Municipal Problems with PL 92-500 M: Conformance Versus Performance

by Art V. Vondrick, (M.ASCE), Water and Sewers Dir.; Phoenix, Ariz.,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1977, Vol. 103, Issue 1, Pg. 5-15

Document Type: Journal Paper


Engineers are trained to be logical, and conscientious adminstrators responsible for the expenditure of public funds can do no less than to ask questions and expect logical, reasonable, and prudent answers. The expressed intent of Congress in passing PL 92-500, as so often quoted by the enforcers, was to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters. However, we do not seem to be focusing on that issue. Instead, we seem to be preoccupied with a list of fears and side issues, by demanding blanket performance by conformance that achieves absolutely nothing in accomplishing the objective. The national policy seems to have related Performance to a secondary concern. What should be our number one priority, Conformance or Performance? During the past couple of years, there have been many points of disagreement that are not spelled out in the Law — nor are they clearly stated in the Rules and Regulations. They are in fact, merely interpretations — individual interpretations sometimes of one or the other.

Subject Headings: Local government | Ecological restoration | Chemicals | Biological processes | Water management

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