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Water Quality Standards, Ecotoxicology and Federal regulations affecting Water Quality.

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Presentation on theme: "Water Quality Standards, Ecotoxicology and Federal regulations affecting Water Quality."— Presentation transcript:

1 Water Quality Standards, Ecotoxicology and Federal regulations affecting Water Quality

2 Pollution Control Goal - Emphasis on Sustainable Development Ability to satisfy basic needs of society today without compromise of those for future generations Management of natural resources so that present and future beneficial uses are not impaired Approach Holistic/multi-media Integrated/cost-effective Focus on public health and environmental protection

3 Federal Pollution Control Act Amendments 1972 (Clean Water Act 72) Objective - “Restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters” “national goals”: –Achieve a level of water quality which “provides for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish and wildlife” and “for recreation in and on the water” by July 1, 1983 –Eliminate the discharge of pollutants into United States waters by 1985.

4 The Clean Water Act of 1987 Main Elements: Reconfirmed goals of 1972 Act A system of national effluent standards for each industry/municipality Technology based/water quality based standards Focus on toxics Non-point source pollution control Residual Management

5 Strategy Determination of Water Quality Criteria based on water’s designated use Identification/Monitoring Standard Setting –Identify/inventory all potentially hazardous pollutants –Estimate potential environmental impact Where do they go? what changes may occur and under what conditions? consequent ecological significance? –Social, political and economic considerations Permits and Enforcement

6 Criteria and Standards Criteria - quality solely based on scientific determination, not legally enforceable. Standards – legally enforceable, defines acceptable quality related to unique local situation involving political, economic and social factors.

7 Ecotoxicology Introduction Ecotoxicology is concerned with the toxic effects of chemical and physical agents on living organisms, especially on populations and communities within defined ecosystems; it includes the transfer pathway of those agents and their interactions with the environment.

8 Studies include: Ambient levels and speciation of toxic contaminants in water their accumulation in biota; the functional response of biological species and populations to specific chemicals Importance: environmental impact assessment risk assessment risk management environmental policy

9 Risk Management and Risk Assessment working together Risk characterization Does response assessment Hazard identification Exposure assessment Regulatory decision Controls Options Risk assessment Risk Management

10 Interaction of Pollutants with Natural Systems Emission of contaminants Behavior and fate of chemicals - depend on chemical, physical, and biological properties which influence transport, transformation and bioavailability Effect on living organisms Effect on ecosystem

11 Transport and transformation processes for pollutants


13 Ecological bases of Ecotoxicology Ecosystem –a physical and chemical environment-biotope –a community of living beings - biocenose –various biological integration levels in ecosystem –distribution of populations depends closely on the physicochemical characteristics of the biotopes (zonation phenomena).

14 The basis for determining the effects of contaminants on ecosystem is at organism level At organism level, response can be: –Acute toxicity causing mortality –Chronically accumulating damage ultimately causing death –Sublethal impairment of various aspects of physiology and morphology –Sublethal behavioral effects –Measurable biochemical changes Ecological bases of Ecotoxicology (Cont’d)

15 At population level, response can be: –Size and dynamics (based on birth rates, death rates, gains, from immigration and losses from emigration) –Cause a reduction or an increase in the natural flowchart of numbers, in the biomass, sex ratio, etc. At community level, response can be: –species diversity –predator prey relationship, etc Change in ecosystem –nutrient cycling rates, patterns of nutrient flow, –physical-chemical conditions etc. Ecological bases of Ecotoxicology (Cont’d)

16 Example 1 What will happen When Raw Domestic Sewage from a Sewered Community of 40,000 people flows into a stream?


18 Example 2 - Effluent Standards (technology based standards) and Stream standards (water quality based standards) BAT (Best Available Technology) and BCT (Best Conventional Technology) Enforcement - National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES), section 402 of Clean Water Act 72.

19 Degradation of water quality occurs even when effluents with technology based standards are still going to exceed the assimilative capacity of receiving water. Water quality based standards - Total Maximum Daily Load (enforcement via. NPDES) Effluent Standard and Stream Standards (continued)

20 Example 3 Water Quality Based Toxics Control I. Introduction New EPA policy for the development of water quality based permit limitations for toxic pollutants Regulation of toxics difficult Whole effluent approach II. Whole Effluent Approach Procedure: Dilute effluent by various dilution factors Use receiving water for dilute Place organisms in test chambers for given time period At given time periods, count organisms for endpoints Develop NOEL = AF * LC 50 -96 hr, TUc = 100/NOEL Permit limits can be expressed as LC 50 or NOEL’S

