Public Water Supply Protection Benefits

by Michael B. Sonnen, (M.ASCE), Consulting Engr.; Walnut Creek, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 3, Pg. 511-523

Document Type: Journal Paper


Public Law 92-500, in Section 302, required in one place that EPA promulgate waste discharge requirements in some cases more stringent than best available technology. But, on the other hand, it also permitted these requirements to be waived or relaxed if the discharger could show that there is no reasonable relationship between the social and economic costs and benefits to be obtained. . . Methods for making such determinations are presented. Relationships are shown graphically between water contaminant concentrations and the percentage of the water-using public expected to have an adverse health or other reaction (suffer a damage). The downstream benefits (health and other damages avoided) by installing the upstream waste treatment are compared to the waste treatment costs. In a hypothetical case, over –500,000/yr are shown to be reasonable and justifiable waste treatment costs.

Subject Headings: Waste treatment | Water supply | Social factors | Public health and safety | Rivers and streams | Environmental Protection Agency | Economic factors | Benefit cost ratios

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