Managing Wastewater In Coastal Urban Areas

Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas

Water Science and Technology Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1993



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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Managing Wastewater In Coastal Urban Areas Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas Water Science and Technology Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1993

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Support for this project was provided by the National Academy of Engineering, National Science Foundation Grant No. BCS-9002867, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Contract No. X-817001-01-0, the City of San Diego, the Freeman Fund of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Contract No. 50-DGNC-900139. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Managing wastewater in coastal urban areas / Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas, Water Science and Technology Board, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council. p. cm. ISBN 0-309-04826-5 1. Sewage disposal. 2. Runoff—Environmental aspects. 3. Coastal zone management. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas. TD653.M34 1993 628.1'682—dc20 93-1845 CIP Copyright 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas COMMITTEE ON WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT FOR COASTAL URBAN AREAS JOHN J. BOLAND, Chair, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland BLAKE P. ANDERSON, County Sanitation Districts of Orange County, Fountain Valley, California NORMAN H. BROOKS, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena WILLIAM M. EICHBAUM, The World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. LYNN R. GOLDMAN, California Department of Health Services, Emeryville DONALD R. F. HARLEMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge ROBERT W. HOWARTH, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, Gloucester Point THOMAS M. KEINATH, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina ALAN J. MEARNS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington CHARLES R. O'MELIA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland LARRY A. ROESNER, Camp Dresser & McKee Inc., Orlando, Florida JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, Tampa JERRY R. SCHUBEL, State University of New York at Stony Brook WSTB LIAISON RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation, South Charleston, West Virginia PANEL ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES NORMAN H. BROOKS, Chair, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena WAYNE R. GEYER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, Gloucester Point GEORGE A. JACKSON, Texas A & M University, College Station ALAN J. MEARNS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington CHARLES R. O'MELIA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland DONALD W. PRITCHARD, Professor Emeritus, The University at Stony Brook, New York (resigned 9/6/91) JERRY R. SCHUBEL, State University of New York at Stony Brook

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas PANEL ON HEALTH, ECOSYSTEMS, AND AESTHETICS LYNN R. GOLDMAN, Chair, California Department of Health Services, Emeryville WILLIAM M. EICHBAUM, The World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. ROBERT W. HOWARTH, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, Gloucester Point ALAN J. MEARNS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, Tampa PANEL ON POLICIES, INSTITUTIONS, AND ECONOMICS JOHN J. BOLAND, Chair, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland JOHN M. DeGROVE, Florida Atlantic University/Florida International University, Fort Lauderdale WILLIAM M. EICHBAUM, The World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. KATHERINE FLETCHER, Campaign for Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington PANEL ON SOURCE CONTROL AND PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS TECHNOLOGY THOMAS M. KEINATH, Chair, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina BLAKE P. ANDERSON, County Sanitation Districts of Orange County, Fountain Valley, California TAKASHI ASANO, University of California, Davis GLEN T. DAIGGER, CH2M Hill, Denver, Colorado DONALD R. F. HARLEMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge BILLY H. KORNEGAY, Engineering-Science, Inc., Fairfax, Virginia JAMES F. KREISSL, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, Ohio JOSEPH T. LING, 3M Company (retired), St. Paul, Minnesota P. AARNE VESILIND, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas PANEL ON SOURCES LARRY A. ROESNER, Chair, Camp Dresser & McKee Inc., Orlando, Florida JAMES P. HEANEY, University of Colorado, Boulder VLADIMIR NOVOTNY, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin WILLIAM C. PISANO, Havens and Emerson, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts Staff SARAH CONNICK, Study Director PATRICIA L. CICERO, Senior Project Assistant JACQUELINE MACDONALD, Staff Officer LYNN KASPER, Editorial Assistant Interns BETH C. LAMBERT, Summer Intern SUSAN MURCOTT, Marblehead, Massachusetts

