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power to compel action in areas outside the jurisdiction of urban governments and, in many cases, their greater capital resources.

It is unlikely that the urban areas will secure an active State role unless they have sufficient political resources to force State action. In New Jersey and California, the strength of urban electorates has been great enough to maintain the support of a succession of Governors and a majority of the lower house of the State legislature (apportioned on the basis of population) for an active State urban water role. The predominance of the urban electorate in New Jersey also assured passage of a bond referendum after sections of the State and the political parties had reconciled their differences.

In California, the heavily populated southern counties, sometimes by a margin of over 4 to 1, provided enough votes to predominate in the California water bond referendum. Although 45 of California's 58 counties voted against the proposal, it was approved by a vote of 3,008,328 to 2,834,384. In effect, the southern water-short counties were able to prevail over the less populated, but more richly endowed, northern counties.

When a State undertakes to provide its urban areas with water, a variety of urban and nonurban interests are directly affected. As a result, solutions must be acceptable to statewide rather than regional or municipal interests. For example, one possible solution to northern New Jersey's water shortage is diversion of Delaware River water. While the northern New Jersey urban areas saw the Delaware only as a source of water, the State had a dual interest. From the point of view of State officials, the Delaware was an eventual source of water for northern New Jersey, but even more important was the requirement for sufficient Delaware water to maintain streamflows essential to industrial development in the Trenton and Camden areas.

These complexities do not necessarily negate the role of the State in developing future water supplies. There is every reason to believe that such activity will increase and, indeed, in such a situation the State is the most appropriate unit of government to make decisions between a number of metropolitan areas and industrial and rural users competing for the same water supply. Even a metropolitan water authority embracing, for example, the entire New York City-New Jersey metropolitan area could not take full and objective account of Trenton and Camden area needs. The point is simply that urban interests must accept reduced control over their own utility development when they seek to utilize the increased capabilities that some State governments can offer.


Federal water resource activities affect urban water supply and waste disposal both directly and indirectly. Federal research, planning, and assistance programs in the fields of water pollution control, sewage treatment, and water supply have a direct impact on utility service in urban areas. The major Federal water resource activities navigation, flood control, irrigation, and multipurpose river basin development-have important indirect effects on urban water users. Navigation and flood control projects reduce the amount of water available for other uses, including urban water supply and waste dilution. Federal irrigation policy is extremely important to western urban interests since irrigation, because of its high consumption of water, can seriously affect the quantity of water available for urban use. Cities and suburbs also derive indirect benefits from Federal river basin projects. Flood protection, navigation improvements, and inexpensive hydroelectric power are extremely important to metropolitan areas located in the river basins where Federal water agencies have been active.


The most important Federal urban water activity is financial aid for local sewage treatment plant construction. During the 1930's, Federal public works programs played a key role in maintaining an adequate level of sewage treatment facility construction. A Federal Water Pollution Control Act was placed on the books in 1948 providing for, among other things, a Federal program of research, technical assistance, grants to the States for industrial waste control, and low-interest construction loans. Although authority for sewage treatment works construction loans was authorized at that time, no funds were appropriated Congress. After a number of years of effort, the tremendous lag in sewage treatment investment led Congress to enact the Water Pollution Control Act of 1956. Grants of $50 million a year

for 10 years were authorized to assist cities in the construction of

sewage treatment plants. Half the authorization was reserved for communities with populations of 125,000 or less.

Maximum Federal participation in any project was limited to $250,000 or 30 percent of construction costs, whichever was smaller. Federal funds are allocated through the States. Generally the State's share has been allocated to local governments by the water pollution control agency or State health department on the basis of a formula reflecting both financial needs and the severity of the local pollution situation.

