Evolution of 208 Water-Quality Planning

by Leon G. Billings, Sen. Professional Staff Member; U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 11, Pg. 54-55


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: In writing the 1972 Water Pollution Control Act Amendments, Congress realized water pollution from non-point sources was a serious problem and would be difficult for the federal government to regulate. Accordingly, instead of establishing a non-point-source regulatory program, Congress created Section 208 planning, leading to management of all sources of water pollution on an area-wide basis. 208 planning is not land-use planning — though some communities may choose to develop land-use plans to deal with growth-related problems. Congress wanted development in all areas to be viewed in the context of water pollution. The 208 planner asks: What impact will a particular land-use decision have on water quality? Will there be a discharge? Will there be impermeable surfaces? Will there be a non-point-source problem? In sum, the public has a right to expect government agencies to anticipate the environmental impacts of both public and private land-use decisions.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Federal laws | Water pollution | Effluents | Environmental issues

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