A publication prepared by the Office of Public Information, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration.
••• for toater
The Cover
A green swath of algae, the cancer of water
pollution, rims the rocky beach of a dying
lake. Pollution spurs wild growth of these
often obnoxious and malodorous tiny green
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For years, America has been heading
for a water quality crisis. In many
localities, the crisis is already here. Lake
after lake is sick or in danger. River after
river has been turned into an open sewer
for municipal, industrial, and agricultural
wastes. Beach after beach has had to be
closed to swimming and fishing. Finding
enough clean water for year-around
municipal supply is touch-and-go in a
number of areas. Many underground
water resources are in jeopardy.
The ugly name of the problem is pollu-
tion. The ugly fact of pollution takes
many forms. It may take the form of
offensive odors and offensive sights—of
rotting algae and rotting fish, of floating
debris and dirty boat hulls. Or it may
take more stealthy forms—of water that
looks all right at a distance but water that
is dead, devoid of oxygen, devoid of all
living things—an aquatic wasteland.
Continued pollution, regardless of the
source, means less and less water of suit-
able quality for necessary as well as de-

continued growth of population and in-
dustry means an ever-mounting demand
for clean water, usable water. It is when
the lines of supply and demand cross—
when demand begins to exceed supply—
it is then that the crisis begins.
Decade by decade, year by year, man-
made pollution has pressed down on our
lakes, streams, bays, and estuaries. This
trend can be reversed. The crisis can be
However, the job cannot be handled
by any one group or organization alone.
Everyone has a stake in clean water. It
is a responsibility that must be shared by
all segments of society—by government
at all levels, by industry, by individual
citizens in all walks of life.
In the past several years, the Federal
Government has substantially increased
and improved its ability to support water
pollution control activity. State and local
governments have also accelerated their
water cleanup efforts, and industry too
is meeting the challenge in many ways.
Citizen support and cooperation are
being marshalled by civic, conservation,
and women's groups everywhere in the
country. The press and other news and
information media are covering the water
pollution crisis as never before and are
calling for action to deal with it. Many
major public information campaigns on
pollution are underway, and more are
certain to be launched.
One central fact is beginning to emerge
from all this—there is no way to avoid the
costs of pollution. Either we must put
up with the more and more costly con-
sequences of pollution, or we must accept
the costs of pollution prevention and
control. That is the stark either-or of the
situation. There is no other choice.
The following pages tell in brief what
the Federal Government is doing and
trying to do about one of the great en-
vironmental problems of modern times—
the tightening grip of pollution on the
Nation's priceless water resources.

the program for water pollution control
The federal water pollution control program began on a small scale in 1948.
It has been strengthened and expanded many times since.
Today, the program is combating water pollution on a large scale and on a
number of broad fronts.
Under its major continuing programs, the Department of the Interior's Federal
Water Pollution Control Administration:
Makes grants for the construction of municipal waste treatment facilities.
Works with States in the administration of water quality standards.
Administers a far-reaching Federal enforcement campaign against pollu-
tion of interstate or navigable waters which endangers health or welfare.
Supports research and development looking toward better means of
controlling all forms of water pollution, with particular emphasis on
finding improved ways to help municipalities and industry do the job.
Provides expert technical assistance on difficult pollution problems,
and supports and encourages the training of much needed manpower for
all aspects of water pollution control.
Encourages effective river basin planning that takes into account all
factors affecting water quality.
Extends financial and other assistance to States to help them strengthen
their own water pollution control programs.
Along with these key program elements, the Federal Water Pollution Control
Administration is conducting a number of economic studies and pther special
projects which will provide new and more complete information to help meet
long-term goals.	/
Emerging as critical areas in the total Federal water pollution control program
are the Nation's lakes and estuaries. Programs are being developed to find more
effective ways to halt the accelerated and unnatural eutrophication or aging of
the lakes and to restore and preserve the quality of the estuaries.



