements under
which it can require a farmer to
undertake clean-up actions when  that
fanner's operation is contributing  to a
water quality problem.
  So, Wisconsin has a program which
provides the carrot, but if that fails, the
stick is available to make sure the
problem is attacked appropriately.
     As we understand it, EPA's own
comparative risk study showed that
nonpoint-source pollution is more of a
problem than point source pollution.
Yet our budget priorities have
overwhelmingly favored the latter. Is
that still true?

/v  It would be a mistake to believe
that we've had such success with point
sources that they can now be
neglected, that the control programs, in
other words, would be
self-perpetuating. So we can't simply
move all of our resources to the
nonpoint-source area. And, as I said
earlier, it is not at all clear that the
approach we took in controlling the
smokestack industry would  be
appropriate in dealing with  the
nonpoint problem.
  I think that we need to  evolve
toward a balance that on the one hand
maintains the important gains we've
made in controlling  point sources,
while on the other allows us to make
progress in bringing the
nonpoint-source problem under
control. Shifting the budget  must,
therefore, be an evolutionary rather
than a  revolutionary process, and I
believe we have now begun to move in
that direction.
                                         HAS. Copyright 1991. Cartoonists 6- Writers Syndicate.
                                                                                                  EPA JOURNAL

     Runoff from farms is the single
most important category of
nonpoint-source pollution. Yet
according to the General Accounting
Office report, which you mentioned,
commodity programs run by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture tend to
reinforce some of the very farm
practices that contribute to the
problem. What is EPA doing to
convince USDA that it should modify
its policies?

/\  EPA has enjoyed a remarkable
amount of cooperation from the
Department of Agriculture in recent
years. We were welcomed into the
process of formulating the
Administration's proposals for the
1990 Farm Bill, which incorporates a
number of provisions intended to
move farming toward a more
ecologically sensitive way of doing
business. In addition, USDA invited us
to participate on their work groups for
writing rules for  implementing the
1990 Farm Bill conservation programs.
  Nevertheless, there are 2.5 million
farms in the United States. There are
extraordinarily complex programs in
place both to increase output and to
maintain farm income. We can't expect
to change these programs overnight to
be more complementary to EPA's
mission and still keep their original
  What is encouraging is the extent to
which  many progressive farmers are
adopting such practices as
conservation tillage and  low-input
farming that reduce the surface-water
and ground-water pollution problems
that have been associated with
farming. And they are being
encouraged to do so by USDA.
  I should point  out that it isn't just
row crops that contribute to the
problem. Animal waste from confined
feeding operations is a very significant
aspect  of the nonpoint-source  problem.
In addition, grazing has proven to be
destructive to important riparian  areas
and stream beds  in many of the arid
parts of the country. We are working
cooperatively with USDA to address
these problems as well.

V,/  We have a similar  situation with
timber production, another important
source of nonpoint-source pollution.
The Forest Service, part of the USDA,
is one of the country's largest
managers of forest land, much of

which is commercially harvested for
timber. Environmentalists say that the
Service tends to emphasize timber
production at the expense of
protecting water quality. What can
EPA do to influence the Forest

/i.  Actually, we are already doing
quite a lot. I met only recently with
senior officials of the Forest Service to
review our joint efforts to ensure that,
as land managers, they take a
stewardship approach which
recognizes the multiple purposes their
lands can fulfill.
  As with other elements of the
Department of Agriculture, we are
finding a keen sense of awareness on
the part of Forest Service officials that
maintaining the habitat, wildlife, and
water quality values of watersheds
under their management is a key part
of their mission. And I expect that part
of their mission to gain increasing
emphasis in the coming years.
  A number of Forest Service
personnel are detailed to EPA regional
offices and to our office here in
Headquarters. We have a similar
program  with the Soil Conservation
Service. We are finding that these
programs have been quite useful in
giving us an appreciation for the needs
and constraints of USDA and its
component parts, as well as giving
them a better appreciation for EPA's
mission and how we can together go
about furthering it.
     In the early days of the
Superfund program, we were not only
unaware of the magnitude of the
problem, we did not have in place
proven technologies for correcting the
variety of contaminated sites that we
eventually had to confront. Does that
situation pertain to nonpoint-source
pollution? We understand that some
states simply do not know whether
many of their lakes and streams are
polluted or not.

/v  There is certainly a lot more that
we need to learn about the
contributions of different kinds of
nonpoint-source pollution to water
quality impairment. However, in the
main, the states are doing a good job
assessing threats to water quality.
  Sediment, for example, is a pollutant
that we  have much to  learn about.
Toxics discharged from both point
sources  and nonpoint  sources many
years ago have become bound to
sediments. And even though  we
reduce the input of new pollutants to a
body of water, disturbing these
sediments can release harmful
elements into the water column or can
expose bottom-living organisms to
them. We are currently developing an
agency-wide strategy for acquiring
information on the location of
contaminated sediments, what has
caused the contamination, and what
are its effects.
  While there  is always more to learn
about any environmental problem, I
don't consider Superfund a
particularly appropriate analogy. I
believe that we do have an adequate
handle on the  magnitude and nature of
the problem and that there exists  a
large "menu" of technologies  to deal
with it—many of them well

V£  In putting this issue together,
we've run across some innovative
approaches to pollution control. In
Colorado, for example, efforts are
being made to increase the capacity of
a stream to absorb pollution by
altering the stream's physical
characteristics. In other words, they
are not so much trying to cut back on
pollution as they are improving on
nature's ability to absorb it. Is there a
whole universe of control-technology
research and development connected
to nonpoint-source pollution, as there
is to other EPA programs?

/v  One of the things we see is that,
in many cases, "low-tech" responses
are quite effective and, in many cases,
quite inexpensive in dealing with
nonpoint-source pollution. Many
agencies in addition to EPA are
developing and evaluating these
control approaches.
  We do have  a modest research
program under way. However, our
current approach, which encourages
the installation of various management
practices, has us trying to transfer the
technology that others have developed
to a wider set of users.
  There are, in fact, a  number of
research questions  pertaining  to
nonpoint-source pollution—some
unique to it, others applicable to a
wider array of  issues. We are  working
with EPA's Office of Research and
Development to develop a
comprehensive research plan  in this
           Continued on next page

       As we understand it, one
  potential bright spot on the horizon is
  that nonpoint-source control programs
  developed under the new Coastal
  Zone Act amendments may be picked
  up by inland states  as well. Is this
  true? Without going into all of the
  administrative steps, how will these
  programs work?

  / \  We were very pleased that EPA
  was able to meet a very stringent
  Congressional deadline associated with
  implementing a new coastal zone
  nonpoint-source program, and with the
  high degree of cooperation that EPA
  and the National Oceanic and
  Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA)
  have enjoyed in trying to put that
  program into  place.
    Fundamentally, the new  coastal
  nonpoint-source law requires EPA to
  identify management measures, which
  we have done in a proposal that was
  open for comment this past fall, then
  for the coastal states to adopt programs
  which conform  to these measures. It
  means that existing state coastal zone
  management plans and existing state
  nonpoint-source control plans will
  need to be revised. NOAA and EPA
  have also issued draft guidance
  outlining the  elements of an
  approvable state coastal
  nonpoint-source program and the
  process by which  that review will be
    We are at an early stage in this effort
  and it's too early to  predict how
  successful it will be, and whether it
  will be applied  inland as well as to
  coastal areas. Clearly, many in
  Congress and elsewhere will be
  watching this effort  closely.
    We are excited about the
  opportunity to work under a new
  institutional framework with NOAA.
  We are optimistic that it will result in
  benefits to coastal-zone water quality
  that were unavailable to us before.
       You mentioned earlier that,
  generally speaking, the public is
  unaware of nonpoint-source pollution
  and that, consequently, EPA doesn't
  enjoy the support it needs to cope
  with the problem. What are you doing
  to educate the public?

  f\  We have a number of efforts
  underway. For example, we publish a
  newsletter, Nonpoint Source
News-Notes, which reaches out to a
broad audience of water quality
practitioners, educators, and others.
We also distribute posters, brochures,
and fact sheets on nonpoint-source
problems and solutions. In addition,
many of the most effective public:
education programs are those
developed locally because they are
closer to the problems.  Consequently, a
significant portion of section 319 grant
money goes  to support  state and local
outreach and educational  efforts.
  As I said earlier, this  is  not
exclusively a problem of land use
decisions by government.  It has to do
with many decisions  that  individuals
make in their daily lives:  Do they
dump their crankcase oil  down a storm
sewer, or recycle it; does a farmer
undertake a  soil test before fertilizing
his crop: are pesticides  used on a
preventative basis?
  All these decisions have important
impacts on water quality.  The
individuals who  make them need to be
sensitive to those impacts. We're
talking about a massive educational
undertaking. Fortunately,  we aren't  in
it alone. We're getting a lot of
assistance in reaching the agricultural
community, both through  the
Extension Service and the Soil
Conservation Service. In coastal areas,
state coastal zone management
programs and EPA-funded National
Estuary Programs and Near Coastal
Waters Program projects often provide
important vehicles for reaching the
public on nonpoint-source and  other
  We're hoping that EPA's new
Environmental Education  Office will
be a big help to us in placing
information  on the nonpoint-source
problem in schools and elsewhere.
We've established an  electronic
bulletin board through which we can
exchange information on best
management practices and program
developments. We are looking for ways
to  energize private-sector  point  sources
in  helping to bring the
nonpoint-source problem  under
control. And, finally,  just  as the utility
companies have undertaken public
information  efforts in the  energy
conservation area, we have major
metropolitan wastewater agencies and
storrnwater agencies that can
supplement  EPA's efforts  trying to
reach citizens about the
nonpoint-source problem.
     Well, as I said earlier, it's a
problem that you don't see covered
very much in the press, and it's not
one that we're all that familiar with.
Is there anything we've missed that
you'd like to touch on?

/\  Yes. There is one thing. We are
in  the process of developing a simple,
not entirely new, concept that EPA's
water quality programs have not
emphasized  enough to date. We think
it will be quite valuable in dealing
with the nonpoint-source problem.
  We call it  the watershed protection
approach. Fundamentally, it means
taking a particular watershed as a
starting point, evaluating what the
threats are to water quality, and
energizing the people who live in that
watershed to address the problem. It is
a concept that Bill Reilly has talked
about, and others, like Jacques
Cousteau. It  has to do with people
protecting the things they love. It  is a
concept that applies not just in the
case of our large and magnificent
resources, like the Chesapeake Bay and
the Great Lakes, but which people in
thousands of small  watersheds can
understand  and relate to.
  Instead of focusing initially on a
particular pollutant or a particular
industrial category of polluters, as we
have so many times in the past, we
would start with what is causing a
particular river, lake, estuary, or other
water body  to be a place where you
can't swim or a  place where you can't
catch the range of fish that was there
in  the past.  By engaging the people in
existing institutions around that
watershed and focusing on that
question, then developing solutions
that may go  beyond  those that are
appropriate for EPA to implement by
itself, we think we can achieve a lot of
  So we are working with the EPA
regions, the states, and other
stakeholders to take this model, which
is similar to  what we've done in the
national estuary program, and apply it
to  smaller scale watersheds, both
coastal and  inland.
  What the  smaller watersheds have in
common with those magnificent water
bodies is the fact that there are people
who live near them, who  relate to
them, and who can understand in a
                                                                                                  EPA JOURNAL


Runoff from a development. Land use c/edsj'oris 
 The Clean Water Act defines
 precisely what are the point
 sources of pollution and
 subjects them to the control
 of permits under the
 National Pollutant Discharge
 Elimination System. In
 contrast, the Act defines
 nonpoint sources only as
 those that do not meet the
 legal definition of point
 sources, and assigns
 responsibility for them
 primarily to the states. The
 states, typically, have tried to
 control them through
 voluntary programs. But,
 according to EPA, nonpoint
 sources currently are
 responsible for one- to
 two-thirds of remaining water
 quality problems.
  The  issue is sensitive,
 involving, as if does, the
 control of land use, which
 fends to be considered a
 local government tool. How,
 then, does our society come
 to grips with this serious
 environmental problem? EPA
 Journal asked a number of
 authorities on the issue:
 What will it take to bring
 nonpoint-source water
 pollution under control?
 Their answers follow.
                              As part of Iowa's Big Spring Basin Demonstration Project, ground water is continuously
                              monitored a( more than 50 sites including this deep-monitoring well in Clayton County.
                                                                                             EPA JOURNAL