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD DANIEL A. OKUN, Chair, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill A. DAN TARLOCK, Vice Chair, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law J. DAN ALLEN, Chevron USA, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana KENNETH D. FREDERICK, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. DAVID L. FREYBERG, Stanford University, Stanford, California WILFORD R. GARDNER, University of California, Berkeley DUANE L. GEORGESON, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles LYNN R. GOLDMAN, California Department of Health Services, Emeryville WILLIAM GRAF, Arizona State University, Tempe THOMAS M. HELLMAN, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, New York, New York ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point CHARLES C. JOHNSON, Consultant, Bethesda, Maryland JUDY L. MEYER, University of Georgia, Athens STAVROS S. PAPADOPULOS, S. S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc., Rockville, Maryland KENNETH W. POTTER, University of Wisconsin, Madison BRUCE E. RITTMANN, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois PHILIP C. SINGER, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill JOY B. ZEDLER, San Diego State University, San Diego Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director SARAH CONNICK, Senior Staff Officer SHEILA D. DAVID, Senior Staff Officer CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer GARY KRAUSS, Staff Officer JACQUELINE MACDONALD, Staff Officer JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant PATRICIA L. CICERO, Senior Project Assistant GREGORY K. NYCE, Senior Project Assistant

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Preface At least 37 percent of the U.S. population is located in counties adjacent to the oceans or to major estuaries, most of them in relatively concentrated urban areas. The waste from this population and its associated activities is a major contributor to the widely documented deterioration of ocean and coastal waters. Beaches are closed, fisheries and shellfish beds are quarantined, and, in many areas, harbor sediment has become so contaminated that dredging cannot be accomplished safely. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others have expressed concern over the relative lack of progress in improving the quality of estuarine and coastal waters. However, two of the most highly publicized coastal wastewater policy disputes in the late 1980s involved cases of alleged overcontrol. Both Boston and San Diego complained that they were being asked to provide upgraded wastewater treatment facilities that would produce no significant improvement in ocean water quality at great costs. A number of factors combined to focus the attention of the Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) on this issue. First was the conspicuous paradox of complaints of overcontrol in the midst of widespread concern over deteriorating water quality. Another notable feature was the large amount of money involved: both Boston and San Diego face secondary treatment construction costs on the order of several billion dollars. Finally, there had been no outside review of the policies laid down by the Clean Water Act since the National Commission on Water Quality report in 1975. Consequently, in 1989, at the direction of Congress, the EPA requested that the WSTB advise the agency on opportunities to improve wastewater management policy for coastal urban areas in the future.

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas The WSTB then initiated the study that led to this report. Financial support was provided by the EPA, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the City of San Diego, the Freeman Fund of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, and the National Academy of Engineering. The Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas was formed and charged with the completion of various aspects of this study. The Statement of Task required the Committee to examine issues relevant to wastewater management in urban coastal areas. Among other things, the Committee was directed to consider: environmental objectives, policies, and regulations; technology and management techniques; and systems analysis and design, including environmental modeling. The Committee was not asked to review past decisions. Instead, it was directed to identify opportunities for improving the current system through which coastal urban wastewater and stormwater are managed. The Committee consisted of fifteen engineers, scientists, and environmental policy specialists. The first meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in May 1990. As a result of its initial assessment of the problem, the Committee formed five panels with a combined membership of 30, including the Committee members. The Committee met six times and heard from a wide range of local, state, and federal officials, as well as independent engineers and scientists and other concerned individuals. The panels met more than 20 times, and additional meetings were held by an executive subcommittee and an editorial subcommittee. It is fair to say that the Committee experienced more than the usual amount of difficulty in preparing this report. The problems arose, not from any significant disagreement among the members, but from uncertainty about how to present the Committee's findings. On the one hand, the Committee has assembled much information of immediate use to wastewater management practitioners, much of it never before published: comparisons of treatment processes, design procedures, a guide to risk management, and evaluations of alternative regulatory instruments. On the other hand, the report provides a wide-ranging critique of existing wastewater management policy and proposes a new and fundamentally different paradigm: integrated coastal management. The Committee's problem was to present the practical information without obscuring the policy recommendations and to highlight the policy recommendations without crowding out the practical data. This report represents a set of compromises reached after several major changes of outline and countless revisions. It expresses the consensus of the Committee, but it fails to capture everything that every member would have wished. The issues addressed by the Committee take place within complex and

