The material provided in this report is to give guidance where
needed to State, regional and local planners responsible for preparing
environmental assessments in basin, metropolitan, and regional water
quality management plans required by 18CFR601.32-33 and consistent
with the Water Quality Management Planning Guidelines.
APRIL 1972

Water Quality Management Planning
This report was prepared by:
Columbus Laboratories
505 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43201
Contract # 68-01-0172
Washington, D. C. 20460
April 1972

This report was written by Dr. Norbert Dee and Dr. Neil L. Drobny. In addition to the
authors, the following individuals made significant contributions to conceptualizing the informa-
tion presented: Miss Janet K. Baker, Dr. Kenneth M. Duke, Mr. David C. Fahringer, Miss
Kathleen S. Keller, Dr. John T. McGinnis, and Dr. Ira L. Whitman.

Intent 		2
Scope		5
Results		7
Environmental Components		11
Environmental Interactions		18
Environmental Parameter List	20
Figure 1. Relationship of Environmental Assessment to Water Quality Management
Planning		9
Figure 2. Environmental Categories and Components for Environmental
Assessment		12
Figure 3. Environmental Impacts and Interrelationships Associated with Proposed
Construction Activities Resulting from Water Quality Management Plans ....	19
Table 1. Assessment Parameters	21

This report has been prepared to give guidance where needed to State, regional and local
planners responsible for preparing environmental assessments for basin, metropolitan, and re-
gional water quality management plans consistent with the Water Quality Management Planning
Guidelines and as required by 18CFR601.32-33. Specifically, the objectives are to equip the
reader to identify and describe the broad scope of environmental impacts that can result from
water quality management plans. The material presented is based on techniques developed by
Battelle-Columbus for evaluating the environmental effects of water resources planning.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (see Appendix A) requires that all Federal
actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment be accompanied by an
environmental impact statement describing the ways in which the proposed action would affect
the environment. The objective of this Act is to build into Federal Agency decision-making
processes an appropriate and careful consideration of all environmental aspects of proposed
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for preparing environmental impact statements on water
quality management plans and resultant wastewater treatment projects that significantly affect
the environment. To carry out this task, EPA requires that environmental assessments be
prepared for all plans and projects prior to submittal. These assessments are to provide data and
information needed for EPA to develop the required environmental impact statements.
This report describes one method of conceptualizing the environment and is designed to
acquaint planners with the scope of environmental factors that must be considered in evaluating
the impacts of a proposed plan. That is, the report outlines those environmental elements that
should be considered throughout the planning process as required by the Water Quality Manage-
ment Planning Guidelines. If properly prepared, the water quality management plan is, in fact,
the environmental assessment. The environmental conceptualization suggested in this report
should not be construed as a required method for analyzing the environmental effects of a water
quality management plan, but rather should be considered as a helpful guide.
It should be emphasized that environmental considerations must be integrated throughout
the planning process. It is essential from the first stages of water quality management planning
that the full spectrum of both adverse and beneficial impacts likely to result from the plans and
resultant wastewater treatment projects be understood.
At the heart of environmental assessment is the need to take a broad view of the
environment, encompassing physical/chemical, ecological, aesthetic, and social factors. Another
key point is the necessity to consider and evaluate complete packages of feasible alternatives for
meeting stated water quality goals. Evaluation of alternatives is essential in the planning process
to identify the most environmentally acceptable plan. It is not the intent of NEPA that
alternatives be screened solely on the basis of environmental impact, but simply to insure that
environmental amenities are given due consideration along with technical considerations, costs,
and public desires.

The overall goal of environmental assessment, as defined by the National Environmental
Policy Act, is to insure that Federal actions
. . encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment;
to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and
biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of
the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation. .
This chapter discusses the basic intent of the assessment process, the scope of the process,
and how the results of an assessment can be useful to State, regional, and local planners.
The environmental assessment is intended to insure that water-quality-management planning
and related activities contribute to the net well-being of man while minimizing or eliminating
adverse impacts.
Until quite recently, quality of life was interpreted as a function of standard of living as
measured by various economic indicators. It is now evident that quality of life cannot be assured
through increased economic growth alone. To enhance the net well-being of man, environmental
and related social factors must be analyzed before economic development activities proceed.
As stated previously, NEPA requires that environmental impact statements be prepared on
major Federal actions that will have a significant effect on the environment. It is hoped that this
additional dimension of environmental planning will lead to more prudent use of resources and,
consequently, to a higher quality of life. Each impact statement must address the five areas of
concern outlined below; indicated details that must be covered have been excerpted from EPA's
"Procedures for Preparation of Environmental Impact Statements" published in the Federal
Register (40CFR Part 6). Such impact statements will frequently be prepared on water quality
management plans accepted by EPA. Environmental assessments prepared as part of these plans
should address the same concerns required in an impact statement and must identify
(1) Direct Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action
•	All primary and secondary effects, both beneficial and adverse, should be
•	The scope of the description should include both short- and long-term impacts.
•	The analysis should include specifics of the area; the resources involved; physical
changes; alterations to ecological systems; and changes induced by the proposed
action and population distribution, population concentration, and the human
use of land (including commercial and residential developments), and other
aspects of the resource base such as water and public services.
•	The time frames in which these impacts are anticipated should be included.
•	Mention should also be made of remedial, protective, and corrective measures
which will be taken as part of the proposed action should it be implemented.