 Kenneth A.  Cook
    Neither a purely voluntary
    nor a purely regulatory
framework will suffice to
solve agriculture's
ground-water or
surface-water problems. A
hybrid system is needed,
built of carrots and sticks.
  The case for a voluntary
approach, consisting of
technical assistance,
education, even  some
incentives, is compelling to a
point. Obviously, many
farmers have spent their own
time and money protecting
their land and water, and the
larger environment of which
their farm is a part. But by  no
means have all farmers, or
enough farmers, been
effective  stewards. It is
equally obvious that
pollution-control practices
that farmers support or
initiate by choice are more
likely to  be successful  and
enduring than those imposed
on them. Society can help by
providing funding for some
farmers and some  practices.
But society can't pay for it
all, especially with the
current severe constraints on
the federal budget. The Water
Quality Incentives Program
authorized in  the 1990 Farm
Bill, for example, will
provide a mere $6.75 million
to help farmers prevent
nonpoint pollution in  1992.
  The case for agricultural
nonpoint-source regulation
begins with the  history of
soil conservation policy in
this country. For the 50 years

prior to 1985, the nation
approached the very serious
problem of soil erosion
control on agricultural lands
in an entirely voluntary
fashion. The U.S. government
spent tens of billions of
dollars to provide
cost-sharing for
erosion-control practices and
technical assistance in
virtually every agricultural
county in the nation.
  Yet in 1985, we still faced
a serious soil-erosion
problem. On tens of millions
of acres of highly erodible
cropland, farmers were
producing wheat, corn,
cotton, and other
commodities, often with the
support of a federal subsidy.
Not only were the erosion
rates on these lands
extremely high, but in many
cases not a single
soil-conservation practice
was in place. That does not
say very much for a half
century's worth of the
voluntary approach.
  In 1985, Congress drew  the
line on one aspect of this
problem: It enacted the
"sodbuster" and conservation
compliance policies to end
federal farm-program
subsidies that contribute to
excessive soil loss. Only
when these new regulations
were added to USDA
entitlement and benefit
programs did we begin to  see
significant results. Farmers
developed and began to
implement conservation
plans because they had to. A
recent  evaluation by the Soil
and Water Conservation
Society (SWCS) does raise
serious questions about the
adequacy of USDA
implementation. Still, we  do
know that in the absence of
conservation compliance,  soil
conservation plans and
practices would not be a
reality today on tens of
millions of acres of fragile
  Recent experience with
combatting nonpoint-source
pollution in the Chesapeake
Bay area lends further weight
to the case for regulation.
Considering the tens of
millions of dollars spent on
research, planning, financial
assistance, and farmer
education, the Chesapeake
Bay states must be
considered to be in the
forefront of efforts
nationwide to control
agricultural pollution over a
large area. Recently, EPA
convened an  independent
panel to assess the
effectiveness  of efforts to
reduce nonpoint-source
loading into the Bay. (EPA
acted on behalf of the
Chesapeake Bay Commission
and the governments party to
the Chesapeake Bay
Agreement.) The panel
studied whether a "largely
voluntary" program to
control  nonpoint-source
pollution would be sufficient
to meet the year 2000 goal for
reducing nutrient loadings
into the bay,  or whether more
regulatory programs would
be required. The panel
recommended "that the states
and the federal goi'ernment
augment voluntary programs
with increased use of
regulatory authority for the
reduction of nutrient
loadings. To minimize
financial burdens, regulatory
requirements  should be
accompanied by technical
and,  where appropriate,
financial assistance." In
addition, the  panel
recommended that "nutrient
management plans be
required and  implemented
for lands that are targeted as
sources of nutrient loading
into the bay."
  If the nation's most
intensive and costliest
voluntary effort to date to
control nonpoint-source
pollution yields these
conclusions, I would submit
that some form of regulation
for agricultural
nonpoint-source pollution
control should be included in
the Clean Water Act when it
is reauthorized in 1992.
Regulation, combined with a
fully funded water quality
incentives program, will be
necessary to solve
agriculture's serious
pollution problems.
(Cook is  Vice President /or
Policy at the Center /or
Resource Economics.)
Ron  Phillips
    The fertilizer industry
    practices and strongly
supports the use of nutrient
management plans as the best
way to prevent non-point
source pollution. It is
important, however, to
recognize that good nutrient
management plans are
site-specific, taking a number
of variables including
existing nitrogen in the soil
and crop needs into account.
  For this reason, we support
solutions to address
non-point source pollution
problems that are crafted
where the problem
occurs—at the local
level—and that are
administered on a voluntary
rather than mandated basis.
  Current government
programs and voluntary
efforts are working to address
the non-point pollution
problem. The site-specific
nature of the problem is a
fact that is virtually missing
from the debate.
  Section 319 of the Water
Quality Act of 1987 has
directed significant resources


to states to help them
develop non-point source
pollution programs. States
are  moving to address the
issue. Nebraska is an
example of a handful of
states that require nutrient
management programs  in
designated water resource
areas. Farmers within these
special protection areas must
have plans for controlling,
stabilizing, reducing, or
preventing water
contamination. Other states
require best management
practices (BMPs) in instances
where water quality
standards are violated.
Erosion controls are another
weapon used by many  states
to combat water quality
  Agriculture's  contribut ion
to non-point source pollution
is localized. Solutions,
therefore, must be
site-specific. The  federal
government cannot create a
national non-point solution
that is successful  in
addressing local problems of
varying degrees. As an
example, Washington's
prescription for reducing
nutrient loadings  to
waterways is to reduce
fertilizer use. Yet,  in the
Chesapeake Bay watershed,
fertilizer use is down 30
percent since 1980 even
though total nitrogen
loadings  to  the  bay have
  EPA already administers
Section 319 and the Coastal
Xoiii! Management Act  to
address nonpoint problems.
That is in addition to a host
of USDA programs, including
six new programs in the 1990
Farm Bill to address water
  The best role for the
federal government is to
allow these programs to
work. A good
nonpoint-source pollution
program  would encourage
cooperation among states,
fanners, and industry to
create site-specific solutions.
  Farmers and industry care
about reducing nonpoint
pollution and protecting the
environment. They also
possess most of the expertise
needed to craft solutions and
should be allowed to do so.
(Phillips  is Vice President of
Public Affairs for The
Fertilizer Institute.)
Senator John H. Chafee
    Despite the good
    intentions of Congress
when creating the
nonpoint-pollution control
program in the  1987  Water
Quality Act, little has
happened under section 319
that has actually improved
water quality. Nonpoint
pollution was our most
serious water quality problem
in 1987 and remains so
today. I believe that we must
take two additional steps
before water quality
improvements will be seen.
  First, we need a significant
commitment of federal funds
to the nonpoint problem.
Federal spending to control
the nonpoint sources of
pollution has been minuscule
compared to our efforts on
the point source side. Over
the past 20 years, we have
spent more than $60 billion
of federal funds to build
municipal sewage treatment
plants. Industry has spent
additional billions of dollars
controlling point-source
  But nonpoint-pollution
control efforts have been
starved for dollars. After a
decade of appropriating $2
billion or more annually to
construct sewage treatment
plants, 1 hope that we can
now shift as much as $500
million per year to the
nonpoint side of the
equation. These dollars
would be used to build and
carry out state programs.
  Second, we must put our
efforts into the field. Too
much of  the nonpoint
program  in the past, both
under section 208 in the
1970s and section 319 now,
has been spent on analyzing,
planning, and reporting by
government  agencies. We
need to get in closer touch
with the  farmers, foresters,
builders, and city public
works departments that can
actually make a difference for
water quality.
  Recent amendments to  the
national farm program offer a
perfect opportunity. They
pledge dollars and the
expertise of  local agricultural
agents in soil conservation
districts and extension offices
to help farmers and ranchers
develop water quality plans
for their  land. We need to
adopt that model for the
Clean Water Act. It is  this
work in the  field—one field
at a time—that has the
greatest promise to actually
improve  water quality.
(Chafee (R-Rhode Island] is
ranking minority member on
the Senate Environment and
Public Works Committee.]
Edward  G. Stein, Jr.
      When major projects are
      under construction,
any particular watershed can
be severely impacted by
erosion and sediment runoff
created by that construction.
To offset these potential
negative impacts, it is
imperative that an effective
sediment control plan be
developed as an integral
phase of the design process.
Equally important  is the
timely implementation of the
plan during construction.
Constant inspection of the
project and the ability to
react to occasional
deficiencies in the plan and
severe weather conditions is
also very important. The
Maryland State Highway
Administration adopted this
concept in 1984. We feel we
have been successful because
we have undertaken an
extensive training  program
for our design, construction,
and maintenance personnel.
  We have established a
two-tiered level of inspection
for sediment control, and
have the ability to  take
immediate action against
contractors who are in
noncompliance. We can and
do shut down projects, and
in 1990 enacted a penalty
system. This penalty is a
minimum of $1,000 per day.
Since we are in the business
of building roads, and
shut-downs are not in
anyone's best  interest, we
have instituted a program
that lets us interact with and
educate contractors in the
area of sediment control.
                                                                                                       EPA JOURNAL

  Public agencies that are
charged with large public:
works projects, especially
highway-related efforts, need
to set an example for the
private sector. We have been
successful in Maryland and
strongly recommend that
other states follow our
(Stein is Assistant to the
Chief Engineer of the
Maryland  State Highway
John Charles Wilson
     As a full-time farmer and
     producer of cotton,
soybeans, corn, wheat, and
cattle, I am a skeptic when it
comes to nonpoint-source
pollution  in agriculture. I
believe that in production
agriculture, we have
point-source problems just as
many industries do. Most
producers are using
pesticides and nutrients at or
below labeled rates in
applications  on their  crops.
This has been dictated by the
poor economy of our
industry over the last decade.
Producers have learned to
use  chemicals and fertilizers
effectively and safely. In my
opinion, most resource
contamination occurs at
points of pesticide spills,
spray tank ruptures,
agricultural equipment filling
and  washing, around  well
heads, and from pesticide
container disposal.
  We in agriculture are well
aware of the need for
resource protection and
conservation. It is our
livelihood and heritage. Even
though I am a skeptic about
area-wide contamination
from pesticides and
fertilizers, I am not naive
enough to believe that the
potential is not there. I
believe that intense
monitoring in heavy
agriculture production areas
will keep  us on the cutting
edge of what our production
tools are doing to our
  My conservation district
(Shelby County, Tennessee),
along with Fayette and
Tipton counties, has
embarked upon a 5-year, $6
million monitoring program
in the  100,000-acre Beaver
Creek Watershed in West
Tennessee. This program,
which  was established by
farmers in conjunction with
the U.S. Geological Survey,
Soil Conservation Service,
Tennessee Department of
Agriculture, Tennessee
Department of Conservation
and Environment, University
of Tennessee, and Memphis
State University, is seeking to
gain through monitoring
more knowledge about our
production activities.
Monitoring includes: stream
channel water sampling (12
samples per storm event),
soil core sampling to a depth
of 5 feet, and deep well water-
sampling. The farmers in  our
area are committed to
correcting any problems
highlighted  by the
monitoring system.
   Farmers in increasing
numbers are demonstrating
their awareness of the
potential  problems caused by
nonpoint-source pollution.
How aware  is the general
public concerning its
contribution to this problem?
The Saturday afternoon
gardener who drains the oil
out of his lawnmower into
the driveway; the homeowner
who fertilizes his quarter-acre
lawn with a 50-pound bag of
fertilizer twice a year; the
gardener who produces
homegrown vegetables and
over-applies pesticides; or
the Sunday boater who spills
gas and oil into our rivers
and lakes: How do we make
these individuals more aware
of their responsibilities? I
believe that increased
education and publicity are
the answer.
  Nonpoint-source pollution
is a problem created by all of
society. Not any one sector
can be given full
responsibility. Therefore, it is
a problem all  of us need to
work together to solve.
I Wilson is a Tennessee
                                                            Robert W. Adler
     pollution, a bureaucratic
term for poison runoff—badly
contaminated runoff from
farms, city streets,
construction sites, and  other
lands—has been a poor
stepchild under the Clean
Water Act, During
consideration of the Clean
Water Act in 1972, 1977, and
1987, Congress clearly
recognized the critical need
to address this form of
pollution. Yet past legislative
responses have been weak,
calling for vague planning
programs and voluntary
approaches to poison runoff
control. And funding for
poison runoff programs has
been almost nonexistent.
  Three critical changes are
needed when Congress
reauthorizes the Clean  Water
Act next year. First, EPA and
states must be required to
impose mandatory controls
on runoff sources where
necessary to solve water
quality problems. These
controls need not be uniform.
Rather, as we required  for
coastal states last year in the
Coastal Zone Management
Act, EPA should be required
to identify a menu of poison
runoff controls, from which
states can choose the most
appropriate controls  for
specific regions.
  Second, water quality
standards must be broadened
and applied to the poison
runoff problem. Current
water quality standards often
do not apply to poison
runoff. For example,  few
states have standards that
address pesticides, nutrients,
and the hydrologic effects of
runoff. More  important,
poison runoff control
programs must be linked
specifically to the goal  of
water quality compliance.
  Finally, Congress must
fund poison  runoff programs
at levels appropriate  to the
magnitude of the problem. It
is estimated  that at least $10
million per state per  year
will be needed to make stale
poison runoff control
programs effective.
Ultimately, the funding level
for poison runoff programs is
the best yardstick to  measure
Congress' commitment  to
solve this problem.
(Adler is a Senior Attorney
with the Natural Resources
Defense Council.!
                              (Forum continued on  next

