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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas 4 The Process As discussed in Chapter 3, integrated coastal management (ICM) is a dynamic and continuing process for managing coastal systems in a manner that is responsive to scientific information and human expectations. With a focus on wastewater considerations, this chapter describes the application of the various steps in the process and the tools and methods needed to implement the process for managing coastal environments. While the Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas is not aware of any particular situation in which integrated coastal management is being implemented at the fullest possible extent, it has identified several examples where elements of ICM are being developed and used. These examples are described throughout this chapter. DYNAMIC PLANNING The bulk of problem analysis and assessment takes place within the dynamic planning process (see items 1-4 in Figure 3.1). The power of dynamic planning lies in the bringing together of all relevant data and points of view to identify issues, and the use of a comparative risk assessment approach. Dynamic planning maximizes the use of information in the decision-making process. Most important, it ensures that the major risk management decisions are informed by a complete risk assessment. Set Goals In a large coastal area with multiple problems and inputs, the setting of goals is a complex and iterative process involving the balancing of expecta-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas tions from different sectors of the community. It is seemingly simple but sometimes difficult to identify the important issues relative to wastewater in our coastal environment. This difficulty is due in part to our ignorance of all the goods, services, and other values the coastal environment provides and in part to our individual goals, biases, and perceptions. Coastal resources are, for the most part, a public commons. It is therefore very important that the dynamic planning process be an open and public one that involves all sectors of the communities that may be affected. Identify Resources The first step in setting goals for coastal resources in a region is to identify and inventory those resources. This inventory should take a broad interpretation of what may be considered resources in order to arrive at a truly comprehensive starting point for integrated coastal management. It should encompass both the natural and the built environment. The most obvious resources of a region may be recreational areas (e.g., areas for boating, swimming, scuba diving, surfing) and fisheries. Also of importance would be ecological habitat, birds, wildlife, areas for aesthetic enjoyment, and other environmental attributes. Ports, shipping channels, and other features of the built environment should be included in the inventory as well. Review Existing Scientific Knowledge It is important that the goal-setting process be informed by the best available scientific information for a region. The point of this step of the process is to understand what is known about a region as well as to identify what is not known. This review should also serve to bring all participants in the goal-setting process to some common understanding of what is known about a region's resources and environmental characteristics and processes. However, incomplete and imperfect scientific knowledge is not an excuse for delaying action until more research is done. The ICM process should be used to determine if reasonable management decisions can be made, based on existing knowledge. Assess Human Expectations A key to the success of dynamic planning is the development of an adequate understanding of human expectations for coastal resources. Expectations may differ considerably from person to person. Often these different perspectives will identify issues that are quite different. Although there may be conflicting objectives or goals behind the issues, frequently
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas the underlying desires will be similar. For example, long-term viability of commercial fisheries and protection of rare species often appear to be in conflict in the short-term, but in the long-term both rely on protection of the ecosystem. Increasingly there is a variety of sophisticated social science techniques for assessing public expectations and values. Use of these techniques can be valuable and informative in addition to the traditional techniques of public hearings and comment which may often elicit only a relatively narrow, albeit important, perspective. Public Expectations. The public communicates its expectations in the form of societal values (e.g., ecosystem preservation, protection of endangered species, and pristine beach fronts) and human needs (including recreational uses, fisheries, coastal development, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, and waste management). Often values and needs will conflict with each other so it is important to understand them well. Out of such understanding those interests that may not have been immediately obvious can become more apparent. Additionally, principles for accommodating apparently conflicting uses and values can be developed. Public expectations also will change over time. Identification of new health hazards, results from risk assessments, data from monitoring programs, and results of research into ecosystem impacts lead to changes in how issues are defined over time and the identification of new problems. Issues formerly of concern are usually dropped from consideration when they no longer need as much attention. New scientific information, depending on how it is communicated to the public, can change public expectations and drastically shift public attitudes toward single issues in exclusion of others. Public expectations also differ over time and among various subgroups within the population. Recently, there has been concern about environmental inequity expressed by primarily poor and minority populations who have become increasingly alarmed that their adverse environmental exposures may be greater than for more affluent populations (EPA 1992a, b). To identify public expectations, it is necessary to involve the public in the planning process from the outset and continuously. To ensure that all issues are on the table at the outset, efforts need to be made to reach diverse groups and individuals who are concerned (NRC 1989a). While public expectations are quite diverse, a common theme often can be identified. That common interest is appreciation or use of resources. Various parts of the public tend to identify issues relative to wastewater management in terms of whether the coastal resources with which they are concerned are protected. Consumers want to be assured that seafood is plentiful and safe to consume. Surfers, divers, and swimmers want to be certain that it is safe and pleasant to be in the water and walk on the beach. Commercial and recreational fishermen expect that the productive quality of the coastal waters is protected from pollution. Residents in the region
