The Ruhr and the Delaware

by Allen V. Kneese,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1966, Vol. 92, Issue 5, Pg. 83-94

Document Type: Journal Paper


The water-quality management system established over a period of 50 yr by river basin authorities (Genossenschaften) in the Ruhr area of Germany is described. The example of this system has much to contribute to effective and efficient water-quality management in the Delaware Basin, especially in the areas of the system design and operation, economic incentives to reduce waste, and finance. The Genossenschaften have included unorthodox techniques such as river-flow regulation, instream treatment, waste recovery, and mechanical reaeration of streams in their system. They have also built treatment plants at locations where they make the maximum contribution to stream improvement, and brought waste from diverse cities and communities together for more efficient and effective treatment. The system is financed by means of effluent charges levied on all waste dischargers in the area. This provides an economic incentive to reduce waste discharge. These methods are of particular interest for the Delaware because an institution (The Delaware River Basin Commission) exists which has the authority to implement an effective program of regional water quality management.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Rivers and streams | Basins | Systems management | Economic factors | Quality control | Financial management | River flow | Delaware | United States | Germany | Europe

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