Neal D. Emerald
  In 1988, the
  Madison-Gallatin Chapter
of Trout Unlimited (TU)
appealed the Gallatin
National Forest (GNF)
Management Plan. TU was
concerned about the impacts
of timber harvesting and
grazing on the world-class
trout fisheries of the GNF.
Key points in the appeal
included the plan's failure to
address requirements of the
Glean Water Act (GWA), the
National Forest Management
Act (NFMA), and the
National Environmental
Policy Act  (NEPA).
   The plan violated both  the
CWA and Montana
antidegradation standards for
timber harvest operations in
selected watersheds. The
plan further violated NFMA
mandates for the protection
of fisheries habitat by failure
to protect riparian areas, to
address sediment impacts, to
inventory streams, and to set
standards for adverse  effects.
Additionally, the plan
allowed logging in drainages
occupied by the native
Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
  The plan also violated
NEPA requirements because
it failed to discuss the
impacts of timber harvest, to
provide for a watershed
analysis, and to address
fisheries' economic value.
  TU made it clear that it
was willing to work with the
U.S.  Forest Service (USFS) to
resolve the concerns.  The
USFS went right to work. It
agreed  to monitor streams
which contained world-class
trout populations and, if
necessary, halt logging and
grazing activities to protect
the quality of those streams.
As part of the settlement, the
USFS agreed to revise its
plan to carry out the
• Provide for
effectiveness, and validation
monitoring for fish habitat,
water quality, and soils (in
doing so, the USFS will
provide an annual
monitoring report and
schedules for monitoring and
• Provide for
stream-classification  system
guidelines which will
consider substrate
composition, water
temperature, pool habitat,
stream bank composition,
shading and stream cover,
bank stability, debris, and
streamflow, and develop
implementation standards for
these items
• Provide for riparian area
management to meet
riparian-dependent resource
objectives for fisheries,
wildlife, and watersheds (this
included the elimination  of
timber harvest activities; it
also provides for a project
halt or modification if
sediment occurs over levels
specified in the plan)
• Meet NEPA requirements
for watershed site-specific
and cumulative-effects
analysis for proposed actions
as they affect fisheries and
watershed-related values.
  TU signed the settlement
with the USFS on January 10,
1990. The settlement was a
landmark precedent in forest
planning management
because it was the first time
that extractive resource
activities were banned from
sensitive watershed areas.
The USFS was forced to
realize that protection  of
riparian areas is essential in
maintaining the higher water
quality standards required by
trout and salmon.
(Emerald is Grassroots
Coordinator at Trout
S.  Lake Cowart, Jr.

    As a lifetime resident of
    the Northern Neck town
of Lottsburg, Virginia, located
on the lower Potomac River, I
see the problem of bringing
nonpoint-source pollution
under control as a very real
one. It is real to the residents
of Tidewater Virginia because
of their dependence on the
tidal waters of the
Chesapeake Bay for their
  Nonpoint runoff has been
addressed by the farm
community in recent years.
No-till fanning, sod
waterways, buffer strips, drop
structures, and nutrient
management plans have been
utilized to the extent the
farm community could effect
these practices. Much work
must still be done on the
farm, as well as in urban
areas, to bring nonpoint
pollution  under control.
  The answer to  this problem
is not more federal and state
government regulations.
Landowners must be
educated and encouraged  to
prevent nonpoint-source
pollution through the use of
existing regulations  and with
the  help of governmental
cost-share programs.
  One possible approach
would be  to encourage the
construction of thousands of
strategically located ponds
which would catch the runoff
                     FRANK & ERNEST  BOBTHAVES
                                                    Frank and Ernes I reprinted by permission of NEA, Jnc.

                                                                        EPA JOURNAL

during and after high rainfall
periods and store  the water.
The ponds would allow
sediment removal and
percolation of water into the
soil. These ponds  should be
designed to allow a regular,
slow release of water. They
could also serve as a source
of water to meet growing
farm and urban needs.
Environmental tradeoffs
would have to be  made since
certain non-tidal wetland
areas would best serve as
locations for these holding
  This approach would yield
less sediment entering tidal
waters and a more regular
flow of fresh water into our
estuaries. The long-term
results will help solve the
problem of nonpoint
pollution, and any
environmental tradeoff will
be positive.
(Cowart is an oyster grower
and tomato farmer.)
Thomas Mumley

    uccessful control of
    urban runoff will require
a carrot, a stick, and common
sense. Common sense equates
to pollution  prevention.
There are many low tech,
cost-effective solutions  at
hand. These include
providing information on the
proper use and disposal of
materials;  preventive
maintenance by public
works; planning procedures
to ensure that development
will not increase pollutants
in urban runoff; and flood
management activities which
reduce the amount of
pollutants in urban runoff
while achieving flood-control
objectives. The list goes on; it
just makes sense to
implement the myriad of
control measures that we
have been aware of for years.
  Unfortunately, human
nature does not equate with
common sense. We need
incentives to change  our
ways; we need directions. We
now have a big stick  to drive
these needed efforts,  in the
form of the NPDES storm
water regulations which
require implementation  of
these control measures.
Fortunately, the current
regulations promote
flexibility and  don't impose a
lot of bureaucratic  red tape,
and therein lies the carrot.
  The carrot is the human
drive to control our own
destiny. A municipality's
own interests will be served
if it develops a
self-determined urban runoff
management program.
Municipalities will find  that
if they commit to meaningful
actions, regulators  will be
generous in their scrutiny.
On the other hand, I
guarantee that municipalities
won't be happy with a
program designed in  a state
capital or in Washington, DC.
  The bottom line  is  that
action is needed, and if
municipalities don't  do  it on
their  own, the regulatory
stick  will get big, and it  will
hurt.  We'd all  prefer  to keep
the stick out of the formula.
This will only happen if
municipalities take advantage
of the current opportunity to
control their own destinies
by implementing the
common-sense, cost-effective,
environmentally beneficial
measures available for urban
runoff management.
fMumley is Associate Water
Resource Control Engineer at
the San Francisco  Regional
Water Quality Control
George  Hallberg
    Aggressive marketing!
    While there are many
actions needed  to reduce
nonpoint-source pollution, an
aggressive marketing
approach to public education
is a necessity—and one often
overlooked.  Resolving many
NFS problems requires
changes in the way we
conduct our daily activities.
Examples range from the way
we handle and use fertilizers,
manure, and pesticides on
farms, lawns, and golf
courses, to our use and
disposal of household toxic
and hazardous materials.
Altering such activities is as
much a sociological process
as a technical one.
  It seems unrealistic to
suggest we can simply
regulate such behavior. To
affect voluntary change, at
the large  scale needed,
requires an aggressive
program to change attitudes
and perceptions. Evaluation
of effective education efforts
to promote voluntary change
suggests such programs must
address several  issues. First,
we must enhance, or even
initiate, awareness of the
problem.  We can't expect
change when our target
audience doesn't know they
have a problem! Second, we
must provide contact with
alternative practices and
potential solutions and
provide confidence these are
  These are only first steps,
and they presuppose we have
defined our market audience;
we must know who the
audience is and how to  reach
them. Also, responsibility for
many nonpoint problems
cuts across traditional
authorities, and resolution
requires cooperation from
many agencies and
institutions. Another key is
development of a consistent
message among these
cooperators; nothing can kill
the "marketing" plan faster
than contradictory
information from supposed
  Voluntary approaches
likely will  not fully resolve
nonpoint-source problems.
But without targeted
educational programs that
begin the process of changing
fundamental attitudes and
behavior, more stringent
measures will hardly be
palatable publicly or
(Hallberg is Supervisor of
Environmental Geology at
the Jowa Department of
Natural Resources.)

                                        £fc3» ?SS **?St &L. • . -\.  vc /-'••"
                                         •":\-~-f^ • 5*.i '
Fi'/ter strips are (jnc method of protecting stream brinks. Both MC/CS oM/j/.s creek

fiavo been .sJ;ifa(///ec/ by recent/y planted willow trees and sweet c /over.
USDA photo.
                                                           EPA JOURNAL

 The more the residue,
 the less the pollution
 of surface water.
 by William Richards
(Richards is Chief of the Soil
Conservation Service, U.S. Department
of Agriculture.]
     y perspective on curbing
     agricultural nonpoint-source
pollution is that of a farmer—

• A farmer who lives by the
philosophy that every producer and
land owner has the duty and the moral
obligation to use the best soil- and
water-conservation technology

• A farmer who believes that good
environmental decisions and good
business decisions are compatible
• A farmer who, for the past 35 years,
helped pioneer "conservation tillage,"
the practice of maximizing the crop
residue you leave  as a protective
mulch on the surface of a field instead
of plowing it under.

  Interest in conservation tillage is
growing rapidly around the country.
As a farmer, I am excited about this
because I know the competitive
advantage of this technology. I am also
excited as Chief of the Soil
Conservation Service (SCS), the USDA
agency that has helped America
protect and conserve soil and water
since the Dust Bowl crisis of the
  The agricultural community's
concerns about water quality and soil
erosion control are our highest
priorities at SCS. We are helping
producers to understand the
interrelationships  between soil, water,
air, plants, and animals and to apply
the information that comes from
research and extension agencies and
from our own surveys of soil
characteristics and other resource
  Last year, more  than 1.2 million
farmers, ranchers, and units of
government sought SCS help in
developing a conservation plan to
ensure that their operations are
environmentally and economically
sound. We offered this help through
voluntary  conservation programs and
through one of the most effective
public and private partnerships in this
country—our partnership with the
more than 3,000 locally organized and
locally run soil and water conservation
  A tremendous array of technology is
available to help with a range of
environmental concerns. But
conservation tillage, in my opinion,
should be the technology considered
first for soil erosion control and water
quality protection. In conservation
tillage, the residue of husks, stems,
and leaves covers the soil surface,
protecting it from wind and the impact
of raindrops. The more residue you
have, the less runoff—and the less
chance that surface water will be
polluted by sediment and by nutrients
or pesticides adhering to soil particles.
  This basic concept of crop residue
management is beautifully simple, and
you find it used in home gardens. But
on the large scale of production
agriculture, the technology is complex.
  Intensive management is the key.
For example, the amount of residue
cover needed to reduce soil erosion to
acceptable levels depends primarily on
the type of soil, the slope of the
ground, the kinds of crops grown on a
field and their order in the crop
"rotation," and the tillage systems and
equipment used.
  Fortunately, conservation tillage is a
flexible technology that allows the
farmer to balance market decisions
with environmental  decisions. One
way of leaving more crop residue  on
the ground is to include
high-residue-producing crops in a crop
rotation sequence. Corn and grain
sorghum generally are high-residue
crops. Planting a winter cover crop,
such as rye or wheat or even a
winter-hardy grass, is a good option
when growing soybeans during the
spring and summer.
  Other ways to leave more residue
include tilling only in the spring;
reducing the number of passes with
equipment; using equipment that
minimizes disturbance of the soil; and
using equipment that works under the
residue, leaving maximum cover
evenly distributed over the surface.
  Intensive management is required for
weed  control when you minimize or
eliminate plowing. Here we benefit
from precision chemical control.
  We have come a long way in
conservation tillage technology. The
machine industry is  responding with a
lot of attachments and a lot of retrofit

 Crop residue management ait.s in
 protecting soil, producing crops,  and
 improving water quality.  T/i/.s
 productive no-till {arm is  in Ohio.

 equipment  that  can convert a planter
 at reasonably low cost. So farmers
 have lots of options  in making
 investment decisions concerning crop
 residue management.
   We have a whole new generation of
 herbicides that allow us to he much
 more precise and sparing in our
 applications. The "post-emergence"
 herbicides are a boon to conservation
 tillage farmers in that we can apply
 them after the weeds have
 sprouted—instead of before
 planting—so we know how much is
 needed and where. This is a real
   As a corn farmer in Ohio, I had a
 real problem with a weed called
 Johnson grass. But just in the last year
 or two, my sons, who  have taken over
 the family farm, have been controlling
 Johnson grass quite well with the new
 herbicides. And we are finding that we
 just do not need the quantities of
      Gene Alexander plioto. Soil Conservation Service.
chemical we used to need. The new
chemistry has opened up whole new
areas to conservation tillage.
  We have a lot of help from
technology, and we have dispelled a
lot of the myths about herbicide use,
environmental sensitivity,
productivity, profitability, and
  Management is the key. For the
farmer, there is less room for
error — less opportunity to remedy
mistakes with a plow — but the other
side of the coin is that conservation
tillage rewards management. Early on,
I learned the competitive advantage
that comes from investing primarily in
management and brain power instead
of labor and horsepower.
  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when
we first started experimenting with
conservation tillage, we were looking
for ways to cut trips across the field in
              Continued on
                                                                  i; -4t>
Some  Other