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas may be concerned about the effect of water quality on property values and the local economy. Some want the coastal environment protected for wildlife such as marine mammals and shore birds or simply want to know that the environment is viable, healthy, and sustainable for future generations. Professional Perspectives. Just as public objectives may vary depending on the particular resource use that a segment of the population values in the marine environment, so will professional objectives vary depending on the particular expertise and interests of the professional in question. As illustrated by several examples, the range of views is vast. A public health practitioner will want to maximize the degree to which human health is protected. Traditionally this philosophy has been articulated through practices that erect the maximum number of barriers between humans and those stressors that could adversely affect human health. An environmentalist may expect maximum protection of the environment and that it remain unaltered. At the other extreme, one might find private entrepreneurs who will strive to minimize the cost of resource utilization in favor of its exploitation. In the middle might be the scientist who favors management objectives that are clearly related to well-understood scientific cause and effect relationships or an economist intent on developing marine-related resources and finding a balance between economic benefits and protection of the environment. One might also find the consulting engineer or government official who must define a wastewater control strategy that is practicably achievable, economically acceptable, and approaches the environmental objectives of the most interests. Political Decision Making. The objectives of political decisionmakers often will be unstated because the political environment is one in which the process of decision making tends to dominate the need to articulate the goals of the outcome of the process. Political leaders are often freed from the need to articulate their ultimate objectives for wastewater management. There are, however, at least two circumstances in which their objectives become clear. One happens when there is a public outcry to protect a particular resource, such as ''Save the Bay!" The second is when there is a dramatic need to exploit the marine environment for the sake of human welfare, resulting in a cry to "Save Our Jobs!" Although in the short-term they may appear to be in conflict in the political process, in the long-term (usually longer than the term of office of the relevant political leaders) these two objectives usually complement each other. Defining Issues and Setting Goals The last step in the goal-setting process is the synthesis of the information and expectations assessed in the preceding three steps into a set of
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas issues. General goals then should be set around each of these issues. While these goals define a starting point for addressing a region's problems, they can and probably should be revised as new information is discovered and public expectations shift. As the dynamic planning process proceeds, some perspectives may change and the established goals may need to be revisited. Multiway dialogues must be established to bring together the various points of view. As the foregoing discussion suggests, there is not a simply stated set of goals for wastewater management. Therefore, it follows that the selection of issues will depend somewhat on the viewpoint of the particular participants involved. These viewpoints will generally fall into one of the two general objectives for coastal protection stated in Chapter 2: 1) to restore and maintain the ecological integrity of coastal areas and 2) to maintain important human uses associated with those areas. Both views are valid when analyzed from the stance of the societal values each seeks to protect. The range of viewpoints held will determine how tradeoffs among competing interests will be established. The development of a rational set of goals, and thereby selection of issues, depends on the skilled blending and balancing of several quite different values, including: economic interests, such as those of coastal developers or commercial fishers; personalized expectations, such as those of scuba divers, swimmers, or sport fishers; rigorous scientific demands, such as those of the basic scientists; conservative analyses, such as those of the ecological and public health sciences; preservation interests, as posed by environmentalists; and fiscal considerations, as posed by public agencies, ratepayers, and taxpayers. At this stage, if a large number of issues has been identified, it may be necessary to do a risk screening in order to reduce the universe of concerns to the most major ones. For example, for a Pacific coastal area such as Santa Monica Bay, there has been no concern about dissolved oxygen in the water column, but there are significant public concerns about maintaining safety of bathing beaches, particularly near storm drain outlets. In Long Island Sound, the reopening of the extensive contaminated shellfish beds is not a high priority for most people, although it may become important in the future. On the other hand, eutrophication and associated hypoxia present a clear and growing danger to the fish and shellfish stocks of the sound, a danger about which the public is far less aware.
