« PreviousContinue »
boating and water skiing, particularly on lakes and reservoirs. Public Health Service studies are showing significant concentrations in such waters of oil, lead, and combustion products from outboard motor exhausts. The continued increase predicted for motorboating and water skiing indicates that serious attention should be given to the exhaust problem.
Navigation is an old and continuing source of water pollution in estuaries, barbors, and coastal waters. Ship pollution consists of bilge waters, sanitary sewage, garbage, oils, and whatever can be thrown overboard. Few ships afloat today, even those of recent design, have any facilities for the collection, treatment, or disposal of shipboard wastes. Laws and harbor regulations are very difficult to enforce.
The St. Lawrence Seaway has opened the Great Lakes to 30 percent of the world's commercial vessels. With ships from all parts of the world entering and harboring in waters adjacent to public water supply intakes, the chances are greatly enhanced for waterborne disease transmission, and particularly those diseases from other countries which have long been gone from the American scene or never gained a foothold here.
As a result of scientific and technological developments in recent years, new and difficult problems in water supply and pollution control have been created. Synthetic organic chemicals are relatively new pollutants of increasing concern, resulting from new chemical technology. Included in this category are detergents and other household aids, all the new synthetic organic pesticides, synthetic industrial chemicals of a wide variety, and the wastes from their manufacture. The number, variety, and tonnages of these chemicals is increasing rapidly each year. As pollutants, they are characterized by their toxicity, or potential toxicity, to fish and aquatic life and possibly humans, their often extreme stability and persistence in the water environment, and their resistance to removal by conventional water and waste treatment processes. Perhaps the most important emerging land-drainage problem today involves the tremendous increase in the use of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides include those chemicals designed for use as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, miticides, nematocides, fumigants, defoliants, plant growth hormones, and soil conditioner. This land-drainage pollution cannot be collected and treated as can be done with most common types of wastes, but must be controlled during the chemicals application.
Production of synthetic pesticides in 1958 amounted to more than 500 million pounds and most of this production was used by U.S. farmers. Each new pesticide introduced on the market is generally more toxic than its predecessor, Some indication of the magnitude of the problem in the immediate years ahead has been given by an official of American Cyanamid Co.'s pesticides-products department who has predicted a tenfold increase in pesticide output in the next 20 years. This could mean, in 1980, pesticide production amounting to more than 5 billion pounds annually.
Most pesticides are not removed by ordinary water and waste treatment processes. Although there are no recorded incidents of acute toxic effects on lumans through water supplies, some pesticides have this potential. As the use of these chemicals increases, chronic effects of their long-term ingestion may Fell be of greater significance than acute toxicity. Analysis of samples taken n connection with several Public Health Service investigations and the national ater-quality basic data network program has shown the presence of pesticides
most of our major rivers. The U.S. farmer is using more and more chemical fertilizers. The growth fertilizer tonnage and nutrient content is shown by the following figures :
Growth in 1.8. fertilizer tonnage and nutrient content
Fertilizers applied to agricultural lands find their way into natural waters principally during runoff and from soil leachings. Stream pollution from agricultural fertilizers, supplemented by the increasing amounts of nutrients from municipal and industrial wastes, is becoming a water pollution problem that may reach national significance. A widespread increase in the growth of nuisance organisms and plants stimulated by fertilizers would have serious degrading effects on water quality and use.
Water pollution from radioactive substances may result from the mining and processing of radioactive ores; from the use of refined radioactive materials in power reactors and for industrial, medical, and research purposes; and from fallout following nuclear weapons testing.
Progress, under the provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, leading toward containment of public health problems resulting from water pollution are illustrated by portions of the fiscal year 1962 Annual Report of The Division of Water Supply and Pollution Control.
1. There was a 22-percent increase over the preceding year in municipal sewage treatment construction stimulated by the construction grants program. Approved were 754 projects to which the Federal grants contributed $65 million and local governments $332 million, a ratio of about 1 to 5.
2. Grant funds to State and interstate agencies, increased from $3 to $5 million per year under the 1961 legislation, have enabled most of the States to expand their water pollution control programs. Stimulated by these program grants, water pollution control budgets of 33 States showed substantial increases in 1962 over 1961.
3. To maintain continuous intelligence on the nature and extent of pollution, the national water quality network of major watercourse sampling stations was enlarged from 91 to 121, with 300 as the ultimate goal.