On the Farm

There are many different
soil-conserving agricultural
methods that also act to reduce
nonpoint-source pollution.
Intelligent use of these
methods—either a single one or
a combination of several—is in
the financial best interest of the
farmer who wants both to keep
his soil rich and fertile for
coming generations and to
protect water quality.
Conservation Cover:
Establishes and maintains a
perennial vegetative cover to
protect soil and  water on land
retired from agricultural
production. Conservation cover
reduces erosion and can help
improve water quality and
create or enhance wildlife
Crop Rotation: Growing
different crops in recurring
succession on the same land.
For example, on a steep slope
currently planted in corn or
soybeans, a farmer might choose
alternately to grow small grains
and hay in later plantings and
then rotate back to corn or
Contour Farming: The practice
of preparing land, planting
crops, and cultivating them  on
the contour. Each crop row, by
serving as a small dam to hold
water on a slope, cuts soil
losses. Some contour systems
use buffer strips—wide rows of
grass between tilled contour
rows; others use contour
plantings of trees.
Contour Stripcropping: Growing
crops in a systematic
arrangement of strips and bands
on the contour to reduce water
erosion. The crops are arranged
so that a strip of grass or a
                                                                                               EPA JOURNAL

close-growing crop is alternated
with a strip of clean-tilled crop
or fallow.
Terraces: An  earthen
embankment, channel, or
combination ridge and channel
constructed across the  slope
breaks long slopes into a series
of shorter ones. On shorter
slopes, water doesn't build up
as much speed and has less
power to tear away soil
particles. Terraces catch water
at intervals down the slope to
temporarily store it before
delivering it through
underground  tile or a grassed
waterway to the bottom of the
Diversion: A  channel
constructed across a  field slope
with a supporting ridge on the
lower side diverts excess water
from one area for use or safe
disposal in other areas.
Grade Stabilization Structure: A
structure used to stabilize the
grade and control erosion in
natural  or artificial channels so
as to prevent formation of
Filter Strips:  Bands of
vegetation along streams or
other bodies of water filter
sediment and other pollutants
from runoff before it enters the
water body. Grass and, in some
cases, trees may well be the last
line of defense against erosion
and nonpoint pollution.
"Windbreaks": Rows of trees
and more random tree  and
shrub plantings  all help to  trap
sediment from farm  fields.
Grassed Waterway: A natural or
constructed channel  that is
graded or shaped to  required
dimensions and established in
suitable vegetation for  the stable
conveyance of runoff. If
waterways are shaped into a
parabolic form and seeded to
provide a  grass cover, the grass
will lay down like a  carpet as
water flows  over it. The soil is
undisturbed, and cleaner water
is delivered  to streams, lakes,
and reservoirs.
Field  Border: A strip of
perennial  grass, legumes, or a
mix of the two established at
the edge of a field, like the
frame around a picture. It
retards soil erosion from the
field and both slows and filters
polluted runoff.
In the City

Controlling nonpoint pollution
in urban areas is challenging.
Here are several things that you
can encourage your community
to do:
•  Protect open space adjacent
to shorelines: The natural
vegetation serves as a filter to
reduce pollution entering
surface waters.
• Establish used oil and
household hazardous  waste
collection programs.
• Identify areas which are
eroding or prone to erosion and
plant vegetation to stabilize the
• Use and promote walkways
and parking lots designed with
pervious (not impervious)
• Collect leaves and yard
trimmings frequently  enough to
prevent them from washing into
• Increase the frequency of
street sweeping in areas where
high levels of  pollutants
• Purchase vacuum street
sweepers when obtaining new
• Establish a tree protection
—Jack Lewis
                                                  Sieve Delaney pholo.
                                   Runoff from city streets and parking /of.s tdrrm oil and other
                                   pollutants into storm sewers.

order to save fuel and labor. But we
quickly realized the importance of
surface mulch for moisture retention
and consistent yields and for erosion
and water quality protection.
  My Corn Belt  experience with
conservation tillage may differ from
farmers' experience elsewhere. We
have different crops, soils, and climate.
However, the basic principles work
almost everywhere, including in cotton
Early on, I learned the
competitive  advantage that
comes from  investing in
management and brain
power  ....
  It is important to understand that
conservation tillage is not just a
change in field practices. It is a change
in farming tradition and culture.
Farmers like to plow; it is part of our
heritage.  But now, we are making the
more profitable, more environmentally
enhancing practice of conservation
tillage part of our culture and part of
the heritage we  pass on to the next
generation. I am proud that American
farmers are turning to this technology
in increasing numbers. It represents a
big decision for that 2 percent of our
population who make their living
growing food  for the other 98 percent
and much of the rest  of the world, all
the while coping with nature, the
market, and public sentiment.
  Spreading this technology is one of
my highest priorities. You might say it
is one of the highest priorities for
American agriculture because of the
challenge to get conservation tillage in
the hands of producers subject to
conservation compliance requirements
of the 1985 and 1990 farm laws. These
laws tie commodity crop payments
and other USD A program benefits to
erosion control requirements on  highly
erodible  land.
  Conservation compliance is an
enormous task that involves roughly
half the farms in this country. It is a
task that will double conservation
tillage over the next two and one-half
years. Right now, we have 73 million
acres of conservation tillage. We
expect to reach 150 million acres by
1995, the statutory deadline for
implementing conservation compliance
plans. Those are  the estimates if you
look only at crop residue management
defined  as "conservation tillage." By
that I mean crop  residue management
practices that leave at least 30 percent
residue cover on  the surface. Many
plans call  for other specified levels of
residue cover.
  Cooperation between private
industry, the university and extension
community, and  government in
providing  this on-farm technology is
unprecedented. The equipment and
chemical industries are beginning to
see great need and great opportunity
for the technology. To come, are
machines that will help us minimize
compaction of soil between crop rows,
even more precise spraying
technology, and smarter
computer-driven  technology overall.
We are looking forward to more
conservation tillage attachments for
our farm machinery and flexibility so
farmers can convert  present
equipment. Ultimately, I want to see a
completely engineered "system" for
crop residue management.
  The systems approach to residue
management and to all of our
conservation activities is essential for
total resource management. By "total
resource management," I simply mean
finding the optimum system of
practices that is good for the soil,
water, air,  plants, and animals and for
the producer's profit margin. It means
doing our best to fit  together all the
pieces of the economic and
environmental "puzzle."
  Let me assure you that the risk of
agricultural nonpoint-source pollution
can be—and is being—significantly
reduced by more prudent application
of nutrients and pesticides and by
good overall  land and water
  We have found in the agricultural
community that most soil erosion
problems and other environmental
problems are very manageable. Even if
the solution  is not conservation tillage,
other practices such as farming on the
contour, using cover crops, or
stripcropping—perhaps along with
conservation tillage—are solutions at
our fingertips.
  I believe, however, that conservation
tillage will be a key technology for
environmentally and economically
sound farm management, whatever  the
issue at hand. And I will do everything
I can to help industry,  government,
and the farm community get this
technology on the ground, a
                                                                                                EPA JOURNAL

                   Trading-ill the
The Phosphorus Club recommended the Dillon Bubble.
by Bruce Zander
(Zander is an Environmental Engineer
in the Water Management Division of
EPA's Region 8 Office in Denver,
    As you approach the Continental
    Divide on Interstate 70 from
Denver, an array of majestic mountain
peaks greets you. These extraordinary
land forms host the origins of several
water sources which feed streams and
rivers bound for both the Pacific and
Atlantic Oceans.
  As you begin the descent into
Summit County, Colorado, you catch a
glimpse of a mass of water nestled in
the steep valley below. This reservoir,
known  as Lake Dillon, is a focal point
for recreational activities. It has also
been the focal point  of an innovative
water quality program for the
basinwide management of phosphorus,
which is one of the leading threats to
Lake Dillon's water quality.
Phosphorus is a common nutrient that
comes from various sources including
fertilizers, some detergents, and septic
  Although Lake Dillon is situated in a
secluded part of the Rocky Mountains,
it is threatened by water quality
problems shared by many other lakes
and reservoirs across the country. Like
other water bodies, Lake Dillon has
been subject to excessive loadings of
 Bruce Zander photo.
 Golf and ski resort at Lake- Dillon. A conflict arose between (hose who wanted
 more development and those who worried about further lake degradation.

                                                                                         The pristine quality of Lake
                                                                                      Dillon had always been part of
                                                                                           its attraction. The "Dillon
                                                                                       Bubble" strategy preserves the
                                                                                      status quo by dealing with both
                                                                                       point and nonpoint sources of
nutrients, particularly phosphorus,
which can result in unwanted algae
blooms and loss of water clarity.
  In the early 1980s, as Summit
County grew at a tremendous rate,
people became aware of declining
water quality in Lake Dillon. The
Colorado Water Quality Control
Commission maintained a strong
control over the wastewater treatment
facilities that discharged into the Lake.
As is often the case,  the point sources
of pollution were required to carry
much of the responsibility for cleanup
by providing advanced levels of
treatment.  It was documented,
however, that the vast majority of
phosphorus coming into Lake Dillon
originated  from nonpoint sources
within  the basin. About one half of the
nonpoint-source phosphorus came
from activities including runoff from
parking lots, golf courses, construction
sites, and seepage from septic tanks.
  A conflict emerged between those
interests that wanted to continue
expanding recreational use and land
development in the Dillon basin and
those that wanted to halt any further
degradation of the lake. Along with
expanded growth in  the basin,
increased nonpoint sources could be
expected. The issue became
particularly difficult since the pristine
quality of Lake Dillon had always been
a key attraction which brought people
into the basin.
  Summit County was already the
center of a tremendous and rapidly
growing ski industry. Also, during the
summer, more people were coming to
the basin for activities such as
sailboating and fishing.  Meanwhile,
the Denver metropolitan area was
relying more and more on Lake Dillon
as a source of drinking water
(transported to Denver via tunnels
through the mountains).
  The problem came to a head when
the towns and special districts had to
consider adding expensive
state-of-the-art technologies to their
wastewater treatment facilities and
local authorities had to consider
moratoriums on new development.
The Northwest Colorado Council of
Governments rose to the challenge and
organized a committee of
unprecedented membership: Local
representatives from the county,
towns, special districts, ski areas, and
mining interests made up the group as
well as representatives from the state.
EPA, and the Denver Water Board. The
emerging problem at Lake Dillon
served to unite these entities under
Meanwhile, the Denver
metropolitan area was
relying more and more on
Lake Dillon as a source of
drinking water ....
one purpose. Self-named "the
Phosphorus Club," this group proved
to be intensely committed to finding a
solution. They met every week  for an
extended period of time, evaluating
technical and administrative
innovations for solving the problem.
  The first challenge of the
Phosphorus Club was to re-evaluate
what the acceptable level of quality
should be for Lake Dillon. As a
minimum, water quality targets needed
to be set to protect all the diverse uses
of the reservoir. It was especially
difficult to establish standards to
protect the lake from algal blooms and
loss of lake clarity, given the subjective
aspects involved.
  Ultimately, the Phosphorus Club
addressed the issue of water quality
standards by recommending the status
quo: No further increase in phosphorus
loadings should be allowed.  Initially,
this goal of no further water  quality
degradation in Lake Dillon seemed
strictly allied with the intent of
curtailing further development in the
basin. However, the Phosphorus Club
came up with an innovative strategy
designed to allow growth in the basin
while at the same time
maintaining—or even improving—the
water quality  of Lake Dillon. This
approach, first dubbed the "Dillon
Bubble," was  accepted by the state and
EPA as a viable method for managing
phosphorus in the basin.
  The so-called Dillon Bubble
represented a total watershed approach
towards phosphorus control. Instead of
managing pollutant sources  in a
piecemeal fashion,  with the regulatory
agencies addressing point sources and
local authorities addressing  nonpoint
sources, all sources were managed
under one process.  Moreover, the
successes in curbing nonpoint sources
in the basin could provide relief to the
point-source facilities, enabling them
to accommodate growth in the county.
One big advantage of broadening
pollution control to include
nonpoint-source as well as
point-source treatment is the potential
cost savings. Many nonpoint source
controls are low-tech, simple
approaches such as detention ponds
and grass filter strips.
  The Lake Dillon strategy included a
plan for "trading" pollution discharges
between nonpoint sources and point
sources that called  for the removal of 2
pounds of nonpoint-source phosphorus
for every 1 pound of phosphorus credit
awarded a point-source facility. This
2:1 trading ratio was established to
account for any increase in
nonpoint-source loading due to growth
and to allow an environmental safety
  An  example will  help illustrate how
the trading system works. The Town of
Frisco on the western shore of Lake
Dillon has made modifications to its
urban stormwater collection system to
achieve phosphorus removal. By
redesigning the system with
                                                                                                  EPA JOURNAL

phosphorus removal in mind, the town
created a network which acts like a
series of underground detention ponds.
Once the removal effectiveness of
these modifications is documented,
Frisco can apply for a credit of 1
pound of phosphorus  for its treatment
facility for every 2 pounds of
stormwater phosphorus  removed by
the upgraded stormwater system.
  The Colorado Water Quality Control
Commission has incorporated the
Dillon Bubble approach  into state
regulation. The regulation specifies the
phosphorus loading limits for Lake
Dillon and allocates limits to all
sources, allowing for phosphorus
  As part of the Dillon trading
approach, local governments were
required to demonstrate  a commitment
to cleaning up nonpoint sources by
enacting land use ordinances which
address items such as  erosion controls,
septic tank maintenance requirements,
and standards for how close
construction could approach streams.
In addition, the local entities made a
strong pledge to maintaining water
quality by funding a field sampling
program to monitor the condition of
Lake Dillon.
  The Dillon  approach is potentially
applicable to  other situations in the
country. The benefits of this approach
in the Dillon basin have included:
•  Allowing population and
recreational growth to coincide with a
policy of antidegradation of water
•  Linking the control of nonpoint
source and point sources under a
watershed approach
•  Allowing "trading" between the
various sources of phosphorus, thus
minimizing costs to the community
while protecting or  enhancing the
water resource
•  Providing incentives to control
nonpoint sources while tying those
controls to enforceable point source