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Define the Geographic Extent of Concerns Once issues have been identified and goals have been set, it is time to define the geographic extent of the associated problems. The importance of this step in the dynamic planning process is that coastal problems occur on different scales. No problem can be addressed adequately and effectively if it is not tackled on the scale at which it occurs. Wastewater and stormwater associated effects occur across the spectrum of scales from very localized changes in benthic populations around the end of an outfall to large-scale nutrient enrichment due to point and nonpoint source inputs occurring over hundreds of square kilometers. Problem domains should encompass the resources affected by the issue of concern and the probable contributory sources. With the environmentally-based identification of the geographic extent of an issue, there also needs to be an involvement of the administrative authorities responsible for the relevant activities in these regions. If these authorities were not a part of the original goal-setting process, goals should be revisited with their involvement. Resources For each issue identified in the goal-setting process, there will be a relevant geographic extent of concern. These domains may relate to marine phenomena, such as current transport and upwelling; geographic boundaries, such as drainage area or ridge line; hydrologic phenomena, such as river transport; atmospheric fallout; animal behaviors, such as migration and breeding patterns; and regions for human expectations, such as the demand for products, housing, or other goods from the coastal area. Sources Known or presumed sources of contaminants must also be taken into account in defining environmental domains. Where are the outfalls and CSOs? From which portions of the watershed are nutrients being discharged? What are the significant diffuse or nonpoint sources of contaminants and nutrients? Are there septic tanks or other sources of pathogens? Are there aerial inputs of nutrients or contaminants of concern and, if so, from where? Changes in human activities may alter the contributions of various sources over time. Research and monitoring can improve understanding of the relative importance and regions of impact for various sources. Administrative Authorities While the inclusion of all important environmental processes and sources
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas of stress to the coastal resources of concern inevitably will lead to the definition of large areas of geographic extent for certain problems, the need to define areas over which management strategies can be effectively coordinated and implemented may require that areas be narrowed somewhat. In the initial analysis, however, these areas should be defined as large as necessary to include the important processes and sources of concern. Later, based on an understanding of these functions, areas of geographic extent can be narrowed in a well-informed manner. Assess and Compare Risks A central principle of ICM is that the setting of priorities for action and allocation of effort toward addressing problems should be guided by an understanding of the relative magnitudes of risks to ecologic and human health. Thus, the third major step in the dynamic planning process is to assess and compare risks. Assessing Risk Risk assessment is a tool to distill large amounts of scientific and technical information into a form that indicates where the greatest threats to human and ecosystem health are likely to occur. It is an analytic tool that can be used to estimate potential adverse impacts of urban wastewater and stormwater on the various organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems inhabiting coastal waters, as well as on the various uses we make of the coastal environment. Risk assessments have been used extensively to determine human cancer risk (NRC 1983). More recently, risk assessments have been used to address other human health outcomes such as reproductive toxicity and developmental impairment. Of late, the risk assessment paradigm has been extended beyond human health to broader environmental and ecosystem impacts (EPA 1990, NRC 1993). The results of such assessments can inform risk managers of the probability and extent of environmental impacts resulting from exposure to different levels of stress. This process allows the maximum amount of available scientific information to be used in the decision-making process. The risk assessment process consists of four steps: hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response assessment, and risk characterization. Hazard identification involves defining the inherent ability of some stress to cause harm. Exposure assessment involves quantifying the likely dose of the agent that may be expected to reach the target organs or the magnitude of the stress on the system (e.g., a sediment or water column concentration). The dose-response assessment involves estimating the adverse effect or response due to an exposure. The next step, risk character-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas ization, involves the calculation or estimation of potential impacts based on hazard and exposure, i.e., risk is a function of exposure times hazard, Risk = f [(exposure)(hazard)] The process of determining risk to the environment from anthropogenic stresses involves a greater multiplicity of effects or endpoints, more complexity, and often more uncertainty than assessing human health risk. Also, ecological risk assessments involve various levels of biological organization and there is great regional variability among populations, communities, and ecosystems. For these and other reasons, a universally accepted methodology for ecological risk assessments has not been constructed yet. Identify Hazards to Ecosystems and Human Health. The identification of hazards to ecosystems and human health should, in effect, take place within the goal-setting and domain definition processes. It is the identification of issues of concern and affected resources that point to the hazards of concern in the region. Screen for Priority Issues. At this point in the process, the number of hazards identified may be too large to manage effectively. If so, two techniques may be used to narrow down the list of identified issues to one that contains the most significant hazards. It may be possible to screen the issues based on what is already known about their relative importance in the region. Some issues may be agreed upon as being less important than others. Initial efforts could then be focused on the ones of greatest concern with the understanding that those of less concern will be addressed at a later date. A review of the issues may reveal that many of them have a common root cause. For example, regional-scale eutrophication, seagrass dieback, and nuisance algal blooms all result from excess nutrient enrichment. Thus, it may be appropriate to group these issues together in conducting a risk analysis on nutrient loadings. Determine Dose-Response Relationships. The dose-response relationship is the one relation between the dose of an agent administered or received and the incidence of an adverse effect in the exposed population (NRC 1983). This step is perhaps one of the most important in the dynamic planning process because the results produced are useful in many ways. For example, once the dose-response relationship is determined, it is possible to establish exposure levels which will produce a particular level of response. This approach was taken in the setting of a goal of 40 percent reduction of nutrient loadings to the Chesapeake Bay (see Box 4.1). A general approach for assessing the dose-response relationship for nutrients and eutrophication is presented in Appendix A.