(2)	Adverse Impacts that Could Not be Avoided Should the Proposal be Implemented
•	A description should be provided of the kinds and magnitude of adverse impacts
which cannot be reduced in severity or which can be reduced to an acceptable
level but not eliminated.
•	For those impacts which cannot be reduced, their implications and the reasons
why the action is being proposed not withstanding their effect should be
described in detail.
•	Where abatement measures can reduce adverse impacts to acceptable levels, the
basis for considering these levels adequate and the effectiveness and costs of the
abatement measures should be specified.
•	In particular, the analysis should detail the aesthetically or culturally valuable
surroundings, human health, standards of living, and other environmental goals
set forth in Section 101(b) of the National Environmental Policy Act.
(3)	Alternatives to the Proposed Action
•	Alternatives to any proposed action which involves significant trade-offs among
uses of available environmental resources should be developed, described, and
objectively weighed.
•	Analyses should be structured in a manner which allows comparisons of environ-
mental cost differences among equally effective alternatives, and differences in
effectiveness among equally costly alternatives.
•	Where practicable, impacts should be quantified or else described qualitatively in
a way which will facilitate an objective judgment of their value.
•	The alternative of taking no action should also be evaluated.
(4)	Relationship Between Local Short-Term Uses of Man's Environment and the
Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-Term Productivity
•	Cumulative and long-term effects of the proposed action which either signif-
icantly reduce or enhance the state of the environment for future generations
should be described.
•	Particularly, the desirability of actions should be weighed to guard against
shortsighted foreclosure of future options or needs.
•	Special attention should be given to effects which narrow the range of beneficial
uses of the environment or pose long-term risks to health or safety.
•	Who is paying "the environmental costs" versus who is gaining the "benefits"
over time should be identified.

•	The reasons the proposed action is believed to be justified now, rather than
reserving the long-term option for other alternatives, including no use, should be
(5) Irreversible and Irretrievable Commitments of Resources Which Would be Involved
in the Proposed Action Should it be Implemented
•	The extent to which the proposed action curtails the diversity and range of
beneficial uses of the environment should be described.
•	Uses of renewable and nonrenewable resources during the initial and continued
phases of the action shall be outlined. In this regard, construction and facility
uses may be irreversible because a large commitment of resources makes removal
or nonuse thereafter unlikely; such primary impacts and particularly, secondary
impacts (e.g., opening areas to further development) generally commit future
generations to similar uses.
•	Irreversible damage which may result from environmental accidents associated
with the action should be considered.
•	Any irretrievable and significant commitments of resources should be evaluated
to assure that such current consumption is justified.
In addition, the environmental assessment should include a discussion of any measures that
have been taken to permit public involvement in the formulation or selection of the proposed
plan, in the identification of any environmentally-based controversies resulting from the plan,
and in their resolution. It should be noted that the above-mentioned EPA "Procedures for
Preparation of Environmental Impact Statements" require that public hearings be held on draft
impact statements where the originating official determines that the action will have a significant
impact on the environment and that a public hearing would facilitate the resolution of conflict
or significant public controversy. Public hearings are also expected to be a routine part of the
planning process.
The advantages of taking the above factors into consideration during the planning process is
that plans can be formulated from the very beginning to minimize adverse environmental effects
and maximize beneficial ones. In addition, plans can be changed most conveniently and eco-
nomically during the initial planning stages.
In the past, public" planning has traditionally operated in an accommodation mode, where
environmental and related social structures were provided to accommodate economic forces. That
is, planning was based around the desires of the population irrespective of adverse ecological and
environmental consequences. The spirit of NEPA, however, suggests that environmental planning
can be used to lead the way to a better quality of life. The premise is that by taking cognizance
of environmental factors in the conceptualization of plan and project alternatives, one can
usually find a way to achieve most objectives while eliminating major adverse impacts or perhaps
even saving money.
In summary, environmental assessments are intended to motivate planners to focus their
efforts on improving quality of life. This can be achieved by identifying and considering

•	Direct environmental impacts of the proposed action
•	Adverse impacts that could not be avoided should the proposed action be
•	Alternatives to the proposed action
•	Relationship between local short-term uses of man's environment and the mainte-
nance and enhancement of long-term productivity
•	Irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in
the proposed action should it be implemented.
The following discussion outlines the broad spectrum of factors related to overall quality of
life likely to be influenced adversely or beneficially by water quality management plans. These
are the factors which, therefore, must be addressed in environmental assessments. It is especially
important to consider indirect impacts outside the water sector.
Consider a hypothetical river basin which has farming as the principal activity, but includes
several small towns and a large metropolitan area. Also in the basin are sizeable land areas used
for recreation, open space, and stone and gravel operations. The metropolitan area has grown 20
percent in the last 10 years and this trend is expected to continue in the near future. Several
large industries are located in the city, and there are immediate plans for developing a new
indusirial park. Some of the existing industries are served by the present municipal waste
treatment system, while others discharge their untreated effluents into the river. Stormwater
runoff is treated in the metropolitan area, but not in any of the small towns.
For illustrative purposes, assume that a basin plan for the entire river basin including the
metropolitan area is to be developed. Under the discussion of alternatives, the plan would
(1)	Treatment of wastes from
•	agricultural activities
•	mining operations
•	municipalities
•	industries
•	stormwater runoff
(2)	Sludge disposal from aH wastes
(3)	Transfer of wastes (treated and untreated) and sludges via water, pipeline, and
(4)	Industrial reuse of treated sewage effluent.

Some of the environmental considerations of this plan might concern
(1)	Growth expected along new interceptor and sewer lines
•	Is the growth compatible with existing land uses?
•	Is the growth socially acceptable in that area?
•	Does the growth overburden services in that area? (water supply, waste treat-
ment, school, police, etc.)
(2)	Waste treatment
•	Does it improve the environmental quality of the basin?
•	Is the dissolved oxygen in the river improved significantly?
•	Is there an improvement in the aquatic ecosystems in the basin?
•	Does the reused water create potential hygienic problems?
(3)	Site location for treatment plants
•	Is the site compatible with adjacent land uses?
•	Does the plant location disrupt the aesthetic composition of the area?
•	Are any individuals relocated?
•	Is the terrestrial ecology disturbed?
(4)	Sludge and solid waste disposal
•	Does incineration of sludge create air pollution problems?
•	Do the spoils from the mining activities affect the aesthetic composition of the
•	Is the soil suitable for sludge disposal?
These questions and many more should be asked concerning the environmental aspects of
an areawide water quallity management plan. As is evident from these illustrative questions,
environmental considerations are diverse, complex, and often interrelated. Therefore, if the
environmental assessments are to be meaningful and to follow the guidelines of NEPA, the
framework for conducting these assessments must be comprehensive, systematic, and
• Comprehensive, because the environment is an intricate system of living and non-
living elements held together by complex processes, and because environmental
concerns relating to large-scale projects range widely from physical impacts on
natural resources - air, land, water — to the impacts on living organisms - plants,
animals, microorganisms — to a variety of impacts on people, including aesthetic,
cultural, and social concerns.