Federal grant appropriations under the 1956 law provided significant incentives for communities to step up their investments in sewage treatment facilities. During the 5 years preceding passage of the bill, the contract awards for sewage treatment plant construction averaged $222 million. In the 4 years following enactment, construction contract awards showed an average increase of 62 percent, amounting to almost $360 million per year. Thirty-five States reached their highest treatment plant construction levels in the first 2 years of the program. By mid-1961, 2,700 sewage treatment projects costing a total of $1.3 billion and serving 27 million people had received Federal assistance. The total Federal contribution was $225 million; thus each Federal dollar was matched by $4.80 in local funds.18

Experience to date with the grant program refutes the frequent contention that Federal assistance stiffes local and State initiative. The evidence is clear that Federal grants have spurred local activity. There is little indication that the States as a whole had the willingness or the resources to provide similar inducement. Moreover, the vast majority of State health and water pollution control agencies vigorously support this Federal activity. Finally, rather than serving to stifle State initiative, the Federal grant program has led to the enactment of supplemental State programs for sewage treatment in a number of States, including New York, Maine, Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

17 U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Public Works, Federal Water Pollution Control Hearings, 87th Cong., 1st sess., 1961, pp. 12–13.

is Cohen and Sonosky, op. cit., p. 109.

In 1961, Congress authorized substantial increases in the sewage treatment program. Grants of $80 million for 1962, $90 million for 1963, and $100 million for each of the following 4 years were authorized. Earlier restrictions on the construction of larger facilities were eased somewhat with an increase in the maximum individual grant from $250,000 to $600,000 or 30 percent of the cost of construction, whichever is the lesser. In addition, the 1961 amendments for the first time provided encouragement for communities to join together in constructing projects to serve their common needs. Previously, the maximum grant provisions applied to the total project cost regardless of the number of participating communities. Now the limitation applies to each community's share. Thus individual communities are not penalized for joint action by receiving less Federal aid, and they are generally rewarded by the lower per capita cost of a larger project. This legislation, however, contains no direct financial inducements for areawide or comprehensive approaches, as in several other Federal programs.

In a related area of Federal activity, the program of advances for public works planning under section 702 of the Housing Act of 1954 administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides interest-free advances (to be repaid when construction commences) to aid in planning and designing public works projects, including water and sewer systems. A primary purpose of this program is to encourage public agencies to maintain an adequate reserve of planned public works. One of the requirements for approval of specific proposals is that no advance shall be made for an individual project, including a regional or metropolitan or other area wide project, unless it conforms to an overall State, local, or regional plan approved by a competent State, local, or regional authority. As the program is administered, if no general plan exists the conforming requirement is dropped.

Experience with the planning advance program suggests that there is a widespread need for planning water and sewage facility projects. Although planning advances may be made for any public work that communities have the legal authority to plan, finance, and construct, 60 percent of all applications approved since the beginning of the program have been water and sewer projects.

The public facility loans program, also administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides financial assistance to municipalities and other local public bodies for constructing essential public works where such financing is not otherwise available on reasonable terms. It is noteworthy that during 1964, 80 percent of all projects approved for loan were sewer and water projects.

In a major extension of these earlier programs, the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 authorizes Federal grants to finance up to 50 percent of the development cost of local water and sewer facilities. Projects receiving Federal aid under this new program must be consistent with a reawide plans for water or sewer systems as part of the comprehensively planned development of the area.


All navigable water bodies of the United States, including coastal waters, are now subject to Federal pollution control jurisdiction. Action to abate intrastate pollution can be initiated only at the request of the Governor of the State. A request for Federal action to abate interstate pollution may also be initiated by a municipality, if such request has the concurrence of the Governor and the State : water pollution control body. The Secretary of the Interior, on his own initiative rather than waiting for a State request, may call a conference as a preliminary step in the Federal enforcement procedure "whenever, on the basis of reports, surveys, or studies, he has reason to believe that any pollution * * endangering the health or welfare of persons in the State other than that in which the discharge or discharges originate is occurring.” 19 Under the 1965 amendments to the Water Quality Act, the establishment of water quality standards for interstate waters is required by June 30, 1967. If the States fail to adopt acceptable standards, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to establish them directly. The underlying objective of Federal water pollution control policy is, however, to strengthen State water quality programs so that problems can be resolved at the State level without Federal action.