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Box 4.1 SETTING GOALS AND DEFINING DOMAINS FOR NUTRIENT CONTROL IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY The Chesapeake Bay Program provides an example of dynamic planning at the regional level that addresses problems occurring across multiple jurisdictions. With specific regard to nutrients, the program has now gone through three iterations of the goal-setting process. The Chesapeake Bay Program is the cooperative effort of the District of Columbia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies to restore the Chesapeake Bay. The original Chesapeake Bay Program, begun in 1978, targeted three specific issues of concern: nutrient enrichment, toxic substances, and the decline in submerged aquatic vegetation. These issues were identified as the major concerns facing the region based on existing scientific information. In 1983, with the signing of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, participants agreed to a major action program addressing a wide range of issues, including nutrient reduction. While many specific actions were undertaken, no overall goal for nutrient reduction was established at that time. From 1983 to 1987, program participants developed a state-of-the-art three-dimensional hydrodynamic water quality model of the watershed and conducted research to develop a better understanding of nutrient sources and their impact on the bay. As discussed further in the Assessing Risks section of this chapter and in Appendix A, nutrient enrichment can cause anoxia and hypoxia, dieback of seagrasses, and nuisance algal blooms. While the bay program was not following a formalized framework for integrated coastal management, the approach taken in regard to nutrients clearly illustrates the application of the ICM concepts presented in this report. From the mid-1980s on, the program has evolved to embody important elements of ICM, including reevaluation and feedback. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the contiguous United States. Nutrients enter the bay from both point and nonpoint sources throughout the watershed. Point sources include municipal and industrial wastewater discharges. Nonpoint sources include runoff from cropland and farm wastes, urban and suburban runoff, ground water discharges, and atmospheric deposition. Because the sources of nutrients to the bay occur throughout the watershed, the Chesapeake Bay Program defined its domain of analysis as the watershed that is shown in Figure 4.1. This domain includes the entire drainage area of the bay, which extends beyond the jurisdictional domains of the program participants into the states of West Virginia, New York, and Delaware. Thus, although those states chose not to be involved in the program, the analysis was designed to develop an understanding of nutrient inputs that derive from those states as well. The Chesapeake Bay Model is a computer simulation of processes in the watershed and the bay itself. This model was developed and then used to determine the level of nutrient loadings at which deleterious oxygen depletion in the mainstem of the bay would be stopped. Using loading estimates for 1985 as the base year, it was predicted that a 40 percent reduction in nutrient loadings would mitigate the hypoxia and anoxia in the mainstem sufficiently to encourage recovery of the bay's living resources. It is important to note, how-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas FIGURE 4.1 Chesapeake Bay watershed (Source: CBP 1992). ever, that nutrient inputs from the atmosphere were not accounted for in the model. The use of the bay model in this way was, in effect, a risk assessment on nutrients to determine the dose-response curve for loadings and oxygen depletion. No comparison of risks was done between nutrients and other stressors that affect the bay. Based on the information gained through research and monitoring and risk assessment and modeling, specific goals for nutrient reduction were set in the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement: By July 1988, to develop, adopt, and begin implementation of a basinwide strategy to equitably achieve by the year 2000 at least a 40 percent reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay. The strategy should be based on agreed upon 1985 point source loads and on nonpoint loads in an average rainfall year. Because of considerable uncertainty in the 1985 model loading estimates, the agreement built in another iteration to this goal-setting process. It required that an evaluation of the 40 percent reduction target be undertaken in 1991. This reevaluation, completed in 1992, concluded that the 40 percent target reduction is appropriate.