•	Systematic, because to be effective as a decision-making planning tool, environ-
mental impact assessments must be replicable by different analysts and must be able
to withstand scrutiny by various interest groups.
•	Interdisciplinary, because environmental concerns that are related to resources, living
organisms, and people obviously require a broad range of talents and disciplines for
analysis — including the physical, biological, and social sciences.
One systematic approach is to break environmental concerns into major categories, major
subcategories, and ultimately into specific measurable parameters. Such an approach permits the
analyst or decision maker to consider as little or as much detail as appropriate to his need at any
stage of the planning. Planners should examine all parameters in detail during the early stages of
planning, although ultimate decision makers and the lay public may confine their concerns to
only broad impact areas or major categories.
One approach to defining the environment is to employ four major categories:
•	Physical/chemical factors are the classical context in which the environment is
usually viewed. These factors cover the impacts on the physical and chemical aspects
of the air, land, and water sectors of the environment. Further, changes in the
chemical and physical quality of the environment precipitate impacts in the three
remaining categories: ecological, aesthetic, and social.
•	Ecological factors cover impacts on life forms of the natural environment. Both
plant and animal life are included. These factors address the question of species
density and distribution, the broader question of species interaction in communities
and finally, the interaction communities and habitats in an ecosystem.
•	Aesthetic factors relate to the visual and other sensory effects of construction and
land use that may result as part of a water-quality improvement plan. These include
both indirect visual impacts on natural settings (air, land, and water) and direct
visual impacts of man-made structures.
•	Social factors include those that affect overall human well-being, human health, and
the quality of life.
Further breakdown of these major categories into specific measurable parameters is discussed in
Chapter 2.
The following discussion is designed to illustrate how the results of an environmental
assessment can assist planners in maximizing the net beneficial impact of their activities.
The ultimate purpose of an environmental assessment is to provide a basis for judging the
overall merit of a proposed plan and its alternatives for water quality improvement. As such, the
environmental assessment must identify, develop, and analyze in detail the pertinent issues and
the pros and cons of alternative courses of action. Consequently, the key to meaningful
environmental assessment is the identification of typical alternatives at the planning stage, as
opposed to the piecemeal modification of plan components after problems become apparent.

This approach is based on the premise that any given water quality improvement objective can
be achieved by a number of different paths. Further, each path will have not only different
dollar costs at the planning, construction, and maintenance stages but also different environ-
mental impacts. To select the best overall plan, decision makers need to know the net
environmental impact of each alternative package or plan. The sequence of steps in the planning
process ranging from the definition of problems to the analysis of environmental impact is shown
in Figure 1.
At this point, reconsider the previously discussed example of the river basin and the
proposed areawide plan. Options that need to be considered include alternate routes for sewers,
collectors, and interceptors; alternate site locations for a treatment facility; alternate treatment
processes; and alternate sludge disposal techniques. Exploring the sewer routing a bit further, one
route may require construction through a wooded area with possible ecological impacts whereas
another may follow well-established roads, which when torn up may cause hardship and
inconvenience on adjoining residences or businesses — a form of social impact. Another route
may avoid both types of problems but may require substantial pumping; in addition to being
expensive, this alternative would place a burden on energy resources and upon those sectors of
the environment affected by energy generation facilities through thermal pollution or various
forms of air pollution. Identification of these kinds of possibilities at the early planning stages
leads rapidly to identification of alternate ways of performing nearly every subfunction that
must be provided for in a complete plan to meet a specific set of objectives.
The result of an environmental impact analysis should be an identification and an evaluation
of impacts for each alternative considered. Both beneficial and adverse impacts must be analyzed.
Environmental assessment is basically a two-step process. The first step is an identification of the
nature of the impacts — beneficial or adverse; usually some form of checklist is useful in insuring
that important factors are not overlooked. The second step is an evaluation of impacts. Impacts
must be evaluated with respect to two important attributes — their magnitude and importance;
both are essential if trade-offs are ultimately to be made.
As has been mentioned, it is not the intent of the Environmental Policy Act that alternative
water quality management plans be screened on the basis of their environmental and related
social impacts alone. Economic development is another important factor. Finally, there are dollar
cost considerations; traditionally this has been the major decision criterion by which projects
were selected. The best alternative was one interpreted as that requiring the least investment to
meet a rather narrowly defined objective.
Now, however, to be responsive to contemporary needs, broader objectives relating to
quality of life need to be included. Consequently, consideration must be given to environmental
and related social effects that cannot be articulated in dollar terms. Explicit consideration of
nonmonetary values peatly complicates the decision-making process; however, this is not a valid
excuse for not analyzing and identifying these concerns as well as possible. Ultimately, the final
selection will be a trade-off of man's short- and long-term uses of the environment. Environ-
mental assessments help to insure that the best overall decision is made.
The key elements of environmental assessment may be summarized as follows:
• Environmental assessments identify beneficial and adverse impacts, alternative
actions, short-term vs. long-term trade-offs, and irreversible commitments of re-
sources in any proposed action.

Storm Water
Planning Options
to Achieve
Water Quality


•	Citizen
•	Financing
•	Institutional
•	Other
Goa Is
Alt. 1

Alt. 2

Alt. N
N< N
Alt. 1
ALT. 2
1.	Cost Effectiveness
2.	Implementability
Impacts (Beneficial & Adverse)
1.	Environmental Quality
a)	Physical/Chemical Factors
b)	Ecological Factors
c)	Aesthetic Factors
d)	Social Factors
2.	Social and Economic
Alt. N

•	Environmental assessments should be conducted in a comprehensive, systematic, and
interdisciplinary framework which emphasizes the indirect and direct impacts of
water quality management plans.
•	Four major categories can be used to describe environmental impacts: physical/
chemical, ecological, aesthetic, and social.
•	Environmental assessment, involving (1) identification and (2) evaluation of the
importance and magnitude of impacts, can be used to determine the net effect of a
given alternative on quality of life.