Municipal wastes, discharged un-
treated or inadequately treated, are
a major source of water pollution. Grow-
ing city populations and the soaring
volume of industrial discharges into mu-
nicipal sewers have placed a steadily
mounting load of such wastes on waters
across the country. Communities are not
building or expanding sewage treatment
facilities fast enough to keep up with the
needs of more people, more housing, and
the obsolescence of previously constructed
National attention was focused on this
problem in 1956 when Congress passed
the first permanent Federal Water Pollu-
tion Control Act. This act initiated the
program of Federal grants to municipali-
ties to assist them in improving or build-
ing sewage treatment works. Amendments
since then have helped to step up con-
struction activity by making more money
available and on a more liberal basis.
The Federal construction grants pro-
gram is not intended to be a substitute
for State and local activity. Rather, the
purpose of this assistance is to encourage
and support such activity. The financial
incentives—and the benefits—are sizable.
A community can get financial help in
the construction of a municipal waste

at least 30 percent of the construction
cost. And under certain conditions, the
Federal share may be as much as 55
Although designed basically to aid
municipalities, this program has a side
effect which benefits industry. It paves
the way for industry to join with munici-
palities in cooperative projects to build
plants for treating both municipal and
industrial wastes. This adds up to econ-
omies for both.
The construction grants program has
accomplished much since its beginning
in 1957. In the first decade of the pro-
gram, the Federal Government supported
the construction and expansion of more
than 8,000 treatment facilities costing a
total of $4.5 billion. Of this sum, more
than $ 1 billion was in Federal funds.
Past progress, while impressive, has not
kept pace with the needs. Untreated or
inadequately treated municipal wastes still
pour into rivers and streams in large
quantities. To deal with this situation,
municipalities will have to build waste
treatment works on a vaster scale than
ever before. The total bill for this waste-
reducing program will run very high, but
the costs of continued pollution would
ultimately be much higher.

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water quality standards
The keystone of America's massive
clean water program is the provision
of the Water Quality Act of 1965 which
called for all States to establish water
quality standards for their interstate and
coastal waters. This provision required
States to make some crucial decisions in-
volving the uses of their water resources,
the quality of water to support these
uses, and specific plans for achieving
such levels of quality.
This program is a giant step forward.
Its purpose is to enhance the quality and
value of polluted water and to protect the
quality of clean water. The standards are,
in effect, the blueprints for the clean water
program — a guide to planning, waste
treatment works construction, research,
enforcement, training, technical assist-
ance, and pollution surveillance.
Wastes affecting the quality of water
come from a number of sources—mainly
municipal, industrial, and agricultural.
Municipal sewage includes virtually every-
thing that goes down the drain of a com-
munity and into its sewer system. Indus-
trial wastes include the acids, chemicals,
and animal and vegetable matter that
are produced by the paper, steel, meat-
processing, and other industries. Agricul-
tural wastes include silt from erosion,
fertilizers, pesticides, and runoff from
feedlots. Water used to cool nuclear and
other power plants can cause still an-
other kind of pollution—thermal pollu-
First responsibility for implementing
and enforcing water quality standards
rests with the States. But once approved
by the Secretary of the Interior, the
standards become Federal standards and
are subject, if necessary, to Federal en-
Determining and maintaining water
quality appropriate for its many uses is
a necessary part of an effective water
quality management program. It is im-
portant to identify the various causes of
water pollution, develop agreements for
desired water uses, determine the specific
pollution control measures needed, and set
up timetables for carrying them out.
Jointly, Federal-State efforts are de-

enable them to monitor the performance
and results of water quality management
activities. These techniques range from
checking on construction schedules to
monitoring water quality at various points.
The Federal Government and the States
maintain monitoring systems to keep track
of changes in the quality of many inter-
state streams, and these systems are being
expanded. Some water quality data are
collected electronically, some through
laboratory tests of water samples.
Implementation plans will also usually
involve specific timetables for construc-
tion of waste treatment facilities. Con-
struction of required municipal waste
treatment works will involve Federal
grants and, in many cases, State grants
as well. This enables both the Federal
and State governments to keep track of
construction progress.
The establishment of water quality
standards together with an action pro-
gram of water quality management does
not mean that the murky waters of Ameri-
ca will suddenly become clean. But the
program represents a decisive break-
through in speeding water pollution
control toward its ultimate goal—en-
hancement of the quality and value of