  Since the inception of the Dillon
Bubble concept,  the municipal
treatment facilities have made  great
progress in improving their
phosphorus treatment. Because of this
improvement and a  slowed rate of
population growth, the original nature
of the trading program has also
changed. Point source/nonpoint source
trades continue to be proposed, but
there  is also discussion of nonpoint
source/nonpoint  source trading.
  Although future nonpoint-source
phosphorus will  be controlled  through
                                                                                                     Bruce Zander photo.
local ordinances, new development
will likely contribute some
phosphorus. To counter this increase,
"old" nonpoint-source phosphorus
could be treated and eliminated to
mitigate newly created sources of
phosphorus. Again, such trading
would be designed to prevent further
degradation of the reservoir and
possibly  improve water quality.
  The water quality concerns of the
basin still have the attention of the
local governments. The Phosphorus
Club has evolved into the Summit
Water Quality Committee, which
considers a range of issues. The
committee believes that Lake Dillon
has a strong chance of maintaining its
good water quality now that there is a
concerted, integrated effort to control
both point and nonpoint  sources of
pollution. Q

    Innovations at Boulder Creek
    Boulder Creek quickly changes
    character as it leaves the shelter
    of the canyons along Colorado's
    front range. It loses speed and
    power as it becomes an urban
    stream, making its way through
    the city of Boulder. It widens as
    it flows eventually to rural,
    flatland areas east of the City.
    Here,  in this lower section,
    Boulder Creek has difficulty
    supporting a healthy aquatic life
      The problems are  linked to
    both point and nonpoint
    sources of pollution, but
    degraded physical habitat of the
    creek  is also a factor. The City
    of Boulder  is solving these
    problems in a nontraditional
    way by taking a holistic,
    watershed approach that
    addresses all causes of
    environmental stress.
      At first, on looking at the
    water quality problems of
    Boulder Creek from  a traditional
    perspective, the solution
    appeared to be straightforward.
    Reports showed exceedences of
    the state water quality standards
    below the city's wastewater
    treatment facility. In particular,
    discharges from the  facility
    were causing toxic levels of
    ammonia in the creek. The
    obvious solution was to invest
    in changes  at the facility to
    improve its effluent  quality.
    According to initial  estimates,
    the plant expansion  and
    upgrade would cost  over $20
      Close scrutiny of the creek,
    however, showed that this
    investment would not
    necessarily revive the creek to a
healthy state. True, the
principal point source of
pollutants into Boulder Creek
was the treatment facility, but
stream studies indicated many
other complications to restoring
the creek. Among these were
stormwater runoff from urban
and rural areas, livestock
grazing, gravel mining,
irrigation return flow, and
streambank erosion.
  In  an effort to better
understand the full ecology of
Boulder Creek, the city
embarked on a data-gathering
effort which included further
evaluation of the stream's water
quality, inspection of its fish
and macroinvertebrate life,
assessment of physical habitat
characteristics, an inventory of
land use  practices in the
watershed, and an accounting of
all nonpoint sources of
pollution. Resources from the
city, the University of Colorado,
and local consultants were
supplemented with funds from
the state and EPA to accomplish
much of the work.
  After consulting with stream
biologists, the city
recommended an approach  that
included full chemical,
biological, and physical
restoration of the creek below
the wastewater treatment plant.
In other words, the approach
addressed the full ecology of
Boulder Creek, rather than just
water quality. The restoration
activities included in this
approach  were diverseand
ambitious: fencing the creek to
control access by cattle and
horses, stabilizing the creek
with anchored logs to prevent
erosion, planting willow and
cottonwood trees to provide
shading and riparian habitat,
physically reshaping the creek
back to its natural shape,
building re-aeration structures
such as  rock clusters to promote
higher dissolved oxygen levels
in the water, and creating
wetlands for the treatment of
irrigation return flows.
  These stream renovation
activities are designed to bring
back environmental qualities
that had been lost over the
years. Reshaping the stream
back to  original configurations
and replanting the  streambank
riparian areas will  foster habitat
that is more conducive to
aquatic  life as well as wildlife.
Additional benefits will include
cooler stream temperatures and
moderation of stream pH levels
due to shading from the new
streamside vegetation. These
renovations will not only help
improve water quality but also
diminish the toxic  effect
associated with ammonia found
in Boulder's wastewater
  The community  has
responded in a  very positive
way to the city's restoration
initiative. Local groups have
contributed materials and labor
as well  as streamside easements
to the city for this  effort.
  And the total cost of
restoration? Estimates indicate
that the expense will be far less
than the cost of a traditional
expansion and upgrade at the
municipal treatment plant.
—Bruce Zander
                                                                                                  EPA JOURNAL

  Bad  Actors"  Program
The bad actors lost the manure wars.
by Ed Odgers
    Since 1984, Wisconsin's programs
    to address nonpoint pollution have
included regulatory or "bad actor"
components in addition to voluntary
cost-share initiatives. Though the two
approaches are complimentary, they
have historically been applied through
independent programs. Right now,
state legislators are considering
expanded regulations to supplement
traditionally voluntary programs.
  Following an intensive cleanup of
industrial and municipal point sources
(Odgers is an agricultural engineer
with the Wisconsin Department of
Agriculture; Trade, and Consumer
of pollution during the 1970s,
nonpoint pollution now represents the
gravest threat to Wisconsin's abundant
ground and surface water resources.
According to a recent assessment, 40
percent of Wisconsin's rivers and
streams and 93 percent of its lakes are
degraded by nonpoint pollution. More
than 10 percent of the state's 700,000
private water supply wells are
contaminated with nitrate leels
exceeding state standards, and again
the blame is placed on nonpoint
  Though urban stormwater runoff and
construction site erosion are
contributing sources, agriculture
continues to be the major source of
nonpoint pollution. Cropland erosion,
manure runoff from feedlots,
over-application of fertilizers, leaching
of pesticides, and stream banks
trampled by cattle are all examples of
agricultural pollution sources.
  With 80,000 farms, 5.4 million head
of cattle and hogs, and 12 million
acres of cropland, agriculture is the
dominant land use in Wisconsin and
the state's largest industry. The large
number of potential pollution sources
places serious limitations and
demands on the programs charged
with the cleanup. The economic stress
now shadowing agriculture deepens
the challenge.

"Bad Actor" Regulations
Following a protracted  legislative
debate that came to be known as the
"manure wars," the Wisconsin state
legislature first established annual
waste management regulations in 1984.
These landmark regulations set up a
two-tiered approach, separating large
farms of more than 1,000 animal units
from other livestock producers. As a
result, about 40 large operations in
Wisconsin are now required to meet
state standards for runoff control,
manure storage, and land application
of manure through a permitting
system. The remaining  70,000
livestock  producers are subject to
clean-up orders if a complaint  is
registered against them and subsequent
Typical Barnyard Runoff Management System
   Runoff.	 ^'--.^O-"Roof Gutters
                                                                                            u: Oflig Thompson.
                                                                                          Wisconsin DqMttmenl of Natural Resources.

investigations determine there was a
"significant discharge" of pollutants.
Each year, approximately 200 citizens'
complaints are made, resulting in
about 40 clean-up orders or "Notices of
  The vast majority of these orders
have been issued for manure runoff
from feedlots to surface waters.
Corrective measures for feedlot runoff
problems may be as simple as
diverting clean stormwater runoff
around the barnyard and fencing off
livestock to provide protective buffer
zones along stream or lake shores.
However, critical sites may require the
installation of more costly structural
practices for the containment and
filtration of the manure-laden runoff.
  Overflow and seepage from
improperly constructed or mismanaged
manure storage systems represent the
next largest category of problems.
Though less common, these problems
can result in equally devastating
damage to the surface water and an
even greater threat to ground water.
  Wisconsin state agencies and county
conservation departments work in
concert to create a cooperative
environment for the resolution of these
animal waste management problems.
When cited, a farmer is allowed from
60 days to two years to make
management changes or install
corrective measures. During this time,
fines are not imposed unless serious
negligence is involved. Cost-share
grants for up  to 70 percent of the costs
for corrective measures are provided in
the approximately 20 cases a year that
require capital improvements. Project
grants average about $15,000 and
usually are accompanied by technical
assistance provided by county-based
conservation technicians. This kind of
assistance has been decisive in helping
farmers comply with clean-up orders.
  In 1988, another regulatory tool was
enacted to address pollution from
nonpoint sources other than animal
waste, such as eroded sediment,
pesticide and fertilizer runoff, and
stream bank erosion. This more recent
legislation was born of the state's
frustration in attempting to halt one
farmer's  negligent tillage practices,
which dumped thousands of tons of
sediment into a popular lake, but it is
not restricted to agricultural pollution
sources.  The resulting program is
limited in scope; only about six
enforcements are projected annually.
Examples of recent enforcement
actions have involved the severe
erosion of a ski hill and sediment
runoff from a golf course under
  Administrators of both these
regulatory programs agree that the
current number of clean-up orders is
just the tip of the nonpoint  pollution
iceberg. The current system is  limited
by staff shortages and the need to rely
on complaints by private citizens to
target potential sources. Ultimately, a
more comprehensive mechanism will
be needed to effect a statewide

Preventive Local Ordinances
Some Wisconsin counties are  pursuing
a preventive, regulatory approach to
nonpoint pollution.  Following state
guidelines, 30  of the state's  72 counties
have enacted manure storage facility
ordinances primarily intended to
protect ground water. Permits required
for the installation of storage facilities
ensure that these systems are  designed
and installed according to approved
  A model ordinance is also being
developed by state agriculture
department officials for streambank
protection from uncontrolled livestock
access. As with manure storage
ordinances, counties will be
encouraged to  develop streambank
protection ordinances tailored to their
needs and administrative capabilities.
  To complete the picture,
municipalities have been encouraged
to adopt construction site erosion
ordinances and stormwater  control
plans in an effort to curb
non-agricultural sources of nonpoint

Proposed Legislation
Wisconsin's flagship nonpoint program
is its Priority Watershed Program, with
an annual budget of $7 million and a
project area encompassing 37  critical
watersheds. Voluntary participation
rates are 70 percent, yet many
watershed projects have fallen short of
their goals because key polluters have
failed to participate.
  Recognizing the slow progress and
unfulfilled goals brought about by
priority watershed "holdouts," the
legislature is now considering
modifications to this traditionally
voluntary program that would initiate
a regulatory mop-up if voluntary
efforts fail to achieve project goals.
  Proponents of legislation to
incorporate "bad actor" provisions in
the Priority Watershed Program
maintain that regulations are necessary
to protect the state's investment in
these watersheds and to assure
progress toward pollution reduction.
Additionally, they argue that the threat
of pending  regulations will stimulate
voluntary participation, and clean-up
orders rarely will  be needed.
  Opponents argue that forcing
participation in watershed projects
would impose more stringent
standards on farm  operations in these
watersheds than would be required
outside  the watershed boundaries.
They maintain that increased and
uniform application of current
statewide regulations would be
sufficient to bolster voluntary program
  In  summary, Wisconsin's present
approach relies on both voluntary and
regulatory tools to address agricultural
nonpoint pollution. This  combination
is generally considered one of the most
progressive systems in the nation, yet
more rapid progress is needed if the
state hopes to protect and restore water
quality. It now appears that regulations
will  see expanded use as the state
searches for ways to accelerate the
cleanup of nonpoint pollution. Success
will  depend on how well state
programs capitalize on the
complimentary effect that can be
achieved with a balance of voluntary
and regulatory tools, n
                                                                                                    EPA JOURNAL

Dos  and  Don'ts
the Home
by Robert Goo
   he importance of education in
   bringing nonpoint-source pollution
under control is a recurring theme in
this issue of EPA Journal. The reason
for this is pragmatic: What you don't
know can hurt the environment. When
rain falls or snow melts, the seemingly
negligible amounts of chemicals and
other pollutants around your home
and premises get picked up and
carried via storm drains  to surface
waters. The ramifications include
polluted drinking water, beach
closings, and endangered wildlife.
  So what can you do to help protect
surface and ground waters from
so-called nonpoint-source pollution?
You can start at home. Begin by taking
a close look at practices  around your
house that might be contributing to
polluted runoff: You may need to
make some changes. The following are
some specific tips to act on—dos and
don'ts, organized by categories, to help
you become part of the solution rather
than part of the problem of
nonpoint-source pollution.

(Goo is an Environmental Protection
Specialist in EPA's Nonpoint-Source
Control Branch.)