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Using existing levels of exposure, such as concentrations of a constituent of concern in the water column, sediments, or shellfish, one can determine the likelihood that an adverse effect will occur. Characterize Exposure. Exposure characterization is the step in which the degree to which the critical elements of the ecosystem or humans are exposed to various sources of concern is determined. Exposure characterization can be very complex in the context of the coastal zone. The key factor to take into account when characterizing sources and exposure in the coastal zone is that environmental concentrations of a constituent of concern will vary considerably depending on where the source enters the system and how many different sources a particular constituent is associated with. For example, seepage from septic systems adjacent to a shallow and enclosed bay is likely to result in locally increased concentration of nutrients and, if sited inappropriately, pathogens. If the bay also receives stormwater runoff that contains significant concentrations of these contaminants, the problem would be compounded. It may also be difficult to determine the relative contributions of the two sources. Characterizing exposures to humans can also be confounding because of the multitude of behavioral factors associated with human exposures. These are discussed further in the section below on human health risks. Assessing Human Health Risks. The World Health Organization states that "health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (WHO 1948). Rene Dubos defined health as "expressions of the success or failure experienced by the organism in its efforts to respond adaptively to environmental challenges" (Dubos 1965). In the coastal urban environment, human health issues of concern include not only acute and chronic toxicity but also other contributors to human well-being, such as nutritional value of fish and shellfish stocks, recreational opportunities, and contributions of the coastal ecosystem to mental well-being. As an example of the latter type of effect, algal blooms or fish kills that diminish the recreational opportunities in the coastal area would create stress as well as economic consequences for those whose livelihood depends on recreation. While recognizing the full breadth of human health affected by damage to the coastal environment, the approach used here will focus on assessing risks for acute and chronic illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals and microbiological stressors. Within integrated coastal management, other stressors will be considered as part of other human expectations (such as economic value of a recreational resource) even though there may be direct or indirect health consequences. Adverse human health effects can range from minor to severe to fatal, and are usually classified as either acute or chronic. Acute effects or illnesses occur with short-term exposures, are of short latency, and usually
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas SELECTION, POLICY, AND INSTITUTIONS Institutional Arrangements The institutional setting for regulating wastewater discharges in the coastal environment is complex, fragmented, and compartmentalized. While the federal Clean Water Act provides a basic regulatory framework, the interplay of natural resource management, regional and local planning, programs for nonpoint and point source discharges, preventive and remedial actions, and multiple levels of government leads to an institutional setting far more diverse and extensive than the act alone would imply. Having a clear picture of this institutional setting is essential to any attempt to improve wastewater management. Institutions are fragmented in at least three different ways: hierarchically, geographically, and functionally. Hierarchical fragmentation occurs when responsibilities are divided among two or more levels of government. Multiple political jurisdictions lead to geographic fragmentation. The further division of programs according to function adds still another layer of fragmentation. Within any particular watershed or region, the presence of multiple agencies, each with separate but relevant programs, requirements, and responsibilities, creates enormous complexity. The Clean Water Act itself involves multiple levels of government and considerable complexity because it incorporates sewage treatment requirements, stormwater management, toxicant regulation, estuary management, and funding mechanisms, among other things. While the basic scheme of uniform federal requirements implemented through delegated state programs is straightforward, it leaves coastal states to struggle with some of the most difficult issues. Each state and local jurisdiction must decide how to mesh growth and land-use planning with water quality objectives; it must regulate toxicants in discharges in the absence of comprehensive federal regulations; and funding must be found for upgrading wastewater treatment in the absence of federal construction grants. As the need for effective pretreatment and pollution prevention programs is recognized, municipal wastewater treatment requires a significantly increased regulatory role for local governments. Despite fragmentation and jurisdictional complexity throughout the nation, it is possible to discern an emerging trend toward better integration of planning, resource management, cross-media issues, and interjurisdictional concerns. Many coastal states provide promising examples of attempts to manage growth, to link land use and water resource management, and to control sources of water pollution in an overall context. Considerable integration and alignment of institutional arrangements has been achieved in some places. Signs of progress include the development of estuary protection strategies (e.g., for the Chesapeake
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Bay), regional water resource agencies, and integrated growth management and land-use strategies. There is no one right approach to better integration of environmental decision making. What is doable in one setting may be out of the question in another. Flexibility in approach and implementation is as necessary as leadership and long-term commitment of funding and political will. Improving the institutional framework for water quality protection is a significant challenge. Increased integration of planning and implementation is desirable both within water resource functions and between water and other related resource decisions. Efforts at integrated environmental decision making are hopeful signs, but only a beginning. Most water pollution control decisions of this decade will in all likelihood continue to take place in a complex and fragmented institutional setting. Yet greater awareness of the broader context should assist both ad hoc and structural efforts to achieve better integration. Development, Selection, and Implementation Other sections of this report discuss goals and objectives for coastal wastewater management, sources of pollutants, and various strategies for the control