In preparing an effective water quality management plan, it is necessary to assess system-
atically the environmental impacts of all reasonable alternatives prior to the selection of a plan.
This chapter discusses one systematic and useful framework for viewing the environment — one
that breaks environmental concerns down into the four previously defined major categories —
physical/chemical, ecological, aesthetic, and social - into components and ultimately into
specific measurable parameters.
Before one can adequately perform an environmental assessment using the approach out-
lined in this report, it is necessary to understand the above four categories used to define the
environment. This chapter includes a discussion of the components and parameters comprising
the four environmental categories and the interactions of the components which form an
environmental web.
Environmental Components
The following discussion introduces the reader to environmental components — the next
level of classification below the four environmental categories in the systematic approach to
environmental analysis. These components and their relationships to the four major categories are
shown in Figure 2.
Each of these components indicates a subcategory of the environment that may be altered
by the implementation of a water quality management plan. These components and the types of
environmental concern that they bring to mind are described below.
Water. Water as a resource is a necessary part of human, plant, and animal life cycles, a
source of man's recreation and navigation, and a carrier and assimilator of waste materials. This
component contains parameters measuring any change in the quality, quantity, or distribution of
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning water include:
•	Are fecal coliforms reduced because of waste treatment?
•	Is the turbidity of surface waters increased because of poor practices in the
construction of sewer lines?
•	Is stream flow reduced because of flow diversion to a regional treatment plant?
•	Does agricultural runoff contain pesticides?
•	Is groundwater affected by wastewater disposal practices?

Social Interactions
Individual Well-Being
Species and
Habitats and
Community Well-Being
Individual Environmental

Land. Land is used by man for agricultural production, residential and industrial develop-
ment, resource development, and open space conservation. Each of these uses has been mis-
managed on one occasion or another and has contributed to environmental problems. Effective
land use management is a key to environmental quality enhancement.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning land include:
•	Do construction practices at the plant site cause soil erosionl
•	Is the treatment plant complex compatible with adjacent land uses'?
•	Are the solid waste disposal practices for the mine spoils adequate?
Air. The air that supports life on this planet has become a sink for many wastes. Changes in
the composition of the atmosphere may cause damages to other areas of the environment:
natural vegetation, structural materials, and wildlife.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning air include:
•	Is particulate matter increased by the dust from the construction practices?
•	Are sulfur oxides increased because of the additional power needs to support the
population growth catalyzed by new sewer lines?
•	Does incineration of waste sludge increase the particulate matter?
Noise. Noise is created both by man's activities and by natural phenomena. It can be
desirable, such as a bubbling brook or the singing of birds, or undesirable, such as factory
operation or excessive blowing of car horns. Undesirable sounds which have a physiological effect
on man and nature are reflected in this component.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning noise include:
•	Does the blasting of rock during construction of a treatment plant or sewer lines
change the intensity of noise in the area?
•	Does the truck traffic into a new industrial area served by expanded sewer lines
increase the frequency of noise in an adjacent neighborhood?
Species and Populations. Species and populations form the basic building blocks of ecology.
Traditionally, most ecological analyses have been concerned solely with these building blocks.
However, data are not available for all aquatic and terrestrial species. For this reason, indicator
species are used to inform man on the overall well-being of species and populations. Indicator
species commonly employed include those of direct commercial or economic value to man, those
that are representative of a healthy, balanced environment, and those that are harmful to man.

Some of the questions that should be asked concerning species and populations include:
•	Is the natural vegetation at the plant site significantly affected?
•	Is the degree of treatment provided for all wastes adequate to protect fisheries?
•	Is the development of pest species encouraged by construction practices?
•	Are animals and birds adversely affected by the nature and extent of vegetation
Communities and Habitats. Groups of species or communities exist in environments known
as habitats. The coexistence of species in habitats and communities results from a series of
complex interactions and processes. Some of the major habitats are streams, lakes, impound-
ments, estuaries, swamps, deserts, grasslands, and woodlands, all of which exist to one degree or
another in river basins throughout the United States.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning communities and habitats include:
•	Are the habitats of any rare and endangered species eliminated through the filling of
a swamp?
•	Are any biological communities critical to the local food chain eliminated as a result
of inadequate waste treatment?
•	Is the species diversity in an area adversely affected as a result of urbanization
catalyzed by the provision of new sewer lines?
Ecosystems. The broadest scale of ecological analysis concentrates on entire natural systems
such as large open spaces, reaches of rivers, forests, etc. Many processes that occur within an
ecosystem are either not measurable or not completely understood by the current state of the
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning ecosystems include:
•	Does the transition from a rural area to an urban area resulting from new sewer
interceptors reduce the land's productivity?
•	Is the nutrient cycle altered by the lack of nutrient removal in the waste treatment
•	Are energy flow patterns disrupted by decreased water quality and/or changes in
species composition.
Land. Land forms in an area often create a specific scenic beauty. It is not necessary for
the land forms to be mountains or canyons; small ravines in an urban or rural area can provide

