Legal Perspective on Water Quality Management

by Douglas R. Blazey, Dir.; Bureau of Administrative Enforcement and Asst. Attorney General, Dept. of Environmental Resources, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pa.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 5, Pg. 595-601

Document Type: Journal Paper


This paper focuses upon the need of governmental agencies to have statutory authority to perform planning functions. If plans so produced are to be implemented, authority must be found to give plans compulsive force. Pennsylvania has authority of both types and is undertaking a comprehensive wastewater management planning process (COWAMP). The relationship between the state Department of Environmental Resources (DER) and municipal governments is analyzed. The paper also considers the DER's authority to deny permits for sewage projects that meet water quality goals, but do not satisfy or are inconsistent with comprehensive planning requirements. The DER obligation to consider broad environmental issues when evaluating applications for specific projects, and to articulate standards between the municipal and state planning authority is reviewed. A cooperative relationship between the municipal and state planning authority is developed. Finally, the legal impact of restricting an individual's use of land is examined. The writer concludes that sound environmental controls will be upheld.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Quality control | Local government | Environmental issues | Legal affairs | Wastewater management | Waste management | Industrial wastes | Pennsylvania | United States

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