21 III. Advantages and Disadvantages 1. Chemical-specific approach (toxicity bioassay) a. Advantages: Treatment more easily designed Fate of pollutant can be modeled Chemical analysis can be less expensive bioassay Specific problem chemicals can be directly limited at source b. Disadvantages: All toxicants may not be known Not always clear which compounds toxic Expensive to measure individual toxics Bioavailability, interactions not measured nor known Water Quality Based Toxics Control (cont’d)

22 2. Whole Effluent Approach a. Advantages: Aggregate toxicity of all constituents measured Toxics effect(s) limited by limiting one parameter, TU Bioavailability of toxics assessed Effects of interactions measured b. Disadvantages: Effluent toxicity treatability data lacking Where chemical/physical changes act in such a way to “release” downstream, not measured Properties of specific chemicals in complex effluents not assessed –Bioaccumulation –Carcinogenicity Water Quality Based Toxics Control (cont’d)

23 Summary Ecotoxicology provides the scientific basis for environmental protection policy –Determine fate/behavior of contaminants –risk assessment/management –water quality standard setting Emerging science, holistic, multi-discipline approach needed to: –further elucidate the vital signs of ecosystem health –diagnose early warning symptoms of ecosystem stress –assess the sensitivity and long-term response of ecosystems to low doses of contaminants; and, –formulate proper treatment protocols for ecosystem rehabilitation

24 Federal and state regulations: Water Quality Act of ‘65. National Environmental Policy Act (‘69). Water Pollution Control Act (‘48 - ‘72). Federal Pollution Control Act Amendments 1972 (Clean Water Act ’72). Safe Drinking Water Act (‘74, ‘86). Clean Water Act (‘87). IL Groundwater Protection Act (‘87).

25 Water Quality Act of 1965: This established water quality standards for interstate waters. This as well as other prior legislation was based primarily on issues of commerce (interstate, international trade).

26 National Environmental Policy Act (1969): The 1969 National Environmental Policy Act established the National Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). – The creation of the EPA increased the separation of water quality programs from other water programs.

27 Water Pollution Control Act: The Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was amended from ‘56 to ‘72 to fund response to water pollution issues. Funding rose from $50 million in ‘66 to $1.25 billion by ‘72 (Clean Water Act). Unfortunately, much of this legislation lacked enforceability.

28 National goals – Eliminate the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985 - Zero charge. – Interim water quality level that would achieve “fishable/swimmable” uses. – Prohibit the discharge of toxic pollutants The 1972 Clean Water Act:

29 The Clean Water Act combined construction of treatment facilities with enforcement procedures to ensure compliance with established standards for navigable waters.

30 The Clean Water Act 72 and the 1987 Clean Water Act : The Clean Water Act was revised in 1977 to give states primary responsibility for water quality and water use. The Clean Water Act was re-authorized again in 1987 as the Clean Water Act and revised to include control of non-point sources of pollution.

31 1990 Oil Pollution Control Act 1969-’75 - Intl. Commission on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage. 1971-’78 - International Fund for Compensation established. 1990 - in response to the Exxon Valdez spill, OPA enacted. – Extended current CWA spill provisions. – Created new section on liability and compensation.

32 Other legislation related to water quality Toxic Substances Control Act (1976). Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976). Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund).

33 The Safe Drinking Water Act: Established in 1974 to insure uniform safety and quality of drinking water by identifying contaminants and estab-lishing maximum acceptable levels. Revised in 1986 to focus more closely on groundwater protection. Criminal penalties were also established for violations.

34 The Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL’s) were initially (‘74) set for only a few parameters (bacteria, chemicals, etc.) – 1986 amendments provided for eighty-three primary contaminants by 1989 and addition of twenty-five more every three years. – 1996 amendments provided for “right to know” public notification of contaminants.

35 The Illinois Groundwater Protection Act (IGPA): Established in 1987, this Act was designed to provide for a comprehensive program for protection of groundwater in Illinois. One of Illinois primary problems for groundwater contamination is leaking underground storage tanks (LUST).

36 Groundwater quality classification: Class I (drinking) Class II (irrigation) Class III (fish, aquatic life, livestock) Class IV (industrial) Class V (geothermal) Class VI (unsuitable or unusable)

37 Surface water quality classification: Class AA, A (drinking) Class B (bathing and swimming) Class C (fish propagation and fishing) Class D (fish survival)

38 Summary: Primary federal legislation affecting water quality and treatment include the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Two approaches to establishing standards for water quality include Technology-based and Water Quality-based standards.

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