State lines and other geographical
boundaries are no barriers to the flow
and spread of polluted water. Pollution
from sources in one locality or one State
can—and often does—affect people living
in another.
Recognizing that such situations can
create many complications and inequities,
Congress from the very first water pollu-
tion control legislation in 1948 set up
procedures under which the Federal
Government can take enforcement action.
clean water through
Over the years, the Federal enforcement
authority has been expanded and
Today, the Federal Water Pollution
Control Act authorizes the Secretary of
the Interior to institute an enforcement
action when: (1) the water quality
standards adopted for interstate and
coastal waters are violated; (2) the health
and welfare of persons in a State other
than the one in which the pollution orig-
inated are endangered; (3) the pollu-
tion causes damage to the health and
welfare of persons within the State in
which it originates, and the Governor of
that State requests such action; (4) pollu-
tion has damaged shellfish so that sub-
stantial economic injury has resulted from
the inability to market shellfish products
in interstate commerce; and (5) inter-
national pollution is involved.
The steps in an enforcement action,
very briefly, may involve: (1) a confer-
ence of Federal and State representatives;
(2) a public hearing if there is no com-
pliance with the conference recommenda-
tions; and (3) court action if adequate
progress is not made on the hearing rec-
The emphasis in an enforcement action
is, of course, on the first stage—the
conference. The Federal Water Pollution
Control Administration believes that cases
are settled at the conference table more
rapidly, more amicably, and with more

treatment of the Nation's water resources
than through court action.
The water quality standards program
provides a new weapon for preventive
action. Where any discharge of wastes re-
duces the quality of water below the
standards set, the Secretary of the Interior
is empowered to take enforcement ac-
tion. He may request the Attorney Gen-
eral of the United States to bring suit.
However, 180 days before initiating a
court action, the Secretary must notify
the alleged violators, as well as other
interested parties, such as State agencies,
of the violation of the standards. This is
to allow time to obtain voluntary com-
pliance by the polluters.
Other activities are designed to en-
courage enactment of improved and uni-
form State water pollution control laws
and interstate cooperation, including the
formulation of interstate compacts for
the prevention and control of water pol-

the search
for new answers
The problems of water pollution are
so complex, so varied, and so numer-
ous that existing weapons are not adequate
to deal with all of them. They have
multiplied faster than solutions. This
poses a serious threat to the full success
of efforts to make America's waters clean
and usable and to keep them that way.
As in medicine or industry or agricul-
ture, the needed answers, the new tools
must come from scientific research. Rec-
ognizing this, industry, government and
private institutions have intensified their
research programs.
Congress acted to speed up and broad-
en the search for more effective and
cheaper ways to control and prevent
water pollution in the Water Quality
Act of 1965 and again in the Clean
Water Restoration Act of 1966. Respond-
ing to the legislative mandates, the Federal
Water Pollution Control Administration's
research efforts now run the gamut of
scientific investigation and technological
development — from basic research
through applied research, pilot plants,
field evaluation, and demonstration.
FWPCA's research activities are car-
ried on in two ways—directly, through
work in its own laboratories and research
contracts, and indirectly, through sizable
grants for research in colleges, universi-
ties, and other public and private institu-
tions and agencies. Specific research proj-
ects are being pursued by industrial firms
under contract with the Federal Govern-
Research alone does not eliminate pol-
lution, however. New findings must be
shown to have practical application.
Moving research findings more rapidly
from the laboratory to practical applica-
tions is being carried out through a
program of demonstration and pilot
projects. Many such projects are now
underway or planned, including demon-
strations of wastewater renovation and
reuse, acid mine-drainage control, im-
proved industrial waste processes, and
control or treatment of overflows from
combined sanitary and storm sewers.
Advanced waste treatment is perhaps
one of the most dramatic examples of