of these pollutants. Application of the tools of risk management within a dynamic planning process, as described above, leads to identification of one or more strategies that meet the stated goals and requirements. Each strategy may consist of a variety of pollution reduction and pollution control initiatives, as well as other actions or modified behavior. The final steps in the planning process are to turn each strategy into a management plan, then to choose among alternative plans. A management plan 1) describes a desired outcome as defined by the risk management strategy, 2) specifies the policies and actions necessary to achieve that outcome, and 3) assigns responsibility for implementing specific actions. Just as the process of risk management takes account of a wide range of possible actions and interventions in seeking the most appropriate strategy, it is important to consider all feasible management tools in devising management plans. But coastal wastewater management takes place in a fragmented, multi-institutional setting, where no one entity has the means or the mandate to set overall objectives or compel specific actions by others. A management plan in this situation takes the form of a set of tools that—directly or indirectly, through compulsion, incentive, motivation, or other means—cause necessary actions to be taken. The actions include various kinds of pollution prevention, pretreatment, wastewater reuse, treatment, and disposal practices. Effective management plans do not rely on a single tool to achieve all required actions. Each kind of tool has unique advantages and disadvan-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas tages and may be more suited for one type of application than another. A comprehensive plan should incorporate a range of regulatory mechanisms and choose individual techniques to fit individual problems. The application of these tools can be overlapping—more than one policy can apply to a given activity. Command-and-control regulations, for example, might provide a regulatory floor that applies to all waste dischargers, while a combination of economic incentives, education initiatives, and other instruments of voluntary compliance are used to achieve progress beyond the command and control floor. The following sections outline the command and control approach as it is now practiced for wastewater management. Other kinds of regulatory tools are described and evaluated, using command and control as the basis of comparison. No wastewater management strategy should be considered in isolation. An intricate network of laws, regulations, and policies is already in place and must be recognized in the development of any new policy. Improvements in the flexibility in these requirements would do much to facilitate effective management action. The same caution holds for existing institutions. Attempts should always be made to improve and rationalize institutions, but the end result of such efforts may fall short of the optimum. A management plan should, therefore, build on existing elements when it is reasonable to do so, superseding and rejecting only when such changes are imperative. Tools for Management Environmental quality in coastal areas is the result of numerous individual decisions by residential and business organizations, and governments regarding the use of resources and the discharge of pollutants. If environmental quality is to be protected, those individual decisions must reflect consideration of environmental consequences. One way to accomplish this is to set standards and compel individuals and organizations to observe them on threat of sanction. This command-and-control approach, the most common management strategy in the United States, is embodied in the Clean Water Act and other environmental legislation. Many other management tools are available. They include economic incentives structured to induce voluntary behavior consistent with environmental quality goals; growth management, used to restrain human activity in sensitive coastal zones; education, which seeks to provide the basis for informed individual action; and financing mechanisms designed to facilitate the implementation of desired actions. Economic incentives offer important advantages over the more familiar command-and-control instruments (see Appendix E). Properly designed and implemented, they tend to minimize the total cost of meeting environ-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas mental objectives. They promote technological innovation and improvement, both in pollution control and pollution prevention. Even though today's command-and-control instruments are more effective and flexible than their counterparts of twenty years ago, economic incentives may be designed to address sources beyond the reach of conventional regulation. However, experience to date suggests that economic instruments are often used most effectively in conjunction with command-and-control measures (Boland 1989). Growth management is a comprehensive and integrative approach to planning for balancing resource protection and economic development, focused on implementing strategies. Growth management strategies offer some control over the total quantity of pollutants generated in sensitive environments. They also present opportunities for integration across environmental media. Education is another means of reducing pollution at the source. Carefully designed, interactive education programs can produce significant long-range reductions in the quantity and toxicity of materials discharged to the environment. A more detailed discussion of education initiatives is contained in Appendix E. Wastewater management programs can be financed in numerous ways. These ways include the use of general tax revenue, dedicated tax revenue, user charges, intergovernmental transfers, and debt (long term or short term). Some of the characteristics of particular methods can be regarded as purely financial, such as the ability to provide sufficient revenue, the stability of the revenue stream, or the associated administrative details. Other properties of financing methods have important implications for wastewater management (see Appendix E for more details). Differences in financing methods result in differences in the total cost burden imposed by wastewater management. More importantly, different financing methods produce very different incidences of cost—across sectors of the economy, across political jurisdictions, and across periods of time. The choice of financing method affects incentives for efficient management, as well. A more detailed presentation of these issues is contained in Appendix E. The ultimate importance of these considerations derives from the willingness of the public, and various sectors of the public, to pay for improved wastewater management. If the cost of proposed programs is too high, or perceived as unfairly allocated, public and political support will be eroded or lost. Selection The planning process described in this report is intended to produce a number of competing management plans. These arise in part from the existence of alternative strategies