                 II  i
                  '   '
                                            '/  'j  '  '.   'i 'i \ ' >    o o
Household Chemicals
• Be aware that many chemicals
commonly used around the home are
toxic. Select less toxic alternatives. Use
non-chemical substitutes wherever
            • Buy chemicals only in the amount
            you expect to use, and apply them
            only as directed. More is not better.
            • Take unwanted household
            chemicals to hazardous waste
            collection centers; do not pour them
            down the drain. Pouring chemicals
            down the drain may disrupt your
            septic system or else contaminate
            treatment plant sludge.
            • Never  pour unwanted chemicals on
            the ground. Soil cannot purify most
            chemicals, and they may eventually
            contaminate runoff.
            • Use low-phosphate or
            phosphate-free detergents.
            • Use water-based products whenever
            • Leftover household pesticide? Do
            not indiscriminately spray pesticides,
            either indoors or outdoors, where a
            pest problem has not been identified.
            Dispose of excess pesticides at
            hazardous waste collection centers.

Landscaping and gardening

•  When landscaping your yard, select
plants that have low requirements for
water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Cultivate plants that discourage pests.
Minimize grassed areas which require
high maintenance.
•  Preserve existing trees, and plant
trees and shrubs to help prevent
erosion and promote infiltration of
water into the soil.
•  Use landscaping techniques such as
grass swales (low areas in the lawn) or
porous walkways to increase
infiltration and decrease runoff.
Other landscaping tips:

  —Install wood decking or bricks or
interlocking stones instead of
impervious cement walkways.
  —Install gravel trenches along
driveways or patios to collect water
and allow it to filter into the ground.
  —Restore bare patches in your lawn
as soon as possible to avoid erosion.
  —Grade all areas away from your
house at a slope of one percent or
• Leave lawn clippings on your lawn
so that nutrients in the clippings are
recycled and less yard waste goes to
• If you elect to use a professional
lawn care service, select a company
that employs trained technicians and
follows practices designed to minimize
the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
• Compost your yard trimmings.
Compost is a valuable soil conditioner
which gradually releases nutrients to
your lawn and garden. (Using compost
will also decrease the amount of
fertilizer you need to apply.) In
addition, compost retains moisture in
the soil and thus helps you conserve
• Spread mulch on bare ground to
help prevent erosion and runoff.
• Test your soil be/ore applying
fertilizers. Over-fertilization is a
common problem, and the excess can
leach into ground water or
contaminate rivers or lakes. Also,
avoid using fertilizers  near surface
waters. Use slow-release fertilizers on
areas where the potential for water
contamination is high, such as sandy
soils, steep slopes, compacted soils,
and verges of water bodies. Select the
proper season to apply fertilizers:
Incorrect timing may encourage weeds
or stress grasses. Do not  apply
pesticides or fertilizers before or
during rain due to the strong
likelihood of runoff.
• Calibrate your applicator before
applying pesticides or fertilizers. As
equipment ages, annual adjustments
may be needed.

• Keep storm gutters and drains clean
of leaves and  yard trimmings.
(Decomposing vegetative matter
leaches nutrients and can clog storm
systems and result in flooding.)

Septic Systems
Improperly maintained septic systems
can contaminate ground  water and
surface water with nutrients and
pathogens. By following  the
recommendations below, you can help
ensure that your system continues to
function properly.
• Inspect your septic system annually.
• Pump out your septic  system
regularly.  (Pumping out every three to
five years is recommended for a
three-bedroom house with a
1,000-gallon tank; smaller tanks should
be pumped more often.)
• Do not use  septic  system additives.
There is no scientific evidence that
biological and chemical additives aid
or accelerate decomposition in septic
tanks; some additives may in fact be
detrimental to the septic system or
contaminate ground water.
• Do not divert stormdrains or
basement pumps into septic systems.
• Avoid or reduce the use of your
garbage disposal. (Garbage disposals
contribute unnecessary solids to your
septic system and can also increase the
frequency your tank needs to be
• Don't use toilets as trash cans!
Excess solids  may clog your drainfield
and necessitate more frequent
                                                                                                   EPA JOURNAL

Water Conservation
Homeowners can significantly reduce
the volume of wastewater discharged
to home septic systems and sewage
treatment plants by conserving water.
If you have a septic system, by
decreasing your water usage, you can
help prevent your system from
overloading and contaminating ground
water and surface water. (Seventy-five
percent of drainfield failures are due to
hydraulic overloading.)
• Use low-flow faucets, shower heads,
reduced-flow toilet flushing
equipment, and water saving
appliances such as dish and clothes
washers. (See table on water savings
possible with conservation devices.)
• Repair leaking faucets,  toilets, and
• Use dishwashers and clothes
washers only when fully  loaded.
• Take short showers instead of baths
and avoid letting faucets run
• Wash your car only when necessary;
use a bucket to save water.
Alternatively, go to a commercial
carwash that uses water efficiently and
disposes of runoff properly.
• Do not over-water your lawn or
garden. Over-watering may increase
leaching of fertilizers  to ground water.
• When your lawn or garden needs
watering, use slow-watering techniques
such as trickle irrigation  or soaker
hoses. (Such devices reduce runoff and
are 20-percent more effective than
 Other Areas Where
 You Can Make a Difference

 •  Clean up after your pets. Pet waste
 contains nutrients and pathogens that
 can contaminate surface water.
 •  Drive only when necessary. Driving
 less reduces the amount of pollution
 your  automobile generates.
 Automobiles emit tremendous amounts
of airborne pollutants, which increase
acid rain; they also deposit toxic
metals and petroleum byproducts into
the environment. Regular tuneups and
inspections can help keep automotive
waste and byproducts from
contaminating runoff. Clean up any
spilled automobile fluids.
• Recycle used oil and antifreeze by
taking them to service stations and
other recycling centers. Never put used
oil  or other chemicals down
stormdrains or in drainage ditches.
(One  quart of oil can contaminate up
to two million gallons of drinking
Community Action
• Participate in clean-up activities in
your neighborhood.
• Write or call your elected
representatives to inform them about
your concerns and encourage
legislation to protect water resources.
• Get involved in local planning and
zoning decisions and encourage your
local officials to develop  erosion and
sediment control ordinances.
• Promote environmental education.
Help educate people in your
community about ways in which they
can help protect water quality. Get
your community groups involved.

  For more information on how you
can help, contact your
  State Water Quality Coordinator
  or Local Cooperative Extension
  Officer.   Q
                                        Editor's note: A useful booklet entitled
                                        Handle with Care: Your Guide to
                                        Preventing Water Pollution (Terrene
                                        Institute, 1991; v  4- 36 pages) is
                                        available from  the Terrene Institute;
                                        1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite
                                        802; Washington, DC  20036; phone:
                                        (202) 833-8317; FAX:  (202] 466-8554.
                                        Copies are $9.95 each; quantity
                                        discounts available on request.  (A
                                        catalogue of other Terrene Institute
                                        publications is available free of
   Examples of Savings
   with Water-Saving Fixtures/Devices
Shower head
clothes washer
Gallons Water Savers**

shower head
Faucet-flow control aerators
clothes washer
   *Toilets: gallons per flush.
    Shower heads, faucets: gallons per minute.
    Clothes washer: gallons per use
   * "Installation of all these devices should reduce water use
   by about 35%.
   Source: Pennsylvania State Special Circular No. 302

A  Lesson   Plan
on  NFS
 Investigating the demise
 of Chesa Peake.
Staging a
Coroner's Inquest

This is an investigation into the
reported "death" of Chesa Peake. Key
to the inquest will be the autopsy
report, which consists of a brief
description of the condition of the
water "body" together with a map of
the Chesapeake Bay Drainage Basin.
 A Coroner is a public officer (usually
a medical specialist) who is charged
with determining the cause of any
death not obviously due to natural
causes. He or she may call an inquest,
or official hearing, into the cause of
death and in doing so may call
witnesses and elicit testimony. The
final cause of death is then determined
by the coroner following an
examination of all relevant evidence. A
jury may assist.
                                   Note to Teachers:

                                   This activity is a takeoff on the recent
                                   popular TV series "Twin Peaks." By
                                   doing a bit of extra research, teachers
                                   may adapt this concept to localities
                                   other than the Chesapeake Bay
                                   region—perhaps a nearby river, lake,
                                   or estuary. Jt is strongly suggested that
                                   the  class arrive at a working definition
                                   of nonpoint-source pollution before
                                   beginning this activity. The
                                   introductory articles about
nonpoint-source pollution in this issue
of EPA Journal can provide grist for
class discussion.
 For the purpose of staging an
inquest, assign a role to each student
in your class—or, better yet, have
them pick their own  roles if they have
strong preferences. Jury selection is
strongly recommended if your class is
large enough; still other students can
be witnesses or concerned citizen
spectators (possibly demonstrators?].
The most difficult roles, however, are
those of the Coroner  and the members
of the Coroner's Investigating Team.
                                                                    Autopsy Report on
                                                                    Ms. Chesa Peake
                                                                    Age: Eons old
                                                                    Size: 193 miles long by 3 to 25 miles
                                                                    wide, the largest inlet in the United
                                                                    States' Atlantic coast

Close Relatives: Emptying basin of the
Susquehanna, James,York,
Rappahannock, Potomac, Patuxent,
Wicornico, Nanticoke, Choptank, and
Chester Rivers; major port, Baltimore
Offspring: Home to alewives, croakers,
shad, oyster, and crab, as well as huge
quantities of duck, heron, and other
wildlife—all in diminishing supply
since the 1970s
Personal History: After being pristine
and incredibly abundant for centuries,
bountiful home to  Indians, commercial
fisheries and recreational users, Ms.
Peake took a turn for the worse in the
1970s when residential and industrial
development near her shorelines led to
significant  pollution of her bay by
sewage, industrial wastes, and
nonpoint-source sediments from
nearby farms and urban facilities.
Recreational use and commercial
fishery yields continued to decline in
the 1980s until major environmental
initiatives were undertaken to turn the
  The question to be considered at the
inquest  is, Who (almost) killed Chesa
Peake? Was it treated and untreated
sewage? Was it industrial point
sources? Or was it  nonpoint-source
pollution? Or some combination of the

Dramatis Personae

The following list of characters can be
adapted as  appropriate to fit class size1
The Coroner: The leader of the inquest,
Mr. or Ms. Coroner
The Investigating Team: Three or four
students with names like Sherlock
Holmes, Hercule Poirot,  Jane Marple,
and Nero Wolfe
Albert Auto: Automobile Owner
Gus Gas: Filling Station  Operator
Barney Boatowner: Pleasure Boat
Wally Waterman: Commercial
Mary Mayor: Town Mayor
Brenda Bureaucrat: Federal
Government Official
Boyce Bureaucrat: State  Government

 Runoff from parking lots is just
 one of many sources of nonpoint
 pollution. Take a look around a
 parking lot near your school or
 home. What pollutants might be
 washed away with the next
 rainstorm or snowmelt?
Belinda Bureaucrat: Local Government
Frieda Farmer: Livestock Owner
Sally Soybean: Crop Farmer
Buddy Builder: Housing Developer

Martina Marina: Boat Marina Owner
Teddy Timberman: Commercial Logger
Freddy Freight: Owner, Commercial
Malcolm Miner: Strip Miner
Lydia Lawnservice: Owner of
Lawn-Service Business
Barbara Bayside: Another Bay Area
Veronica and Virgil Voter: Concerned
Getting Started

The Coroner presides at the inquest.
Witnesses should be sworn in when
called to the witness stand for
questioning. The Coroner should begin
the inquest by reading the autopsy
report stating the facts known to be
related to the death of the victim.
  Each student should be encouraged
to live his or her role. Costumes would
help. It is especially important,
however, for each student to research
his or her own role by carefully
reading the appropriate article in EPA
Journal (the teacher may need to help
determine which article is appropriate
for which particular role). Students
should be prepared to answer
questions related to two major areas:
• How might your character's actions
have contributed to the death of Chesa
• What action or actions can your
character take  to change those
  The Coroner and the members of the
Investigating Team need to research
the appropriate articles for a/1
characters so that they can subpoena
and question everyone intelligently.
(The teacher may need to help them
divide up this work.) A  list of
questions should be prepared for each
witness  ahead of time.
              Continued on next page

Additional Activities

Classes with additional time and
interest may wish to try some of these
related activities:
• Organize a field trip to a  nearby
stream, lake, or bay  known  to be
suffering from nonpoint source
pollution problems. Have students take
notes on  their observations  and  make
reports afterward.
• Monitor the quality of your local
body of water by using water and soil
testing kits. Compare your results with
those of your local water board  or

• What is the biggest  nonpoint  source
pollution problem in your locality?
Survey neighbors and public officials
to find out their views and  compile a
top 10 (or a top 5) list. Consider how
these problems  might be addressed by
your local governing body.Invite one of
your local officials to  your class to
discuss your findings.
• Create  several audio or videotaped
Public Service Announcements  (PSAs)
addressing the problem  of nonpoint
source pollution in  your locality. Ask

local radio or TV stations to use these
in an effort to create public awareness.

•  Create entries in the diary of a
waterman or other figure whose life
has been impacted by the adverse
changes in a local body of water.
•  Write a speech to be delivered
before your  local governing body or
your school board. In this speech, you
should discuss the problems of
nonpoint-source pollution in your
community  and  suggest possible
actions to be taken.

•  Adopt-a-stream in your locality by
contacting your local water
management officials. Choose an area
of a stream,  lake, river, or bay, and
begin a regular clean-up program. Find
out how it becomes polluted, and try
to come up with ways to prevent its
future contamination.
•  Start a program in your area to mark
storm drains with flags or signs so as
to draw community attention to their
location and their environmental
significance. This is an important
public awareness project. It helps
educate the  public and acts as a
deterrent to  direct dumping of
pollutants. Warning: Remove markings
before they become unsightly eyesores.