4. The 3-step Federal enforcement procedure conference, public hearing, and court action-has been initiated in 20 situations, 5 in fiscal year 1962. Twenty-four States and the District of Columbia have been parties to these actions. They involve some 250 municipalities and about the same number of industries, mostly in large metropolitan complexes. More than 5,000 miles of major water bodies are affected.
5. Research activities include both intramural projects at the Cincinnati center and extramural research projects supported by grants in some 80 universities and other institutions in about 40 States. Together, they seek answers to such problems as wastes origin; more efficient and economical characterization, treatment and disposal of wastes; improved methods in water quality measurement: and the supplementation and conservation of water supplies. Research grants awarded during the year supported 159 projects totaling $2.67 million.
6. Fellowships totaling $98.000 were established to support scientists and engi. neers at academic institutions in 16 States and 1 foreign country; 11 demonstration (applied research) grants totaling $300,000 were awarded in 10 States; and 23 grants totaling $693,000 were awarded to institutions in 13 States to establish or expand graduate training programs in the field of water supply and pollution control.
7. Comprehensive water pollution control programs to protect and conserve water quality for all uses for a projected period of 50 years have initiated or expanded in six major river basins. Another in the Arkansas-Red Rivers Basin is nearing completion, with final recommendations for control scheduled to be presented to the Congress in January 1963. In addition, field study projects on problems of national significance have been established with respect to the effects of pesticides on water quality and of recreational uses on water supply reservoirs,
In additon to its legislated programs, the Department has additional responsibilities of providing specialized technical services to other Federal agencies relating to water supply and pullution control. These stem from the Department's membership on the Interagency Committee on Water Resources on U.S. study commissions, its agreements with other Federal agencies, services required by international commissions, and special needs of States and regional jurisdictions.
Technical services under interagency agreements represent a major and expanding activity. Of particular significance in Federal reservoir construction are provisions in the Water Supply Act of 1958 and in the 1961 amendments to the Water Pollution Control Act requiring, respectively, a determination of needs and value of municipal and industrial water supply, and for streamflow regulation for quality control.
Being a national problem, water supply and pollution control generates the need for action at all levels, resulting in a five-way sharing of responsibility. In broad terms, these responsibilities are defined as follows:
1. The State has primary responsibility for water pollution control. It sets the standards in its jurisdiction, and applies its laws and regulations, including intrastate enforcement. It conducts surveys and investigations, collects and analyzes data, provides technical assistance to local governments and industry including training, and does developmental research.
2. Local governments construct and operate municipal sewage treatment works, conduct surveys, provide technical assistance and consultation to industries, and enforce their regulations and ordinances,
3. Industries are responsible for their own pollution. They institute in-plant waste reductions, and construct and operate waste treatment works if separate from municipalities. Industries make alterations in the plant or adopt new processes to reduce or eliminate pollutants. They conduct research to develop or improve waste treatment processes, and to reduce waste pollution.
4. Universities are responsible for conducting research and for training engineering and scientific manpower needed by the other jurisdictions. They also provide technical services and consultation.
5. The Federal Government supplements and supports the programs of the other four,
Regulation.---Most States prefer to use persuasion in getting municipalities and industries to construct needed waste treatment facilities. However, when reasonable efforts at persuasion have failed, all States should vigorously apply their own enforcement measures, and almost all have workable enforcement laws.
Federal enforcement jurisdiction was extended to all navigable or interstate waters by the 1961 amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare is directed to institute Federal proceedings for the control of pollution of such waters whenever requested by the Governor of any State or a State water pollution control agency, or (with the concurrence of the Governor and of the State agency for the State in which the municipality is situated) the governing body of any municipality, when the pollution is endangering the health or welfare of persons in a State other than that in which the pollution originates (interstate pollution). Whenever pollution is endangering the health or welfare of persons only in the State in which the pollution discharge originates (intrastate pollution), the Secretary shall invoke Federal proceedings when requested to do so by the Governor of that State if the effects of the pollution are sufficient to warrant Federal intervention. Whenever the Secretary has reason to believe that interstate pollution is occurring, he is directed to proceed with Federal enforcement action on his own initiative.
Enforcement actions, both State and Federal, will undoubtedly be invoked more frequently in the future. Supporters of water pollution control are increasing their demands for more aggressive enforcement programs.
While water pollution control measures are sometimes expensive, it is not believed that their cost would be a deciding factor in trade competition resulting from the economic growth of other nations. All developed nations today have water pollution problems much the same as those in the United States, and some are more serious. These nations are also spending large sums of money for water pollution control, as will the emerging nations as they develop.