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas diverse institutional and political structures. Also, as may be expected, data on the progress and status of water quality improvement efforts are less than complete in most cases, and because of site-specific and methodological differences difficult to compare from one case to another. As much of the available information on experiences with existing policies is less than complete, and therefore perhaps subject to broad interpretation, the recommendations in this report reflect the collective judgement of the Committee and are based on a substantial examination of experiences around the nation. In reaching its conclusions, the Committee consulted with more than 150 distinguished scientists, engineers, public officials, regulators, and citizens (see Appendix G). The Committee is grateful to them for sharing their knowledge, insights, and accumulated experience in these matters. The quality and usefulness of this report has been improved immeasurably by this assistance, so generously offered. Any errors or shortcomings are, of course, the responsibility of the Committee. In the course of this study, a large volume of material was transmitted to, among, and from Committee and panel members. The reports and papers reviewed at various times in the life of the Committee now amount to more than one meter of shelf space. Another meter would be needed for all of the meeting notebooks, panel reports, and Committee report drafts. The management of this flood of material, along with the arrangement of meetings and monitoring of the comings and goings of Committee and panel members, adds up to a formidable workload interspersed with numerous deadlines. Despite the size of this task, everything was done as needed calmly and efficiently by Senior Project Assistant Patricia Cicero and her colleagues in the office of the Water Science and Technology Board. Several other WSTB staff members must be mentioned here. WSTB Director Stephen D. Parker was one of the first to understand the need for this study. He guided and shaped the concept through nearly two years of preliminary discussions and was instrumental in securing adequate financial support. He continued to provide advice and perspective throughout the life of the study. Additional assistance was provided by Research Associate Jacqueline MacDonald, who served as staff to one of the panels. Special thanks are due, as well, to Susan Murcott, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who began working with the Committee as a 1990 Summer Intern. Following that summer, Susan continued her association with the Panel on Source Control. She served as a researcher and technical writer, making many important contributions to the panel's report. To the extent that this report serves its intended purpose, the major credit belongs to Study Director Sarah Connick. Sarah had the overall responsibility for managing the numerous activities that made up the study

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas and for insuring that the final product met the expectations of the Board and the Committee. It would be accurate to say that she carried out this responsibility fully and with complete professionalism, but that would miss the point. Sarah was, in a very real sense, a contributor to this project as well as its staff director. Her knowledge, judgment, and sense of balance were always present, even when the Chair and other Committee members temporarily lost their way. Whatever usefulness this report may have in the public policy arena is largely due to Sarah's consistent attention to purpose and priorities. Finally, we return to the subject of Boston, San Diego, and other situations where waivers from the Clean Water Act's secondary treatment requirement were requested. Amid much controversy, San Diego's application was withdrawn and Boston's was not approved. The provision of the Act under which waivers are administered, Section 301(h), continues; however, the opportunity to enter the program has since expired. Meanwhile these and other relevant controversies live on. This report will doubtless be scrutinized by persons on all sides of these controversies, seeking evidence of the Committee's views. The Committee makes no explicit recommendations on these or any other specific cases. Rather, the report offers a detailed proposal for the way in which coastal wastewater systems should be planned and such issues should be considered in the future. The approach the Committee advocates, integrated coastal management, is more demanding in many ways than existing wastewater management policy, but it is inherently flexible in application. The key decisions in the Boston and San Diego cases were made within the more rigid context of existing policy. Whether these decisions were correct at the time is an issue that the Committee did not address. Whether findings in this report will permit any of these decisions to be revisited is essentially a legal matter that is outside the purview of a National Research Council committee. The Committee does believe the report contains technical information and analysis that should be immediately useful to coastal areas faced with environmental problems. In addition, the wastewater management policy proposed here will greatly improve the ability to resolve future conflicts in the best interests of the environment and the community. JOHN J. BOLAND, Chair Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1     The Current Approach to Wastewater Management in Coastal Areas,   2     Key Issues Relating to Wastewater and Stormwater Management,   7     Integrated Coastal Management,   13     References,   19 1   INTRODUCTION   20     Stresses on the Coastal Environment,   21     Wastewater and Stormwater Management,   23     The Current Approach to Wastewater and Coastal Management,   31     Progress in Managing Water Quality,   32     Challenges for the Future,   41     References,   51     CASE HISTORIES         Boston,   42     San Diego,   47     BOX         The Coastal Zone,   35 2   KEY ISSUES RELATING TO WASTEWATER AND STORMWATER MANAGEMENT   53     Regional Differences,   53     Nutrients in Coastal Waters,   54     Source Control and Water Conservation,   55     Levels of Treatment,   56     Stormwater and Combined Sewer Overflows,   61     Detecting Human Pathogens,   65