"Chesapeake Bay," Encyclopedia
EPA Journal, November/December
1991.  (Obtain from the EPA Public
Information Center: (202) 260-2080.)
"Baybook: A Cuide to Reducing Water
Pollution at Home," prepared by a
consortium of organizations and
funded by EPA. (Obtain by writing the
Citizens' Program for the Chesapeake
Bay, Inc., Suite  100, 6600 York Road,
Baltimore, MD 21212; phone: (301)
377-6270.  First copy is free; additional
copies at $1 each. It's  okay to xerox
the "Baybook" for students.)
"Chesapeake Bay Restoration:
Innovations at the Local Level,"
prepared by the Chesapeake Bay Local
Government Advisory Committee. (Call
(202)  962-3360 or write Eric Jenkins,
779 N. Capitol Street NE, Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20002, for free
"Nonpoint Source Pollution: Land Use
and Water Quality," prepared by the
Washington County Project with funds
from EPA, Region 5. (For information
about obtaining copies, phone Louise
Ollarvia, EPA Region 5 Publications
Specialist, at (312) 353-6198.)
"Pointless Pollution," a videotape
narrated by Walter Cronkite and
produced by the Lower Colorado River
Authority. (Contact Bullfrog
Productions, 1 (800) 543-FROG, for
copies at $250 apiece.) a
                                                                            Acknowledgement: 7'eachers Sue
                                                                            fiafferty, Anne A/exiou, and Fran
                                                                            Earle of Yorktown High School in
                                                                            ArJington, Virginia, worked with EPA
                                                                            Journal staff to prepare this feature.
                                                                                                   EPA JOURNAL

of   Pinchot
by Jack Lewis
Gifford Pinchot
  (Lewis is an assistant editor of EPA
L_| e was considered a kind of
   • walking, talking Johnny
Appleseed, an intelligent, sparing Paul
Bunyan, a noble forester who almost
singlehandedly popularized the
concept of conservation in the United
States. To be sure, he built on firm
groundwork laid by Thoreau, Muir,
and other environmental pioneers, and
he was greatly helped in every way by
his friend, Theodore Roosevelt. By the
time Gifford Pinchot died in 1946, he
had lived to see his ideals widely
embraced by the public and
thoroughly institutionalized at both the
federal and state levels of government.
Some sources even credit Pinchot with
coining the term "conservation" itself.
He always had a way with words: He
dubbed unsightly signs and billboards
"highway halitosis."
  According to novelist Owen Wister,
Pinchot's eyes "look as if they gaze
upon a Cause," as  indeed they did,
and those eyes were an uncommonly
handsome sky-blue. They had
competition in the form of an
overgrown handlebar moustache,
which drooped down over a mouth
never known to touch liquor or
tobacco.  Always athletic, Pinchot stood
a lean and muscular six foot one,
hardly surprising in a man who once
played six straight sets of tennis with
Teddy Roosevelt, then ran a footrace
with the President to the White House.
(History  does not record  who won.)
  Pinchot began the  Forest Service
with a staff of 10 people  and a budget
of $4,133, at a time when the entire
federal bureaucracy totaled 17,000
people (it now employs over three
million); 17,000 is the current
population of EPA alone.
  Pinchot and others of the National
Forest Commission took an inspection
tour of western forests in 1896. Famed
naturalist, John Muir, traveled  with
  "At long last I met the
Commission—Sargent, Brewer, Hague,
and Abbot—at Belton, Montana, on
July 16. To my great delight, John Muir
was with them. In his late fifties, tall,
thin, cordial, and a most fascinating
talker, I took to him at once. It amazed
me to learn that he never carried even
a fishhook with him on his solitary
explorations. He said fishing wasted
too much time . . .
  "From Oregon I headed for the
California Sierras, where Colonel S. B.
M. Young, from his carnp at Wawona,
sent me with a pack outfit to the
Tuolumne Meadows, from which
enchanting spot I made my solitary
way to the top of Mt. Dana and saw
the glorious chain of the Sierras
tumbling like granite waves from south
to north, and wearing about its middle
a girdle of green trees. There are some
sights you never forget.
  "From the Meadows my way led
down Bloody Canyon and by wagon
past the alkali waters of Mono Lake. In
one day the mules I drove behind
made seventy miles. Then to the  little
town of Independence, where I hired a
horse to take me and my pack up the
long grade to and through the
Keersarge Pass, and a man on another
horse to lead him home. (Years
afterward a pass and a peak were
named for me just here or hereabouts.)
At Bullfrog Lake I made my first camp,
and the next day, pack on back, started
down King's River  . . .
  "At Millville, outside the Sierra
Forest  Reserve, I ran into the gigantic
and gigantically wasteful lumbering of
the great Sequoias,  many of whose
trunks were so huge they had to be
blown apart before  they could be
handled. I resented then, and I still
resent, the practice of making vine
stakes hardly bigger than walking
sticks out of these  greatest of living
  "All in all, it was a journey beyond
my power to describe—from bare rocks

and snowdrifts and glacial lakes and
wind-twisted Pines and Cedars at
timber line down to magnificent huge
Sequoias and Sugar and Ponderosa
Pines and Firs and Incense Cedars,
down again to Digger Pines and out
into the chaparral, and so at last to the
vines and orchards of  the San Joaquin
Valley around Visalia.
  "From Los Angeles the Commission
took a look at the San  Bernardino
Mountains, already reserved, and the
San Jacintos, which were to be. Next
came Flagstaff, and the great Coconino
Forest, still to be saved, at least in
part. At the Grand Canyon, by this
time,  a sort of tent hotel offered a
place to sleep and eat.
  "While the others drove through the
woods to a 'scenic point' and back
again, with John Muir I spent an
unforgettable day on the rim of the
prodigious chasm, letting it soak in. I
remember that at first  we mistook for
rocks the waves of rapids in the
mud-laden Colorado, a mile below us.
And when we came across a tarantula
he wouldn't let me kill it. He said it
had as much right there as we did.
  "Muir was a storyteller in a million.
For weeks I had been trying to make
him tell me the tale of his adventure
with a dog and an Alaskan glacier,
afterward printed under the title of
Stickeen. If I could get him alone at a
campfire— We had left from our
lunches a hard-boiled  egg and one
small sandwich apiece, and water
enough in our canteens. Why go back
to the hotel?
  "That, it developed, suited Muir as
much as it did me. So we made our
beds of Cedar boughs  in a thick stand
that kept the wind away, and there he
talked until midnight. It was such an
evening as I have never had before or
Pinchot was helped
in everyway by his
   friend Theodore
  Roosevelt. In this
  1907 photo, (hey
        cruise the
  Mississippi River
 to promote inland

  "That night it froze, but the fire kept
us from freezing. In the early morning
we sneaked back like guilty
schoolboys, well knowing that we
must reckon with the other members
of [our party], who probably imagined
we had fallen over a cliff. They had
done just that, and they told us what
they thought of us with clarity and
conviction." {Breaking  New Ground,
1947, p.  103)

  Ahead of his time in this as  in so
much else, Pinchot  regarded pollution
prevention as an integral part of
  ". . . conservation stands for the
prevention of waste. There has come
gradually in this country an
understanding that waste is not a good
                                         Forest Service Collection. \otionaJ Agricultural Library.
thing and that the attack on waste is
an industrial necessity. I recall very
well indeed how, in the early days of
forest fires, they were considered
simply and solely as acts  of God,
against which any opposition was
hopeless and any attempt to  control
them not merely hopeless but childish.
It was assumed that they came in the
natural order of things, as inevitably as
the seasons or the rising and setting of
the sun. Today we understand that
forest fires are wholly within the
control of men. So we are coming in
like manner to understand that the
prevention  of waste in all other
directions is a simple matter of good
business. The first duty of the human
race is  to control the earth it lives
                                                                                                     EPA JOURNAL

  "We are in a position more and more
completely to say how far the waste
and destruction of natural resources
are to be allowed to go on and where
they are to stop. It is curious that the
effort to stop waste, like the effort to
stop forest fires, has often been
considered as a matter controlled
wholly by economic law. I think there
could be no greater mistake. Forest
fires were allowed to burn long after
the people had means to stop them.
The idea that men were helpless in the
face of them held long after the time
had  passed when the means of control
were fully within our reach. It is the
old story that 'as a man thinketh, so is
he'; we came to see that we could stop
forest fires, and we found that the
means had long been at hand. When at
length we came to see that the control
of logging in certain directions was
profitable, we found it had long been
possible. In all these matters of waste
of natural resources, the education of
the people to understand that they can
stop the  leakage comes before the
actual stopping and after the means of
stopping it have long been ready  at our
hands." (The Fight for Conservation,
1910, pp. 34-5)

  Pinchot never stated his central
vision more  precisely and more
eloquently than in this passage:
  "The central thing for which
Conservation stands is to make this
country the best possible place to live
in, both for us and for our
descendants. It stands against the
waste of the natural resources which
cannot be renewed, such as coal  and
iron; it stands for the perpetuation of
the resources which can be renewed,
such as the food-producing soils and
the  forests; and most of all it stands for
an equal opportunity for every
American citizen to get his fair share
of benefit from these resources, both
now and hereafter.
   "Conservation stands for the same

1865 Pinchot is born August llth
in Connecticut, heir to a New York
dry goods and real-estate fortune.
1889 Graduates from Yaie.
1890 Becomes the first American
to receive formal  instruction in
forestry when he  studies at the
National School of Waters and
Forests, in Nancy, France.
1892 Introduces America's first
systematic forest  management
practices to North Carolina's
Biltmore forest.
1896 He is appointed to the
National Forest Commission by the
National Academy of Sciences; the
Commission's recommendations
lead to passage in 1897  of the
Forest Reserve Act, calling for the
designation and protection of
America's national forests.
1898 Becomes Chief Forester,
Division of Forestry, United States
Department of Agriculture, which
he administers until 1910. (It
assumes its current name, the U.S.
Forest Service, in 1905.) During
Pinchot's administration, the
national forests increase in acreage
from 51 million to 175 million.
 1900 Founds Yale's School of
 Forestry and the  Society of
 American Foresters.
 1910 He is fired  from the Forest
 Service by President Taft for
 publicly clashing with Interior
 Secretary Richard A. Ballinger on
 issues of water conservation in the
 state of Washington; organizes and
 becomes President of the National
 Conservation Association,
 intended to keep the conservation
 cause moving forward;  publishes
 The Fight for Conservation
 (Pinchot also published five other
 books during his lifetime.)
 1931-35 Serves as Republican
 Governor of Pennsylvania; during
 his first term, 1923-27,  he founds
 the nation's first anti-pollution
 agency, the Sanitary Water Board.
 He is quoted as saying, "I have
 been a governor  now and then, but
 I am a forester all of the time."
 1946 He dies October 4th, at age
kind of practical common-sense
management of this country by the
people that every business man stands
for in the handling of his own
business. It believes in prudence and
foresight instead of reckless blindness;
it holds that resources now public
property should not become the basis
for oppressive private monopoly; and
it demands the complete and orderly
development of all our resources for
the benefit of all the people, instead of
the partial exploitation of them for the
benefit of a few. It recognizes fully the
right of the present generation to use
what it needs and all it needs of the
natural resources now available, but it
recognizes equally our obligation so to
use what we need that our
descendants shall not be deprived of
what they need." (The Fight for
Conservation, p. 79)

  Pinchot, in effect, stumbled on his
own epitaph during his  early years as
a forester in North Carolina:
  The North Carolina mountain people
"had no newspapers and few books
except the Bible. But a sentence
written by one of them I shall never
forget. Riding a saddle mule one day
between Biltmore and the Pink Beds
and meditating generally on the state
of the nation, I came to  a little house
with a fence around it and a tombstone
inside the fence. I rode over to look at
it. On the stone, under a man's name,
was this, 'He left this country better
than he found it.' No man ever earned
a finer epitaph." (Breaking New
Ground, p. 62)

   Under the auspices of the
 Environmental Education Act of 1990,
 EPA's Administrator, sometime in
 1992, will present the first Gifford
 Pinchot Prize "in recognition of
 outstanding contributions to education
 and training concerning forestry and
 natural resource management,
 including multiple use  and sustained
 yield land management." a