for wastewater management (different as-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas sessments of relative risk, different allocations of abatement effort, etc.). Alternatives may also reflect consideration of different kinds and types of management tools. Each alternative plan has a unique set of likely consequences. While all alternatives are designed to protect the fundamental functions of the ecosystem, they may do so in somewhat different ways. All alternatives are intended to maintain important human uses of the resource, yet they may not all result in exactly the same set of protected uses. Economic costs will differ, as will such critically important characteristics as impacts on the distribution of income, political and social acceptability, etc. Some plans may be flexible and easily modified, while others are slow to adapt to changing circumstances. Some may promote innovation and individual initiative, while others lock in existing methods and technology. For these reasons and more, selection of the appropriate plan is only partly the responsibility of experts. It is the task of planners and analysts to insure that all plans meet the following tests: Adequacy—Each plan must satisfy the primary goals of wastewater management: to protect the fundamental functions and biological richness of the ecosystem and to maintain important human uses. Integration—Each alternative must consider the full range of human activities linked to wastewater generation, as well as the full range of environmental effects resulting from wastewater management actions. All of this should be undertaken for a geographic area large enough to minimize important inter-area impacts. Comprehensiveness—In developing the final plan, it is essential that all significant alternatives be considered, with respect to both control strategy, management tools, and costs. This consideration should encompass, among other things, alternatives that illustrate selected tradeoffs among the objectives (i.e., improved ecosystem protection at the expense of human activities, and increased human use at the expense of ecosystem protection). Non-inferiority—No alternative should be put forward for selection that is, in all important respects, inferior to some other alternative. It follows, then, that each final candidate is preferred to some other candidates in one or more respects. The final set of alternatives are, in this sense, the best of all possible alternatives. Properly applied, the planning process should give rise to novel and innovative solutions, as well as conventional and familiar approaches. Each will have various advantages and disadvantages. As wastewater management requirements become more severe, it can be expected that unconventional regulatory techniques will come to seem more conventional. Whether conventional or unconventional, each plan that meets the criteria must be
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas fully described together with its expected consequences so that political leadership, regulatory agencies, and the public can make responsible choices. MONITORING, INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, AND RESEARCH The information developed through research, monitoring, and data management activities drives the planning process and keeps it dynamic. Information on the status of the coastal environment is obtained through monitoring. Data management allows for effective use of monitoring and research information. Research provides knowledge about the significance of various environmental changes, importance of different impacts, and potential for various technologies and management controls to be effective in mitigating impacts and protecting the environment. Research activities can also contribute new insights to the understanding of human expectations for the coastal environment and the economic impacts of alternative management strategies. One important strength of the ICM process is that it is responsive to new information inputs and can respond to trends in coastal problems or new scientific findings with less delay than required by federal statutory changes and regulations. The linkage between the planning process and research, monitoring, and data management activities is critical to the success of a continuing, iterative ICM program. Monitoring The National Research Council report Managing Troubled Waters: The Role of Marine Environmental Monitoring defines monitoring in the marine environment as ''a range of activities needed to provide management information about environmental conditions or contaminants." Monitoring is generally conducted to gather information about compliance with regulations and permit requirements, model verification, and trends (NRC 1990). The report concluded that monitoring can strengthen environmental management in several ways: 1) defining the extent and severity of problems, evaluating actions, and detecting emerging problems; 2) when coupled with research and predictive modeling, supporting integrated decision making; and 3) guiding the setting of priorities for management programs. It also concluded that comprehensive monitoring of regional and national trends was needed to better assess the extent of pollution problems and address broader public concerns (NRC 1990). Since the release of that report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun to implement a national and regional monitoring program called
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). EMAP will tend to provide a framework and a set of uniform data and quality objectives for regional programs. However, there is region-specific monitoring needed in many areas to examine identified issues, close data gaps found in the planning process, and monitor the performance of risk management strategies chosen. In addition to the recent work of the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has had a significant marine monitoring program in place since 1984. NOAA's National Status and Trends (NS&T) Program monitors for selected metals and organic compounds in sediments and benthic organisms at nearly 300 coastal locations in the United States. The fundamental objective of the NS&T Program is to assess long-term trends in the concentrations of these toxic materials. An effective ICM system requires a monitoring approach significantly different from approaches used in the past. As the National Research Council found in 1990, . . . monitoring designed principally to meet regulatory compliance needs generally does not adequately answer questions about the regional and national risks of pollutant inputs to public health, coastal environmental quality, or living resources. The reason is that compliance monitoring typically does not address potential effects removed from specific discharge points, including overall responses of the ecosystem to anthropogenic and natural stresses (NRC 1990). Data analyses should be available in forms that not only address the current concerns but also allow for identification of new trends. In this manner, monitoring becomes the vehicle through which the process is accountable to the public and useful to practitioners. Reliance on technology-based standards has led to universal monitoring of effluent parameters such as total suspended solids, BOD, and chemical oxygen demand, while far field and specific effects remain unexamined in many cases. For ecosystem effects, most useful information has been generated by special research projects in specific areas, with hardly any contribution from routine compliance-driven monitoring programs. For health effects, there is monitoring for pathogens and for toxic chemicals. These monitoring programs are designed to enhance risk management strategies that may include posting warnings, fishing limits, and shellfish bed and beach closure strategies, as well as to examine long-term trends. Information Management The ICM process is designed to make the fullest use possible of information relating to coastal systems and their management. It is an informa-