ment techniques. A breakthrough in this
area will mean the development of effec-
tive, safe, and economical wastewater
systems, which, in effect, will amount to
the same thing as creating a new water
All in all, the quest for new approaches
in the long-range problem of water pollu-
tion control has only scratched the
surface. For a long time to come, Ameri-
ca's scientific resources will be tapped for
more knowledge, new tools to cope with
increased pollution and new kinds of
Tomorrow's research will offer new
horizons for action. New technology will
make existing control methods more
effective. Greater emphasis will be placed
on the renovation and reuse of wastewater
—wastewater need not be wasted water.
New methods will make it possible to
capture and remove pollutants from both
lakes and flowing streams. In short,
America is building up an arsenal of
practical weapons to control and prevent
pollution from all sources and to clean

helping to
solve difficult
Determining the most efficient tech-
nical means available for dealing
with the more difficult pollution problems
is a continuing need. Developing the
trained manpower required for all levels
of work in pollution control is another.
The Federal Water Pollution Control
Administration is active in both areas.
Technical Assistance
Many States have municipal and in-
dustrial waste problems of an unusual
or complex kind. For help in solving
them, they frequently turn to the FWPCA.
These problems do not occur frequently
enough in any one State to justify its
maintaining the special skills and equip-
ment needed on a permanent basis. How-
ever, they arise often enough across the
country to warrant attention at the na-
tional level. And the experience gained
in solving pollution problems in one part
of the country can be useful in dealing
with similar problems elsewhere. Thus,
the Federal program is prepared to give
continuing help to States and interstate

and local agencies in planning and carry-
ing out remedial programs.
Technical assistance covers a wide
range of activities—from short-term con-
sultation on specific problems to assist-
ance in conducting comprehensive investi-
gations and surveys. Technical experts
from FWPCA's regional offices and field
laboratory and research facilities through-
out the country play dual roles—as
"trouble shooters" in dealing with parti-
cular problems and as consultants on
short-range control measures.
Money, additional facilities, and new
equipment have little value without the
skilled manpower to plan and operate a
pollution control program.
The Federal Government is helping to
build up the ranks of competent personnel
not only for its own activities but also
to assist State and local agencies. This is
being done by sponsoring graduate-level
training programs, awarding fellowships
to individual trainees, conducting short-
term training courses for persons already
working in the water pollution field, and
assisting in the development of expanded
and improved training programs for
sewage treatment plant operators. Train-
ing is also provided through seminars and
conferences and through the distribution
of written material on special subjects of
major interest.
A key approach to bolstering the sup-
ply of specialists trained for water pollu-
tion control work is to give Federal grants
to universities and other academic insti-
tutions to support graduate-level training
programs. In addition, many individuals
are receiving fellowships to help them
meet the expenses of advanced training
in the field of water pollution control.
Short-term training courses aimed at
keeping personnel abreast of advances in
pollution control technology are given
at several of FWPCA's laboratories.
More effective treatment plant opera-
tion to match the projected construction
of additional treatment facilities is the
goal of the training given to sewage treat-
ment plant operators—key members of

comprehensive planning for ri
inclusive planning, taking into account
the physical, social, and economic make-
up of the whole region or basin.
Comprehensive programming makes it
possible (1) to develop basinwide pro-
grams, (2) to provide technical guidance
to basin planning agencies, and (3) to
relate State-local planning efforts to Fed-
eral planning. This approach spurs the
creation of mutually supporting plans,
and links the actions of Federal, inter-
state, State, and municipal agencies and
industry. It provides a blueprint for
building water quality management into
each river basin system. And it serves as
a springboard for enlightened actions by
citizens' groups.
Basinwide planning and action is an
important aspect of the Federal water
pollution control program. To encourage
basinwide action by State, interstate, and
local agencies, the Federal Water Pollu-
tion Control Administration has launched
comprehensive pollution control projects
in more than half of the country's 20
major river basins. Similar projects for the
rest of the river basins will be started in
the near future.
This means that the entire problem of
eliminating or reducing the pollution in
an area must be attacked on a partnership
basis, not as isolated, individual projects.
It means, too, that solutions must be
tailored to the needs of entire river basins,
not just separate localities along the river.
These tasks call for comprehensive, all-
The same water flowing in many
rivers must serve many States and
municipalities. And it must also serve
many uses. Pollution control therefore
can be truly effective only if it covers all
points along the entire system, and only
if the efforts—upstream and downstream
—are coordinated.


helping the state programs
From the very start of the water pol-
lution control program, Congress has
made it quite clear that the responsibility
for preventing and controlling water pol-
lution rests mainly with the States. And
although the Federal Government has
been given a greater hand in dealing with
the problem, the States will have to con-
tinue to bear the major share of the
To handle their job adequately, the
States need money and manpower. Enor-
mous pollution problems have been thrust
on the States in recent decades by the
Nation's rapid population and industrial
growth. Many States were able to expand
their programs to meet these growing
problems. Others, however, have not had
adequate laws and resources to do the
Federal program grants are available
to States and interstate agencies to help
them bear the costs of needed preventive
and control measures. These grants are
intended as realistic incentives for the
States to spend more money to expand
and improve their water pollution control
programs. Annual appropriations of $10
million are authorized for this purpose for
the period 1968-1971. Allocations are
made on the basis of population, extent
of the pollution problem, and the financial
need of the States.
States and interstate agencies have used
program grants effectively for employing
needed technical persons, for purchasing
special laboratory and field equipment,
and, in some cases, to initiate research.
The grant funds have also been put to
work for more pollution surveys, ex-
panded research programs, accelerated
public information activities, and more
aggressive enforcement of State laws.
From a long-range viewpoint, pro-
gram grants are perhaps the most effec-
tive tool in use to foster and expand the
role of the States in the drive to clean
up the country's waters. National pollu-
tion control can move ahead only as fast
as the State and interstate agencies re-
spond to the challenge—and to the op-


special studies
the Congress authorized special studies of the
following: Estuarine pollution, manpower and
training needs, national costs of pollution control,
watercraft pollution, and financial incentives to
industry. Studies such as these, some of which
have already been completed, are making it pos-
sible for FWPCA to accumulate a substantial fund
of information on the impact of water pollution on
the Nation's natural and economic resources.
Estuarine pollution
Estuaries are among the Nation's most
valuable water resources, but many are
being ruined by wastes dumped into them
by polluted rivers. The estuarine study is
concerned with the effects of population
trends, mineral resource and fossil fuel
exploitation, navigation, flood control,
erosion control, and other activities on the
quality of estuarine waters. A report,
which is scheduled to be submitted to
Congress by November 1969, will: (1)
document and analyze various aspects of
estuarine pollution; (2) make recom-
mendations for a comprehensive national
program for the preservation, use, and
development of estuaries; and (3) recom-
mend the respective roles of Federal,
State, and local governments and public
and private interests.
Watercraft pollution
This study investigated the extent of pol-
lution of all navigable waters from litter
and sewage discharged by watercraft and
the methods of reducing pollution from
this source. A report was submitted to
the Congress as a basis for a legislative

Cost estimate and study
This study was made to get a clearer
picture of how much it will cost to meet
all of the pollution control requirements
for municipalities, industry, and other
entities. Completed and submitted to
Congress, the study estimates that ex-
penditures of approximately $26 billion
to $29 billion will be needed to collect
and adequately treat municipal and in-
dustrial wastes discharged into the Na-
tion's waterways in the 5-year period
beginning July 1, 1968. These estimates
do not cover the additional expenditures
which would be necessary to control a
wide range of other pollutants, such as
acid-mine drainage, discharges from com-
bined sewers, oil and radioactive wastes,
and sediments washed into rivers and
lakes. A companion study estimates that
from July 1, 1969, through June 30,
1973, the Federal cost of carrying out
the provisions of the Water Pollution
Control Act will amount to more than
$3.3 billion, exclusive of construction
grants for fiscal years 1972 and 1973.

Manpower evaluation
The purpose of this study was to deter-
mine the manpower requirements of
State and local governments to carry out
programs supported by the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act, and the ways of
using existing Federal training programs
to meet the needs. This study has been
completed, and a report submitted to the
The report identified sub-professional
needs as most immediate and critical, and
recommended a program of inter-agency
cooperation in training to meet those
needs. Work on this program is underway.
Incentives for industry
The purpose of this study was to de-
velop methods for providing incentives to
assist industry in building water pollution
control facilities, including the possible
use of tax incentives as well as other
methods of financial assistance.
In addition, a special study of oil pol-
lution was ordered by the President fol-
lowing the breakup of the tanker "Torrey
Canyon" off the coast of England in
March 1967. This study, conducted by
the Department of the Interior and the
Department of Transportation, became
the blueprint for a legislative program to
give the Federal Government greater
authority in dealing with the problem of


The water quality act of 1965 and
the Clean Water Restoration Act of
1966 marked the beginning of a major of-
fensive against water pollution in this
country. The conquest of pollution will
not be easy.
There are, however, many encouraging
signs of progress. At the Federal level,
more effective programs are underway
in research, in construction, in water
quality surveillance, in the development
of comprehensive river basin planning,
in controlling pollution from Federal in-
stallations and activities, and, most re-
cently, in the development of water
quality standards for interstate and
coastal waters.
State and local governments are show-
ing a new attitude toward pollution.
Stricter pollution control laws, construc-
tion of new waste treatment facilities, in-
terstate compacts for joint action—all are
indicative of the strong surge of interest
being shown by States and local govern-
ments in water conservation.
Industry, business, and agriculture, too,
have stopped taking water for granted.
They are becoming increasingly respon-
sive to the problems with an eye to re-
ducing wastewater—searching for ways
to turn waste products into useful
But there are still major gaps in State
and community control efforts, in the
activities of industry, and in public rec-
ognition that pollution control is not just
the other fellow's problem.
A remaining obstacle is the large back-
log of needed municipal and industrial
waste treatment works. And there is still
a need for new and improved technolog-
ical tools to solve existing problems, let
alone to keep abreast of new problems
that are emerging.
The Federal Government now has two

decades of experience in developing a
water pollution control program. In the
face of a formidable task, it is clear that
a new era of enlightenment, a new era
in pollution control is beginning. All seg-
ments of our society have the opportunity
—and the obligation—to actively share
the responsibility.
We have much of the technological
capability for the task. We have very
real economic and social incentives. And
we have the governmental machinery
through which we can get at the problem.
From here on, it is a question of co-
operation, money, and hard work.

1899 Rivers and Harbors Act. Prohibited discharge
or deposit into any navigable waters of any
refuse except that which flowed from streets
and sewers in a liquid state.
1912 Public Health Service Act. Authorized sur-
veys and studies of water pollution, particu-
larly as it affected human health.
1924 Oil Pollution Act. Prohibited oil discharges
into coastal waters damaging to aquatic life,|
	 harbors and docks, and recreational facilities.
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First Federal Water Pollution Control Act I
with a five-year expiration date.
Federal Water Pollution Control Act extended
for three years.
First permanent Federal Water Pollution
Control Act. Extended and strengthened the
1948 law in areas of enforcement and re-
search and initiated grants for construction
of waste treatment works.
Federal Water Pollution Control Act
amended. Further strengthened enforcement
authority and increased support for construc-
tion of municipal waste treatment works and
Water Quality Act, further amending the
Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Estab-
lished a Federal Water Pollution Control
Administration in Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare. Required establish-
ment of water quality standards for all in-
terstate and coastal waters.
Federal Water Pollution Control Administra-
tion transferred to Department of the Interior
under President's Reorganization Plan No. 2.
Clean Water Restoration Act, further amend-
ing Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
Greatly increased authorizations for grants
to help build sewage treatment plants, for
research, and for grants to Stale water pollu-
tion Control programs. Transferred adminis-
tration of the Oil Pollution Act from the
Secretary of the Army to the Secretary of the

As the Nation's principal conservation agency the Dpn^rfmnrvi- 4
responsibilities for water, fish, wildlife mineral i-mH rf^ru P e ,n?:erior has basic
Resources. Jerritorial affairs are other major concerns of America's '¦Department Statural

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CWA-11 October 1968