highly desirable topographic relief; these land forms possess their own beauty and can contribute
measurably to quality of life.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning land include:
•	Does the urban growth that follows a sewer line change the relief of the area?
•	Is the natural surface material changed at the site of a treatment plant or sewer line?
Air. Aesthetic considerations related to air are based on the presence of absence of
pollutants, water vapor, turbulence, and temperature. Air has maximum aesthetic appeal when it
is free ot pollutants, low in humidity, moderate in temperature, and low in velocity. The primary
effect man has on the air is through the emission of air pollutants which may offend sight, smell,
or both. In addition to the odor and sight, sounds can be considered as an air-related aesthetic
parameter. Sounds can clash with or add to the peace and solitude of nature.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning air include:
•	Is visibility reduced due to dust caused by construction practices?
•	Is there an odor from the incineration of waste sludge?
•	Are the sounds from song birds eliminated by changes in their habitats?
Water. Water is extremely important in the overall aesthetic quality of a river basin. The
aesthetic qualities of a water body relate to the characteristics of the water itself and to the
interface between land and the water, i.e., shoreline characteristics.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning water include:
•	Is stream flow increased because of discharges from a regional plant?
•	Does the plant remove all floating materials?
•	Does the construction of man-made channels eliminate the natural land and water
Biota. Plants and animals contribute to the aesthetic qualities of a river basin or metro-
politan area. Although the type of vegetation considered the most desirable is subject to personal
preference, most people prefer vegetation over concrete or bare surface material. With adequate
vegetation as a habitat, the area will support larger populations of birds and other animals. Areas
with both vegetation and animals are of high aesthetic quality.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning the biota include:
• Do changes caused by population growth along new sewer lines change the vegeta-
tion diversity?

•	Does the clearing for sewer routes eliminate a particular vegetation type?
•	Are animals removed from the site selected for a treatment plant?
Man-Made Objects. The aesthetic attractiveness of things built by man are generally related
to their beauty, uniqueness, age, and historical significance. The location and design of the
structures and the landscaping of the structures can have a pronounced visual effect.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning man-made objects include:
•	Is the plant design in consonance with the environment?
•	Are the man-made objects to be built along new sewer routes in consonance with the
Composition. Composition reflects the combination of all elements that make a location
look and "feel" like it does. Composition is a subjective evaluation in response to the total
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning aesthetic composition include:
•	Is the mood or atmosphere of a location destroyed by a treatment plant?
•	Will the construction of sewer lines result in population growth and subsequent
uncontrolled commercial growth in new areas?
Individual Environmental Interests. Individual interest aspects of the environment are those
which provide something beyond the absolute necessities for human life; they affect people's
emotional lives; they add to the enjoyment of life. Recent trends in education, leisure time, and
per capita income indicate an increasing demand for locations where individuals can enjoy the
natural environment.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning individual environmental interests
•	Does the improved water quality of a river improve educational opportunities?
•	Are sludge disposal sites located in the immediate proximity of a historical site?
•	Does deterioration of water quality in a river from lack of adequate treatment
reduce its leisure/recreational potential?

Individual Well-Being. Individuals living in a river basin or metropolitan area rely on the
public sector for adequate services. These services include a "healthy" environment, good
drinking water, sewer facilities, and safety from water-borne epidemics.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning individual well-being include:
•	Does the water reuse portion of a proposed plan create hygienic problems?
•	Is psychological health affected by poor water quality?
•	Is physiological health affected by increased air pollutants from the incineration of
Social Interactions. Individuals organize themselves into specific units ranging from the
family unit to the political organization to meet certain needs. These units interact directly with
the environment and are often directly affected by changes in the environment. Employment
opportunities, housing, and recreation are group activities that are influenced by changes in
environmental quality.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning social interactions include:
•	How does the relocation of individuals because of treatment plant site selection affect the
families involved?
•	Is there economic growth and new social opportunities because of new facilities?
•	Are life patterns forced to change as a result of population growth?
Community Well-Being. Individual and social interactions are part of the overall unit, the
community. The well-being of a community in part depends upon the environment established in
the community. Both the natural and social environment and their interface are integral parts of
this environment.
Some of the questions that should be asked concerning the community well-being include:
•	Does the community prosper as a result of the improved environment?
•	Does the location of a treatment plant disrupt the community in any way?

Thus, a truly comprehensive environmental assessment will examine the impact of several
alternatives on all of the following aspects of the environment.
•	Species and Populations
•	Habitats and Communities
•	Ecosystems
•	Individual Environmental
•	Individual Weil-Being
•	Social Interactions
•	Community Well-Being
Environmental Interactions
The purpose of the following discussion is to illustrate the complex nature of interrelation-
ships between the environmental components and to demonstrate how they are included in the
The reader must realize that the environment is not a simple list of independent blocks as
shown in Figure 2, although for impact analysis it is convenient to view it in this context. In
reality, the environment is a very complex web of blocks and interactions. An action by man in
one area causing little direct impacts can initiate a chain of events causing a significant indirect
impact in some other area.
It would be desirable to describe and measure any adverse and beneficial changes in the
environment both by the blocks and by their interactions. Any given action in the environment,
such as the construction of sewer lines, can have impacts reflected in more than one component
of the environment; for example, the particulate matter in the form of dust from construction
can have impacts on both the aesthetic and physical/chemical quality of the environment.
However, many of these interactions have neither been identified nor interpreted to the point
that meaningful measurements of these interactions can be taken.
In the case of developing a water quality management plan, many environmental impacts
are initiated by changes in the physical/chemical components of the environment which in turn
cause changes in the other components. That is, the chain or web of impacts is catalyzed by
changes in the physical/chemical components.
An example will be useful to illustrate some of the many interactions created by a single
element of a basin plan; it must be emphasized, however, that this example does not indicate all
possible interactions, only a selected number. Assume that there are no environmental controls
on the construction practices used in the building of a treatment plant. Figure 3 indicates some
of the adverse environmental interactions resulting from a failure to control construction. The
initial direct impacts are measured in changes in physical/chemical parameters. Changes in these
parameters create changes (indicated by arrows) in the other categories: ecology, aesthetics, and
social. By controlling the construction practices and, therefore, reducing the physical/chemical
changes, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the other adverse impacts.
•	Water
•	Land
•	Air
•	Noise
•	Water
•	Land
•	Air
•	Biota
•	Man-Made Objects
•	Overall Composition