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas tion intensive process that requires effective data and information management. Information and data should be collected and maintained in forms that are accessible to users and compatible with other data in the system. All too often monitoring data are collected and stored, but in forms that are of relatively little use for purposes of analysis (NRC 1990). The results of scientific analyses should be presented in user friendly formats to all parties involved in the process ranging from scientists and engineers to politicians and the general public. Advances in computing technologies now allow for the display of information in a wide variety of graphical and pictorial formats. Monitoring information and modeling results can be manipulated in a variety of innovative ways to display information about coastal systems including three dimensional presentations of modeling scenarios. Research Areas where additional information in needed should be identified in the course of the dynamic planning process. For example, in the course of assessing and comparing risks, it should become clear where there are important uncertainties and data gaps. Research aimed at reducing these uncertainties would improve understanding and provide insight on how to manage the risks. The survey of anglers now under way to develop better estimates of fish consumption in Santa Monica Bay is a good example of a research effort aimed at refining information on risks. In developing management options, research to determine the potential efficacy of various management and control measures will be needed. The need for information should drive the areas of research targeted in an ICM program. In addition to the specific kinds of research identified in the course of the ICM process, there is an array of more basic research needs in areas where greater understanding is required for fundamental understanding of environmental processes, ecological systems, human health, technological and engineering issues, and economic and policy effects. More specific research needs are identified in the discussion of relevant topics throughout this report and its appendices. SUMMARY This chapter has provided a description of how the ICM process should be applied to coastal areas. Several examples describe cases where some ICM concepts are being applied already. The complexity of the ICM process reflects that of coastal systems including the physical and ecological interactions in the coastal zone and the human expectations and actions that affect them. ICM involves an
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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas iterative and dynamic planning process in which scientific information, engineering expertise, economic analyses, and public participation are combined to identify management alternatives that meet coastal objectives. The selection and implementation step of the ICM process is structured to select the most appropriate management plan and develop adequate institutional arrangements to ensure effective implementation. Research, monitoring, and data management are the activities that provide feedback on how well management controls are working, bring new information into the planning process, and further knowledge about coastal systems. The following chapter, Benefits, Barriers, Solutions, and Implementation, examines issues relating to the application of ICM to urban coastal areas in the United States and provides recommendations for implementing ICM. REFERENCES Boland, J.J. 1989. Environmental Control Through Economic Incentive: A Survey of Recent Experience. Presented at the Prince Bertil Symposium on Economic Instruments in Environmental Control, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden, June 12-14. Brooks, N.H. 1983. Evaluation of key issues and alternative strategies. Pp. 709-759 in Ocean Disposal of Municipal Wastewater: Impacts on the Coastal Environment, E.P. Myers and E.T. Haring, eds. MITSG 83-33. Massachusetts: MIT Sea Grant College Program. Brooks, N.H. 1988. The Experience with Ocean Outfalls to Dispose of Primary and Secondary Treated Sewage. Freeman Lecture, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, April 1988. Presented at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cabelli, V.J., A.P. Dufour, L.J. McCabe, and M.A. Levin. 1983. A marine recreational water quality criterion consistent with indicator concepts and risk analysis. Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation 55:1306-1314. Capuzzo, J.M. 1981. Predicting Pollution Effects in the Marine Environment. Oceanus 24(1):25-33. Carry, C.W., and J.R. Redner. 1970. Pesticides and Heavy Metals. Whittier, California: County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. CBP (Chesapeake Bay Program). 1992. Progress Report of the Baywide Nutrient Reduction Reevaluation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Cosper, E.M., C. Lee, and E.J. Carpenter. 1990. Novel "brown tide" bloom in Long Island embayments: A search for the causes. In Toxic Marine Phytoplankton, E. Graneli, B. Sundsttrom, L. Edler, and D.M. Anderson, eds. New York: Elsevier. CSWRCB (California State Water Resources Control Board). 1990. California Ocean Plan, Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California. Sacramento, California: CSWRCB. Doering, P.H., C.A. Oviatt, L.L. Beatty, V.F. Banzon, R. Rice, S.P. Kelly, B.K. Sulivan, and J.B. Frithsen. 1989. Structure and Function in a Model Coastal Ecosystem: Silicon, the Benthos and Eutrophication. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 52:287-299. Dubos, R. 1965. Man Adapting. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1986. Ambient Water Quality Criteria Document for Bacteria. EPA A440/5-84-002. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1989. Sediment Classification Methods Compendium, Draft Final Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Watershed Protection Division. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1990. Reducing Risk: Setting Priorities and Strategies for Environmental Protection. Washington, D.C.: Science Advisory Board.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: