Critique of Water Pollution Control Act

by Anthony H. J. Dorcey, Asst. to Dir.; Westwater Res. Ctr., Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada,
Irving K. Fox, Dir.; Westwater Res. Ctr., Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 1, Pg. 141-151

Document Type: Journal Paper


Questions are raised as to the appropriateness of the institutional arrangements for water quality management established by the Federal Water Quality Act Amendments of 1972, in particular the arrangements for setting standards for planning, and for financing. The institutional arrangements envisaged by the Act are described and the effects of implementation illustrated by applying them to the Wisconsin River. Definitions are suggested for the terms institution and institutional arrangement and four normative criteria: representation, information generation, effectiveness, and efficiency; and for evaluating the new arrangements in the light of the management problem that is characterized. Questions are raised as to whether the national Congress can adequately represent the diverse values associated with alternative water quality management decisions, whether the enormous bureaucracy can be expected to generate information that reflects popular preferences, and whether more regulations coupled with larger grants are likely to be effective in controlling water pollution.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Water pollution | Quality control | Federal government | Financing | Rivers and streams | Terminology and definition | Coupling

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