Proposed Construction Activities
Land Use
and Birds

In performing an environmental assessment of alternatives for managing water quality, it is
desirable to recognize these interactions and to include them in the evaluation. However, due to
the lack of information upon which to base analyses of linkage relationships, it is usually
necessary to evaluate the parameters independently. Until more information becomes available,
this is the suggested approach.
Environmental Parameter List
This section describes the next step in systematic environmental analyses. Having broken
environmental concerns into 4 major categories and 17 components, the next step is to break the
components down into measurable parameters. This third level relates directly to data obtainable
in the field, while the other two levels are more conceptual than measurable. By making
measurements or collecting data on each of these parameters reflecting environmental conditions
both "with" and "without" a water quality management plan, it is possible to perform an
environmental assessment.
A listing of some suggested parameters for assessing impacts of areawide water quality
management plans is given in Table 1 .* This is a suggested list and will need to be improved as
more information is obtained and better indicators of environmental quality are developed. For
reasons outlined earlier, this indicator list does not include the interactions and linkages, but
only the basic blocks.
The environment can now be defined as a systematic structure consisting of three levels.
The categories divide the environment into four major groups. The components and parameters,
levels 2 and 3, further explain these general classifications in more precise terms. To develop the
parameter data needed to provide the basis for an environmental assessment, the following steps
must be followed for each alternative plan:
•	Collect data or perform measurements for each parameter of environmental quality
as conditions now exist in the area to be affected by a plan.
•	Extrapolate current conditions into the future on a parameter-by-parameter basis so
that the future condition of environmental quality "without" the plan can be
•	Estimate future conditions of environmental quality on a parameter-by-parameter
basis to develop an estimate of future environmental conditions "with" the plan
•	Determine the difference in environmental quality between the "without" and
"with" condition; desirable or undesirable changes from the "without" to "with"
condition indicate beneficial or adverse impacts respectively.
*Dee, Norbert, et al, "Environmental Evaluation System for Water Resource Planning", Final Report to the Bureau
of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior, Contract Number 14-06-D-7182, Battelle-Columbus, Columbus,
Ohio, January 1972.





Soil Frosion
(Jroundwater Mow
Flood Plain Usage
Dissolved Oxygen
Buffer Zones
Fecal Coliforms
Soil Suitability for Use
Inorganic Carbon
Compatibility of Land Uses
Inorganic Nitrogen
Solid Waste Disposal
Inorganic Phosphate

Heavy Metals


Carbon Monoxide
Stream Flow
Nitrogen Oxides
Tempo rature
Particulate Matter
Total Dissolved Solids
Photochemical Oxidants
Toxic Substances
Sulfur Oxides

Hydrogen and Organic Sulfides

Species and Populations
Game and Nongame Animals
Natural Vegetation
Managed Vegetation
Resident and Migratory Birds
Sport and Commercial Fisheries
Pest Species
Habitats and Communities
• Species Diversity
Rare and Endangered Species
Food Chain Index
Geologic Surface Material
Relief and Topography
Interlace Land and Water
Floating Materials
Individual Environmental Interests
Social Interactions
Biogeochemical Cycling
Energy Flow
•	Animals-Wild and Domestic
•	Vegetation Type
•	Vegetation Diversity
Man-Made Objects
•	Man-Made Objects
•	Consonance with Environment
•	Composite Effect
•	Unique Composition
•	Mood Atmosphere
Individual Well-Being
•	Physiological Health
•	Psychological Health
•	Safety
•	Hygenie
Community Well-Being
•	Community Well-Being

The systematic approach to environmental assessment provides a comprehensive description
of what is meant by the environment. This chapter described the framework of an analytical
methodology for assessing environmental impacts.
The environmental assessment must fulfill the objectives and the spirit of NEPA. For this
reason, the environmental assessment of water quality management alternatives must
(1)	Consider all possible effects on the environment
(2)	Develop an overall ranking of the alternatives
(3)	Identify project elements which, if modified, could significantly enhance the
environment or minimize negative impacts
(4)	Indicate areas of adverse impact that require special consideration.
To achieve these four goals, each environmental parameter must be evaluated to determine
if any aspect of the specific alternative being analyzed would cause a change in environmental
quality as indicated by the parameter in question. If no detectable change is predicted, there is
no impact as measured by that parameter. If, on the other hand, there is a change, then it is
necessary to determine its magnitude.
In addition to the magnitude and direction (adverse and beneficial) of the parameter
change, it is necessary to determine the relative importance of changes in each of the parameters.
Changes in all parameters do not necessarily have the same importance when determining total
environmental impact. By assigning a relative importance measure to all parameters, the impacts
reflected by each parameter can be put in the proper perspective.
Each water quality management alternative will affect different parameters of the environ-
ment to a different degree. To determine impacts, each parameter is measured or estimated
"without" the alternative and then "with" the alternative, the difference being defined as one
measure of impact. The "without" condition is defined as the expected future if the alternative
were not implemented.
In measuring the "without" and "with" conditions for each alternative, spatial and temporal
dimensions must be considered. The spatial dimension relate the location of the projects within
the plan to the location of the impact. As an example, it is possible that the impact from a
treatment plant may be many miles downstream of the plant. A framework for including the
spatial dimension is to consider
•	Upstream from the site
•	At the site
•	Transfers between sites
•	Downstream from the site.