Federal enforcement procedure has three stages. First, there is a conference with all affected interests, public and private. For example, at a recent conference on pollution in Puget Sound, the Washington Pollution Control Commission invited representatives of pulp and paper mills, other industries utilizing Puget Sound for waste disposal, mayors, county health officers, sportsmen's councils, Federal agencies, fisheries groups, State legislators, members of the University of Washington faculty, and oficials of the Association of Washington Cities, the Seattle Harbor Advisory Committee, the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, and the North west Pulp & Paper Association.

If the problem cannot be worked out at the conference, a public hearing is held before a board appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. The final step, when necessary, is Federal court action. As of May 1965 only one case had gone to court.

The Public Health Service has estimated that conferences and hearings will have resulted in construction of about $500 million of waste treatment facilities. Since 1956, 34 enforcement actions have been undertaken, involving 40 States, the District of Columbia, and 1,000 municipalities and about the same number of industrial plants; 7,000 miles of major waterways were affected by these actions.

In general, the cooperative approach of the Public Health Service has been successful. In most instances, State health departments and water pollution control agencies have welcomed Federal assistance in enforcing of State water pollution controls. The combination of Federal assistance grants under the 1956 act, in conjunction with conferences and hearings, has often been successful in securing the construction of municipal sewage treatment facilities.

Federal enforcement action is particularly appropriate to control industrial pollution and may in fact be the only effective governmental approach to this problem. The recent Puget Sound Water Pollution Control Conference grew out of the inability of the State of Washington to control pollution by seven pulp and papermills bordering Puget Sound, resulting in the discharge of organic wastes equivalent in volume to the wastes produced by a population of 8 million. The capabilities of individual communities, metropolitan areas, and States are inherently limited in the fight against industrial pollution. Effective procedures for industrial pollution abatement must be of sufficient scope to avoid penalizing particular communities or States that undertake control programs. The reluctance of States to control industries, out of fear that the industries will flee to other States, is a compelling argument for Federal control. Similar circumstances have produced Federal participation in a national unemployment insurance program, minimum wage standards, and other controls on industries in interstate commerce.

13 33 U.S.C. 466 (c)(1).

Yet Federal action has so far had only limited success in coping with industrial pollution-much less than in the case of municipal pollution abatement. While Federal programs provide incentives in the form of financial aid for municipal waste treatment, there are no comparable aids or inducements (such as special tax incentives) for industries, nor are there strong Federal enforcement powers.

Because of the technical nature of the subject, the desire to achieve voluntary compliance, and the need to safeguard defendants' rights, Federal water quality control enforcement in general tends to be extremely time consuming. The Public Health Service must make stream studies, collect and analyze water samples, and prepare its evidence prior to the holding of a conference. Conferences and hearings consume more time. When a solution has been agreed upon, a municipality must undertake engineering and financial studies, secure approval of bond issues, obtain bids, and let contracts. In St. Louis, for example, a conference on Federal enforcement procedure concerning the Mississippi River was held in March 1958; pollution abatement measures will not be put into operation until 1967.

When there is local opposition to Federal enforcement, the delays are apt to be even greater. In 1958, as a result of Public Health Service pressures, St. Joseph, Mo., held a referendum on a bond issue to raise funds to construct a sewage treatment plant. The bond issue was defeated. Two years later, after the Public Health Service issued a notice requiring a 5-year improvement program, another bond referendum was defeated even more decisively. Finally, after Federal court action in 1961, St. Joseph began to take remedial measures.

On the whole, however, the Federal enforcement program has been a successful example of intergovernmental cooperation to secure higher standards. The basic Federal procedure offers opportunities for Federal, State, private and local interests to work out satisfactory solutions. Delays are inevitable in a process set up to insure against Federal action which might be unmindful of local circumstances, Principles of cooperation and consultation break down, however, if they serve to permit interminable delays by communities and industries which are not treating wastes adequately.

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