A Perspective on the History of Environmental Regulations-Successes and Challenges in Reclaiming Polluted Waters

By:Bhatti, MI (Bhatti, M. Ilyas)1 ]

WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL AND WATER RESOURCES CONGRESS 2019: WATERSHED MANAGEMENT, IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE, AND WATER RESOURCES PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT

Edited by:Scott, GF; Hamilton, W

Pages: 160-165

Published: 2019

Document Type:Proceedings Paper

Conference

Conference: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress / 19th Annual Congress of the Environmental-and-Water-Resources-Institute (EWRI) / EWRI History and Heritage Symposium

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Date: MAY 19-23, 2019

Sponsor(s):Environm & Water Resources Inst; Amer Soc Civil Engineers, Environm & Water Resources Inst; Amer Soc Civil Engineers

Abstract

There is always a political debate how environmental regulations inhibit economic progress. However, if we look closely at the situation prior to the enactment of major congressional actions in the early 1970s, one can understand that the pollution and contamination of our environment had reached an epidemic level that propelled the environmental movement of the 1960s. Rachel Carson in her book titled Silent Spring captured the impact of indiscriminate use of pesticides such as DDT. Her book served as a wake-up call for the nation to come together to fight for the protection of our environmental resources before environmental pollution would completely destroy our water we drink and the air we breathe. The author will focus on the environmental movement of the 1960s in the United States that resulted in the passage of a number of important pieces of legislation such as the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The author will examine the success of the early planning efforts undertaken under Section 208 of the Clean Water Act in developing wastewater management plans throughout the United States with specific focus on wastewater treatment and disposal activities in Massachusetts. This paper will also examine the deterioration of our water and wastewater infrastructure after the successes of the 1980s, and how a more robust policy and leadership is needed at the national and local level to check this trend. Not only public health is endangered but economic gains could be threatened.

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