23 and 24
The areas to be included in this framework are not restricted to the stream alone, but include
the entire area affected by the alternative. In some cases the pertinent area for evaluation would
be the entire basin.
The time frame used in the evaluation of the alternative is also important. Some impacts
may be short-term while others may last for many years. At least two time frames should be
considered in the environmental assessment:
•	During construction of the alternative
•	During operation or use of the alternative.
Each alternative for managing water quality will have some beneficial impacts as well as
adverse impacts on environmental quality. For example, an alternative may improve the fisheries
downstream of the metropolitan area, and increase the air pollution in the metropolitan area
because of incineration of sewage sludge. A means for trading off these beneficial and adverse
impacts is needed to arrive at some overall assessment of net environmental impact. This would
allow one to state the net impact on the environment and thus rank all alternatives. To trade-off
beneficial impacts with adverse impacts and to obtain a net impact, each parameter must be
assigned a weight. This weight should reflect the parameter's relative importance in the entire
environmental system.
This report has provided the reader with an understanding of the broad scope of environ-
mental impacts that can develop in conjunction with water quality management plans. The
report has also described the basic elements of a systematic methodology for analyzing these
impacts. Key points that State, regional, and local planners must keep in mind in preparing
environmental assessments for basin, metropolitan, and regional water quality management plans
•	Environmental assessments must be conducted in a comprehensive and systematic
•	A systematic view of the environment — one that breaks environmental concerns
into broad categories, then into components, and ultimately into measurable param-
eters - offers a useful method for conducting environmental assessments.
•	The process of environmental assessment is then reduced to an evaluation of each
alternative with respect to each parameter under two conditions: "without" the plan
and "with" the plan.
•	Impacts reflected by each parameter ,must be evaluated with respect to their
magnitude and relative importance. The difference between impacts associated with
the "with" and "without" condition, aggregated in proportion to their magnitude
and importance, constitutes one measure of overall net environmental impact.
•	During the preparation of an environmental assessment, assistance may be obtained
from State Environmental agencies as well as State Departments of Health, Natural
Resources, Forestry, and Agriculture, and local universities.


Public Law 91-190
91st Congress, S. 1075
January 1, 1970
2n3tt			B3 STAT. 852
To establish a national policy lor the environment, to provide for the establish-
ment of a Council on Environmental Quality, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may National En-
be cited as the "National Environmental Policy Act of 1969''.	vironmental
Policy Aot of
Sec. 2. The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy
which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man
and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or elimi-
nate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the
health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the eco-
logical systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to
establish a Council on Environmental Quality.
Sec. 101. (a) The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of Poiioies and
man's activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural goals,
environment, particularly the profound influences of population
growth, high-aensity urbanization, industrial expansion, resource
exploitation, and new and expanding technological advances and
recognizing further the critical importance of restoring and maintain-
ing environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of
man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Govern-
ment, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other con-
cerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means
and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a man-
ner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and
maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in
productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other
requirements of present and future generations of Americans.
(b) In order to carry out the policy set forth in this Act, it is the
continuing responsibility of the Federal Government to use all prac-
ticable means, consistent with other essential considerations of
national policy, to improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions,
programs, and. resources to the end that the Nation may—
(1)	fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of
the environment for succeeding generations;
(2)	assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, and
esthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings;
(3)	attain the widest range or beneficial uses of the environ-
ment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other unde-
sirable and unintended consequences;
(4)	preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects
of our national heritage, and maintain, wherever possible, an
environment which supports diversity and variety of individual
(5)	achieve a balance between population and resource use
whicn will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing of
life's amenities; and
44-674 O - 70 - 17

83 STAT. 853
(6) enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach
the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources.
(c) The Congress recognizes that each person should enjoy a health-
ful environment and that each person has a responsibility to contribute
to the preservation and enhancement of the environment
Administration. Sec. 102. The Congress authorizes and directs that, to the fullest
Administration.	pogsibie: (l) Die policies, regulations,.and public laws of the
United States shall be interpreted and administered m accordance
with the policies set forth in this Act, and (2) all agencies of the Fed-
eral Government shall—	, !.• v. :n
(A)	utilize a systematic, interdisciplinary approach which will
insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and
the environmental design arts in planning and in decisionmaking
which may have an impact on man's environment;
(B)	identify and develop methods and procedures, m con-
sultation with the Council on Environmental Quality established
by title II of this Act, which will insure that presently unquali-
fied environmental amenities and values may be given appropriate
consideration in decisionmaking along with economic and tech-
nical considerations;		
(C)	include in every recommendation or report on proposals
for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly af-
fecting the quality of the human environment, a detailed state-
ment by the responsible official on—
(i)	the environmental impact of the proposed action,
(ii)	any adverse environmental effects which cannot be
avoided should the proposal be implemented,
(iii)	alternatives to the proposed action,
(iv)	the relationship between local short-term uses of
man's environment and the maintenance and enhancement of
long-term productivity, and . ,,	-
(v)	any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of re-
sources which would be involved in the proposed action
should it be implemented.
Prior to making any detailed statement, the responsible Federal
official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any Fed-
eral agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with
Corses Of state- respect to any environmental impact involved. Copies of such
mente, eto. j avail- statement and the comments and views of the appropriate Federal,
ability.	State, and local agencies, which are authorized to develon and en-
force environmental standards, shall be made available to the
President, the Council on Environmental Quality and to the pub-
lic as provided by section 552 of title 5. united States Code, and
shall accompany the proposal through the existing agency review
progsses, , developj ana describe appropriate alternatives to
recommended courses of action in any proposal which involves
unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available re-
sources *
(E)	recognize the worldwide and long-range character of en-
vironmental problems and, where consistent with the foreign
policy of the United States, lend appropriate support to initiatives,
resolutions, and programs designed to maximize international
cooperation in anticipating and preventing a decline m the quality
of mankind's world environment;	.....
(F)	make available to States, counties, municipalities, institu-
tions, and individuals, advice and information useful in restoring,
maintaining, and enhancing the quality of the environment;
81 Stat. 54.