The Public Health Service provides technical services to two international commissions, the International Joint Commission (United States and Canada) and the International Boundary and Water Commission (United States and Mexico). Increased economic and population growth along our international water will result in increased water pollution. The machinery provided by these two international commissions should, however, provide for effective pollution control measures.
RESEARCH GRANTS The increasing number and variety of environmental health hazards and problems require the ingenious application of every conceivable research methodology, skill, and talent. A number of manpower problems are related to the research effort. Because of the critical shortage of environmental health personnel in the United States, we must do many things with few people. We, therefore, are aiming at the best and brightest students. Naturally such students will be nt
tracted to, and challenged by, research problems, opportunities, and facilities. The rapid and accelerating developments in science and technology require that our graduate education system prepare students not only for today's problems, but also for tomorrow's, and possible solutions.
Further, the shortage of professional manpower requires that we utilize existing resources to the fullest. Effective research is one means of assuring maximum utilization of limited manpower. This, in turn, requires the establishment and maintenance on a nationwide basis of some system of research intelligence. It has been estimated that the scientific literature in physics is doubling every 10 years and in chemistry every 89,2 years. It is estimated that medical research literature alone is now so vast that it is quite beyond anyone's capacity to review even a fratcion of it, and we are reaching the point at which all except the most outstanding discoveries will be repeated at 30-year intervals. It is obvious that something in the form of prompt, complete, and effective communications must be developed to solve the problem of coping with the ever-increasing magnitude of scientific information,
The Bureau of State Services (environmental health) has completed preliminary plans for establishing a scientific data processing storage and retrieval system for improved extramural grants management and to facilitate scientific communication in environmental health. The plan is now being implemented as a pilot operation, starting with the data processing of grant-supported research and training in the environmental health sciences. As experience is gained, the system will be expanded to include research and training grants data for each of the categorical areas. In developing the system, attention was given to increasing its usefulness by making it flexible and compatible with other known scientific information systems. As programed now, it will be possible to include information from the National Library of Medicine and from other Federal agencies, such as the Science Information Exchange, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Armed Services Technical Information Agency.
To further the research effort in environmental health will require increased health research facilities. During fiscal year 1962, 12 institutions received grants totaling $3 million for research facilities. During fiscal year 1963, 16 additional applications have been received approximating $4 million, but with the present budget limitations it is not likely any of these will be funded.
The following is a summary of research grant support by principal area in the environmental health categorical programs and environmental health sciences.
Obligations for fiscal year 1963 have not been completed, but it appears that the subject matter groupings listed above will reflect a similar distribution.
The $2,892,000 apportionment for research grants in fiscal year 1963 will permit the awarding of approximately 120 projects.
The total needs of an adequate air pollution control program also include research activities in the social sciences (economics, sociology, and community planning) and the humanities (law). A general research grants program in these areas should be initiated consistent with program needs. There are in addition two general areas of need in the field of research grants which are of primary importance. The first is for a substantial increase and acceleration of program-oriented research, research directed toward solving specific practical problems. The second is for more basic research in areas which may provide fundamental information useful in the resolution of air pollution research problems.
Obligations for fiscal year 1963 have not as yet been completed. However, subject matter groupings are not expected to vary materially, as approximately 90 percent of the above grants have continuances into this year.
The $3,924,000 apportionment for research grants in fiscal year 1963 will permit the support of approximately 200 projects.
The present program is supporting some research in each of the broad areas of program responsibility. The depth and scope of such research, however, leaves much to be desired. In the field of food microbiology, more effort is needed to define the role of virus contamination and the significance of shifts in microecology resulting from changes in food processing. In toxicology, there is urgent need for safer and less expensive methods for the detection and assessment of toxicity in foods and for better understanding of the fate of pesticides in plants, animals, and soil. Probably the greatest need for program expansion lies in the area of environmental engineering in the urban setting. The trend toward population concentration in metropolitan centers is placing unprecedented demands on environmental engineering services in such areas. Research, bringing the skills of social scientists to supplement those of engineers, is urgently needed to identify and quantitate relationships between urban growth and provision for environmental engineering services and facilities.
Actual figures for fiscal year 1963 are not available but it appears that subject latter distribution will be similar to that shown above. The $1,766,000 apportionment for research grants in fiscal year 1963 will perit the support of approximately 61 projects. The total minimum needs for an adequate research program in occupational ealth would include: studies on the impact of the psychological and social ctors of the work environment on health ; development of more sensitive methIs for measuring individual exposure to a variety of noxious agents; and eatly increased support in the occupational health, epidemiology, environmental easurements, occupational dermatoses, and communicative projects area.