Clean Water—An Environmental Challenge

by Percy H. McGauhey, Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 2, Pg. 375-378

Document Type: Journal Paper


In 1969 the Porter-Cologne Act in California broke through institutional constraints to link the environmental goals of society to the objectives of water pollution control technology. Historically, technology has been concerned with the concentration of coliform organisms, dissolved oxygen, BOD, and suspended solids. Such limited objectives are no longer adequate because of a broadened concept of beneficial use of water and the need to express its quality in terms of water-sediment-life relationships rather than concentration of impurities. However, the environmental goals of society derive from emotional well-springs and thus, people are expecting more environmental perfection than is possible without sacrificing the benefits of an urban-industrial-agricultural civilization. Particularly, it is necessary to recognize that achievable water quality is determined more by what happens on the land, than how rigid are water quality standards. Moreover, the time has come for engineers to break the traditional constraints of public works and engineering conservatism and to provide imaginative solutions in scale with realizable environmental objectives.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Environmental issues | Water pollution | Dissolved oxygen | Bacteria | Organisms | Turbidity | Solid mechanics

Services: Buy this book/Buy this article


Return to search