83 STAT. 854
(G)	initiate and utilize ecological information in the planning
and development of resource-oriented projects; and
(H)	assist the Council on Environmental Quality established
by title II of this Act.
Sec. 103. All agencies of the Federal Government shall review Review,
their present statutory authority, administrative regulations, and cur-
rent policies and procedures for the purpose of determining whether
there are any deficiencies or inconsistencies therein which prohibit
full compliance with the purposes and provisions of this Act and shall
propose to the President not later than July 1, 1971, such measures as
may be necessary to bring their authority and policies into conform-
ity with the intent, purposes, and procedures set forth in this Act.
Sec. 104. Nothing in Section 102 or 103 shall in any way affect the
specific statutory obligations of any Federal agency (1) to comply
with criteria or standards of environmental quality, (2) to coordinate
or consult with any other Federal or State agency, or (3) to act, or
refrain from acting contingent upon the recommendations or certifi-
cation of any other Federal or State agency.
Sec. 105. The policies and goals set forth in this Act are supplemen-
tary to those set forth in existing authorizations of Federal agencies.
COUNCIL on environmental quality
Sec. 201. The President shall transmit to the Congress annually Report to
beginning July 1, 1970, an Environmental Quality Report (herein- congress,
after referred to as the "report'") which shall set forth (1) the status
and condition of the major natural, manmade, or altered environ-
mental classes of the Nation, including, but not limited to, the air,
the aquatic, including marine, estuarine, and fresh water, and the
terrestrial environment, including, but not limited to, the forest, dry-
land, wetland, range, urban, suburban, and rural environment; (2)
current and foreseeable trends in the quality, management and utiliza-
tion of such environments and the effects of those trends on the social,
economic, and other requirements of the Nation; (3) the adequacy oi
available natural resources for fulfilling human and economic require-
ments of the Nation in the light of expected population pressures; (4)
a review of the programs and activities (including regulatory ac-
tivities) of the Federal Government; the State and local governments,
and nongovernmental entities or individuals, with particular reference
to their effect on the environment and on the conservation, develop-
ment and utilization of natural resources; and (5) a program for
remedying the deficiencies of existing programs and activities, to-
gether witn recommendations for legislation.
Sec. 202. There is created in the Executive Office of the President Council on
a Council on Environmental Quality (hereinafter referred to as the Environmental
"Council"). The Council shall be composed of three members who shall Quality,
be appointed by the President to serve at his pleasure, by and with
the aavice and consent of the Senate. The President shall designate
one of the members of the Council to serve as Chairman. Each mem-
ber shall be a, person who, as a result of his training, experience, and
attainments, is exceptionally well qualified to analyze and interpret
environmental trends and information of all kinds; to appraise pro-
grams and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the
policy set forth in title I of this Act; to be conscious of and reeponeire
to the scientific, economic, social, esthetic, and cultural neede and in-
terests of the Nation; and to formulate and recommend national
policies to promote the improvement of the quality of the enviroam—t.

B3 STAT. 855
Sec. 203. The Council may employ such officers and employees as
may be necessary to carry out its functions under this Act. In addition,
the Council may employ and fix the compensation of such experts ana
consultants as may De necessary for the carrying out of its functions
under this Act, in accordance with section 3109 of title 5, United States
so stat. 416. Code (but without regard to the last sentence thereof).
Duties and	Sec. 204. It shall be the duty and function of the Council—
funotioro.	(1) to assist and advise the President in the preparation of the
Environmental Quality Report required by section 201;
(2)	to gather timely ana authoritative information concerning
the conditions and trends in the quality of the environment both
current and prospective, to analyze and interpret such informa-
tion for the purpose of determining whether such conditions and
trends are interfering, or are likely to interfere, with the achieve-
ment of the policy set forth in title I of this Act, and to compile
and submit to the President studies relating to such conditions
and trends;
(3)	to review and appraise the various programs and activities
of the Federal Government in the light of the policy set forth in
title I of this Act for the purpose of determining the extent to
which such programs and activities are contributing to the
Achievement of such policy, and to make recommendations to the
President with respect thereto;
(4)	to develop and recommend to the President national poli-
cies to foster and promote the improvement of environmental
quality to meet the conservation, social, economic, health, and
other requirements and goals of the Nation;
(5)	to conduct investigations, studies, surveys, research, and
analyses relating to ecological systems and environmental quality;
(6)	to document and define changes in the natural environment,
including the plant and animal systems, and to accumulate neces-
sary data and other information for a continuing analysis of these
changes or trends and an interpretation of their underlying
(7)	to report at least once each year to the President on the
state and condition of the environment; and
(8)	to make and furnish such studies, reports thereon, and
recommendations with respect to matters of policy and legisla-
tion as the President may request.
Sec. 205. In exercising its powers, functions, and duties under this
Act, the Council shall—
(1)	consult with the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Environ-
mental Quality established by Executive Order numbered 11472,
34 p. r. 8693. dated May 29, 1969, and with such representatives of science,
industry, agriculture, labor, conservation organizations, State
and local governments and other groups, as it deems advisable;
(2)	utilize^ to the fullest extent possible, the services, facilities,
and information (including statistical information) of public and
Srivate agencies and organizations, and individuals, in order that
uplication of effort and expense may be avoided, thus assuring
that the Council's activities will not unnecessarily overlap or con-
flict with similar activities authorized by law and performed bv
established agencies.	y

A-5 and A-6
83 BTAT. 656
Seo. 206. Members of the Council shall serve full time and the Tenure and
Chairman of the Council shall be compensated at the rate provided compensation,
for Level II of the Executive Schedule Pay Bates (5 U.S.C. 5313). so stat. 460,
The other members of the Council shall be compensated at the rate 461 •
provided for Level IV or the Executive Schedule Pay Rates (5
U.S.C. 5315).	#	01 stat- 630«
Sao. 207. There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Appropriations,
provisions of this Act not to exceed $300,000 for fiscal year 1970,
$700,000 for fiscal year 1971, and $1,000,000 for each fiscal year
Approved January 1, 1970.
HOUSE REPORTSi No. 91-378, 91-378, pt. 2,aooompanying H. R. 12549
(Comm. on Merohant Marin# & Fisheries) and 91-765
(Comm. of Conferenoe).
SENATE REPORT No, 91-296 (Comm. on Interior & Insular Affairs).
July lOi Considered and passed Senate.
Sept.23i Considered and passed House, amended, in lieu of
H. R. 12549.
Oot. 8: Senate disagreed to House amendments} agreed to
Deo. 20i Senate agreed to oonferenoe report.
Deo. 22t House agreed to oonferenoe report.
4 U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1 972 —k8h. 1(85 (2k0)