Space   in
the  Cause
 Satellite  measures
 ozone depletion.
 by Alan B. Nichols
    So long as the ozone hole stayed
    over Antarctica, the problem of
 stratospheric ozone depletion seemed
 fairly remote. But last spring, the
 National Aeronautics and Space
 Administration (NASA) announced
 that the ozone layer, which shields life
 on Earth from the Sun's harmful
 ultraviolet radiation, is thinning over
 the mid-latitudes. More disturbing
 news: The ozone layer over the United
 States has been depleted 4 to 5 percent
 since 1978. By EFA estimates, this
 could mean 200,000 more deaths from
 skin cancer in the United States over
 the next 50 years.
   Responding to  the new NASA data,
 EPA quickly came out  in favor of
 stronger national and international
 action. On April  4, Administrator
 William Reilly said more had to be
 done "to assist developing countries
 and to bring ozone-safe substitutes on
 line." Then, on September 19, the
 Agency proposed that U.S. companies
 phase out all production and imports
 of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and
 other ozone-depleting chemicals by the
 year 2000, in accordance with the  1990
 amendments to the Montreal Protocol.
   EFA's response has not stopped  at
 making proposals. A three-year, $200
 (Nichols is a writer for the Water
 Environment Federation.)
million multinational fund has been
set up under the Protocol to which the
United States will contribute some $50
million. EPA has been helping a
number of countries, including
Mexico, Egypt, and Ecuador, develop
proposals for projects that could be
eligible for grants from this fund.
  Also, EPA co-chairs one of three
international assessment panels
studying the economic, technical,
scientific, and environmental aspects
of upper atmospheric ozone depletion.
The panels' reports will provide the
basis for the development  of
recommendations on further controls
to be considered at the 1992 meeting
of the Protocol parties in Copenhagen,
  Meanwhile, EPA scientists are
working with their counterparts at
NASA and other federal agencies to
solve the mystery of ozone depletion
worldwide. EPA is  providing NASA
with pollutant emissions trends data
that are being incorporated into the
computer models used to predict
future atmospheric effects. Scientists
generally agree on the mechanisms of
ozone loss at work  in the South Pole.
However, these  mechanisms may not
be the same over the industrial globe.
To dispel uncertainties, more
comprehensive  data are needed on the
processes involved.
  Enter the Upper Atmosphere
Research Satellite (UARS). On
September 15, 1991, astronauts aboard
the space shuttle Discovery deployed
this very special orbiter, whose
deployment kicks off "Mission to
Planet Earth," NASA's long-term global
climate research program.  Scientists
heralded the deployment with
superlatives, calling the UARS "a giant
laboratory experiment in the sky"  that
will deliver "a world of new
  The UARS technology is undeniably
dazzling. The project represents a
major advance in the evolution of
remote sensing technology. Until  now,
atmospheric ozone was tracked by a
few instruments including the Total
Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS),
which flies aboard  the satellite
NIMBUS-7. Scientists speak glowingly
of TOMS, which generated spectacular
images of the Antarctic ozone hole and
provided the evidence of mid-latitude
thinning. However, TOMS cannot
show variations of  ozone
concentrations at different altitudes—a
critical weakness since ozone is not
distributed uniformly in the
atmosphere. TOMS cannot monitor the
different chemical processes that
occur, nor can it monitor winds or
energy input, two factors that
influence chemical distribution and
catalyze the chemical reactions that
cause ozone depletion.
  The UARS, equipped with
multimillion dollar instruments that
can perform three kinds of
measurements simultaneously, is
designed to fill these data gaps. It will
measure key parameters of some 18
man-made and natural chemical
species in three-dimensional space. It
will monitor winds, temperature, and
other dynamic factors that influence
the concentrations and distribution of
chemicals in the atmosphere. And  it
will measure solar ultraviolet radiation
and the flux of solar charged
particles—both sources of energy
which catalyze atmospheric chemistry.
In addition to these ozone-related
investigations, an  instrument aboard
the UARS monitors total solar
irradiation in connection with NASA's
global climate change research.
  The UARS mission is to better
understand energy input, global
photochemistry, and the dynamics in
the upper atmosphere, the coupling
among these processes, and the
coupling between the upper and lower
  The UARS has been set in a
600-kilometer, non-sun-synchronous
orbit with an inclination of 57° to the
equator. In addition, the instruments'
angle of sight extends an  additional
23° higher in latitude, resulting in
coverage of virtually the entire globe.
UARS will provide data from its full
instrument complement for 20 months,
covering two complete winters in the
northern hemisphere. It will generate
measurements simultaneously and
continuously over the full range of
local times at all geographic locations
every 36 days. This will yield what
UARS program manager Michael
Luther calls a "snapshot of the Earth  in
three-dimensional space."
  The UARS measurements are being
sent to several relay satellites, which
transmit the data to NASA's receiving
station in White Sands, New Mexico.
From there, the data are transmitted
over phone lines to Goddard Space
                                                                                             EPA JOURNAL

Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland,
where computers make digital
conversions that yield charts, graphs,
and maps. Researchers will use these
data in their computer models to
improve the predictability of ozone
  Ironically enough, in the lower
atmosphere, ozone (O:1) is a pollutant
that can cause severe respiratory and
other health problems. In the upper
atmosphere, its effect is benevolent:
Ozone filters most of the Sun's
ultraviolet radiation, which in
excessive amounts or under prolonged
exposure causes skin cancer and
disrupts plant photosynthesis. Ozone
is continuously being created and
destroyed naturally,  but man-made
chemicals in the atmosphere have
tipped the natural balance, according
to Luther. Without the stratospheric
ozone shield, life as  we know it could
not exist.
  Ozone depletion occurs when solar
radiation dissociates CFCs to form  free
chlorine atoms, or when  methane and
nitrous oxide react in the atmosphere
to form other free radicals, creating
molecules with an odd number of
electrons. These "radicals" react  with
ozone to convert atomic, oxygen (O)
and ozone into molecular oxygen (O2),
which does  not filter ultra-violet rays.
The radical survives the conversion
     (JARS will send back data from the
     northern hemisphere for two
     complete winters.
and moves on to initiate successive
reactions. Source molecules have
extremely long residence times in the
atmosphere (up to 100 years),
accumulating in the troposphere and
then migrating to the stratosphere. Free
radicals of chlorine or nitrogen oxides
can destroy thousands of ozone
  Scientists believe that other
atmospheric ingredients like
solar-charged particles and sulfur
aerosols from volcanic eruptions may
accelerate ozone depletion. Data from
the UARS investigations are expected
to help clarify the relative roles of
man-made and natural influences on
  Stratospheric ozone depletion was
first detected in 1985 by a British team
stationed in Antarctica using
ground-based measurements.
Meanwhile, TOMS had been in orbit
since  1978 and was generating
enormous amounts of data. Review of
these  data after the British discovery
indicated that the ozone hole was not
just over the British Antarctic station,
but was a continental phenomenon.
                              NASA photo.

  The polar ozone hole was relatively
easy to see, but detecting clear
indications of mid-latitude thinning
has been much more difficult.
Moreover, scientists are puzzled
because the same chemical and
meteorological conditions that prevail
in the Antarctic are not present in the
northern latitudes.
  A current explanation of Antarctic
ozone loss is that during the long, cold
dark winter, free radicals combine
with reservoir or sink molecules,
which occur naturally in the
stratosphere and include nitric acid
and hydrochloric acid. Ice clouds in
the polar stratosphere catalyze
chemical reactions that liberate the
free radicals from the bond to do  their
destructive work on ozone. However, it
takes sunlight to trigger the
ozone-depleting reactions. This
explains why  the ozone hole is
seasonal, taking place in the austral
spring when the Sun reemorges over
the continent.
  In the northern latitudes, the
composition and frequency of clouds
are quite different, and the polar
vortex, which  sustains the extremely
cold temperatures longer over the
South Pole, is  far less stable.
Scientists, therefore, conclude that
mid-latitude ozone thinning is caused
by a more complex set  of influences, u

Former New Jersey
Prosecutor Herbert H.
Tate, Jr., has been selected
as EPA's new Assistant
Administrator for
  Tate was appointed in
1986 by former New Jersey
Governor Thomas H.  Kean
to a five-year term as Essex
County Prosecutor. During
this period, he developed
criminal  processing
procedures that have
efficiently handled over
30,000 adult criminal
cases and 15,000 juvenile
delinquency cases.
  He began his law career
at the Essex County
Prosecutor's Office as an
assistant  prosecutor from
1979 until 1983. There  he
set criminal-law
enforcement policies  for
municipal Youth Aid
Bureaus and developed
enforcement programs for
assistant  prosecutors  and
municipal police officers.
He also directed the
Juvenile Trial Sec!ion,
managing juvenile
delinquency cases.
  Prior to his position as
country prosecutor, Tate
established a private
practice in 1985  that
specialized in federal and
state criminal defense,
probate and estate matters,
and environmental law.
The last focused on
matters related to New
Jersey's  Environmental
Clean-up Responsibility
Act and resource recovery
  Tate received a B.A. in
American history and
government from
Wesleyan University  in
1975 and earned a J.D.
from Rutgers University in
Richard A. Cantor has
been appointed Deputy
Associate Administrator
for the Office of Regional
Operations and State/Local
Relations (OROSLR). He is
also serving as Acting
Associate Administrator
  Cantor came to EPA in
1991 as Special Assistant
to the Associate
Administrator of OROSLR,
leaving the Urban Mass
Administration at the U.S.
Department of
Transportation. As an
attorney-advisor in the
Office of the Chief
Counsel, his
responsibilities focused
primarily on legislative
and regulatory matters.  He
worked on  the
reauthori/ation legislation
and directed the
rulemaking for
Congressionally mandated
bus-testing procedures.
  From 1982 until  1986,
Cantor was Executive
Director and General
Counsel of the Oil
Investment Institute, a
national trade association
concerned with federal  tax
issues as they affect capital
formation  in the energy
industry. While managing
the Institute and
representing its interests
before Congress, he
participated in the tax
reform efforts of the
  He received his B.A.
from Tulane University in
1972, worked on Capitol
Hill for two years, and was
later a founder and
treasurer of an
independent political
action committee. In 1979
he received a J.D. from the
Northeastern University
School of Law.
Earl Devaney has been
named Director of the
Office of Criminal
Enforcement. He came to
EPA from the U.S. Secret
Service, where his last
assignment was Special
Agent in charge of the
Fraud Division.
  Devaney  has an
extensive criminal
investigative history with
the Secret Service dating
back to 1971. For eight
years he served as a
Special Agent in the
Buffalo and Chicago Field
Offices. He then became a
Senior Course Instructor in
the Service's Training
Division in 1979, a
position he held until
  The next three years he
spent in Las Vegas,
Nevada, as  the Resident
Agent in Charge. He later
became Assistant to the
Special Agent in charge  of
the Los Angeles Field
  He returned to
Washington in 1987 to
serve for a year as the
Deputy Special  Agent in
charge of the  1988
Campaign Operations
Branch. After the election,
he was promoted to
Special Agent in charge  of
the Office of
  Devaney  is the recipient
of four Treasury
Department Special
Achievement Awards. He
received a B.A.  in
Government from Franklin
and Marshall College in
Scott C. Fulton has been
named the new Deputy
Assistant Administrator for
the Office of Enforcement.
Prior to his appointment,
Fulton served as the
Director of the Office of
Civil Enforcement. He
came to EPA in 1990 as a
Senior Enforcement
  Prior to joining EPA,
Fulton served eight years
with the Department of
Justice in the
Enforcement Section,
Environment and Natural
Resources Division. He
was an Assistant Section
Chief from 1986 until
1990, a  senior attorney
from 1985 to 1986, and a
trial attorney from 1982
until 1985. He also served
as a Special Assistant  with
the Washington, DC U.S.
Attorney's Office in 1984.
   Fuiton earned a B.A. in
Business Management
from the University of
Massachusetts in 1976. In
1982 he graduated with
honors from the University
of South Carolina's School
of Law, where he served as
the Associate Editor-in-
Chief of the Law Review.
Buck Wynne has been
nominated to be the new
Regional Administrator for
Region 6, the Agency's
Dallas office which
oversees EPA's activities
in Texas, Louisiana,
Arkansas, New Mexico,
and Oklahoma.
  Since 1987, Wynne was
a member of the Texas
Water Commission, the
principal environmental
regulatory body in Texas.
He chaired the
three-member commission
from 1988 to 1991. The
commission has more than
1,000 employees, a budget
of $62 million, and
jurisdiction over several
state and federal
environmental programs.
These include hazardous
and solid waste
management, Superfund
cleanups, surface and
ground-water protection,
and enforcement.
  Before his appointment
to the commission, Wynne
was Legislative Counsel to
the Governor's office in
Austin,  Texas (January
1987  to  August  1987), and
before that, a legislative
assistant in the Governor's
office (1978 to 1981). He
practiced law with the
firm  of Shank, Irwin, and
Conant from 1984 to 1986.
  Wynne earned a B.S.  in
biology  from Tulane
University in 1978 and  a
J.D. from Southern
Methodist University in
1984. D
  (As the Journal went to
press, Laurie Goodman
was recommended by
Administrator Reilly to be
Associate Administrator
for OROSLR. Ms.
Goodman's most recent
position was legislative
assistant and assistant
administrative assistant to
Senator Alan Simpson
(R-Wyoming). More on the
selection will be in the
next issue.)
                                                                                                                 EPA JOURNAL


In landmark legislation, Congress has called
for a stronger federal role regarding
nonpoint-source pollution of coastal waters.
Under the 1990 amendments to the  Coastal
Zone Act, affected states will be required to
have federally approved programs for
coastal nonpoint pollution control.
Back cover: Livestock farming contributes to
nonpoint-source pollution in a number of
ways. What's wrong with this picture?
Photo by Grant Heilman for Grant Heilman
Photography, Inc.