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas     Developing Management Alternatives,   68     Evaluation and Feedback,   69     Summary,   70     References,   71 3   INTEGRATED COASTAL MANAGEMENT   74     Developing a Sustainable Vision,   74     Principles and Methodology for a System of Integrated Coastal Management,   76     Conclusion,   85     References,   86 4   THE PROCESS   88     Dynamic Planning,   88     Selection, Policy, and Institutions,   144     Monitoring, Information Management, and Research,   149     Summary,   151     References,   152     CASE EXAMPLE         Santa Monica Bay,   114     BOXES         Setting Goals and Defining Domains for Nutrient Control in the Chesapeake Bay,   96     The California Ocean Plan,   127 5   BENEFITS, BARRIERS, SOLUTIONS, AND IMPLEMENTATION   155     Introduction,   155     Benefits,   158     Barriers and Solutions,   160     Implementation,   165     Wastewater Management for the Next Century,   172     Reference,   173     APPENDIXES         A THE ROLE OF NUTRIENTS IN COASTAL WATERS   177     Adverse Consequences of Eutrophication and Nuisance Algae,   178     Controls on Eutrophication and Nuisance Blooms in Coastal Waters,   182     Conclusions,   194     Reference,   195

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas     B MICROBIAL PATHOGENS IN COASTAL WATERS   203     Microbiologic Agents Associated with Wastewater,   203     Occurrence of Pathogens in Coastal Waters,   210     Survival of Enteric Microorganisms in Marine Waters,   214     Illnesses from Bathing,   217     Risk Assessment Approach for Microorganisms,   218     Summary of Shellfish and Recreational Microbiologic Risks,   224     References,   226     C TRANSPORT AND FATE OF POLLUTANTS IN THE COASTAL MARINE ENVIRONMENT   231     Introduction,   231     Mechanisms of Input,   233     Transport and Fate,   240     Overall Design of Disposal Systems, Control of Diffuse Sources, and Use of Models,   276     Summary,   287     References,   288     D ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR CONTROLLING COASTAL ENVIRONMENTAL WATER QUALITY   295     Introduction,   295     Source Control,   295     Municipal Wastewater Treatment,   309     Disinfection,   344     Combined Sewer Overflow Controls,   350     Nonpoint Source Management Options,   366     References,   387     E POLICY OPTIONS AND TOOLS FOR CONTROLLING COASTAL ENVIRONMENTAL WATER QUALITY   394     The Institutional Setting,   394     Management Tools,   398     Financing Mechanisms,   424     References,   430     F BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES   431     G CONTRIBUTORS TO THE COMMITTEE'S EFFORT   443     INDEX   451

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Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas Managing Wastewater In Coastal Urban Areas

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