Water Standards Issues in Urban Planning Term Paper

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Water Standards Issues in Urban Planning

The objective of this work in writing is to develop and articulate persuasive research-oriented arguments related to planning practice. This work will define the problem, present theories and cases, summarize, and highlight the salient points from those theories and cases that are found to formulate a plausible solution to the problem.

The planning process for urban runoff urban water standards must be based on regulations that make a requirement of specific programs relating to approaches in planning. Different regulations make a requirement of different approaches in planning. The planning process addressed in this work is that of watershed management and this specific planning process requires the following:

(1) Regulatory Basis -- SOWA

(2) Determining Existing Conditions -- Development of Watershed Description

(3) Quantifying pollution sources and water resource impacts -- identification of detrimental characteristics;

(4) Assessment of alternatives -- conduction of risk assessment; and (5) Development and implementation of recommended plan -- development of detrimental activities control plan. (Environmental Protection Agency, )

I. Nonpoint Source Pollution

The problem addressed in this study is that of nonpoint source pollution and the necessary action plan to be implemented in this type of situation. Nonpoint source pollution results in alteration to the natural habitat and has been cited as the reason for the majority of water quality problems near various bodies of water including lakes, tributaries, and coastline. Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) is the "introduction of pollutants into a system through a non-direct or unidentified route." (Ambrosio, Lawrence, and Brown, nd) Potential sources of NPS pollution include such as "agriculture and forestry practice, septic systems, recreational boating, urban runoff, construction, and physical changes to stream channels…" (Ambrosio, Lawrence, and Brown, nd) It is reported that the term 'nonpoint' "is used to distinguish it from point source pollution" which is pollution derived from specific sources. (Ambrosio, Lawrence, and Brown, nd) NPS pollution is stated to be most often associated "with rainfall or melted snow that runs over land or through the group, picks up pollutants, and deposits them into rivers, lakes, and oceans. NPS pollution can occur just about anywhere, but especially where activities disturb the land or water, and where paved surfaces allow pollutants to flow directly into the waterways." (Ambrosio, Lawrence, and Brown, nd) Common NPS pollutants are stated to include the following pollutants and sources:

PS Pollutants Sources


Construction Sites Mining Areas Agricultural Lands Logged Areas Bank/Shore Erosion Grazed Areas

Nutrients Agricultural Lands

(Fertilizers, Grease, Nurseries, Orchards Organic Matter) Livestock Areas Lawns, Forests Petroleum Storage Areas Landfills

Acids and Salts

Irrigated Lands Mining Areas Urban Runoff, Roads, Parking Lots Landfills

Heavy Metals Mining Areas

(Lead, Mercury, Vehicle Emissions Zinc) Urban Runoff, Roads, Parking Lots Landfills

Toxic Chemicals Agricultural Lands

(Pesticides, Organic, Nurseries, Orchards Inorganic Building Sites Compounds) Gardens, Lawns Landfills

Pathogens Domestic Sewage (Bacteria, Viruses) Livestock Waste Landfills

Source: Ambrosio, Lawrence, and Brown

II. Issues in Urban Water Standards

Ambrosio, Lawrence and Brown (nd) report that protection of water quality in urban areas is difficult due to: (1) different amounts and types of pollutants; (2) large amounts of runoff; (3) limited areas suitable for surface water runoff treatment systems; (4) high costs associated with structures to control runoff; and (5) destruction or absence of riparian zones that can filter pollutants and prevent erosion of stream banks and shorelines. (Ambrosio, Lawrence, and Brown, nd) The executive summary report of the urban water quality standards planning for the state of Iowa reports that the cornerstone of the vision in the state of Iowa for the reduction and remediation of nonpoint source pollution in the waterways of Iowa "is the ability of stakeholder groups and agencies at the federal, state and local levels to collaborate, cooperate and coordinate efforts." (University of Northern Iowa, Institute for Decision-Making, 2011) Five issues were identified by the urban work group as follows: (1) increasing percentage of impervious surfaces and retrofitting the developed areas; (2) slow adoption or reluctant of alternative storm water management practices; (3) law fertilizers and pesticides; (4) lack of awareness on the part of the public, city councils, zoning officials and staff in urban areas; and (5) lack of enforcement of storm water requirements and lack of local programs in small communities. (University of Northern Iowa, Institute for Decision-Making, 2011) Also stated were problems associated with lack of project management funding, the impact of agriculture on urban water resources, and identification of nonpoint pollution difficulty. (University of Northern Iowa, Institute for Decision-Making, 2011)

III. Case Study -- Indiana NPS Management Plan

The State of Indiana has implemented a NPS Management Plan that is stated to contain nine key elements including the following: (1) the state program contains long-term goals, short-term objectives and strategies to protect surface and group water; (2) the state strengthens its working partnership and linkages with appropriate state, tribal, regional and local entities, private sector groups, citizen groups and federal agencies; (3) the state uses a balanced approach that emphasizes both statewide NPS programs, and on-the-ground management of individual watersheds where waters are impaired and threatened; (4) the state program abates known water quality impairments from NPS pollution and prevents significant threats to water quality from present and future activities; (5) The state program identifies waters and their watersheds impaired by NPS pollution, and also identifies important unimpaired waters that are threatened or otherwise at risk. Further, the state establishes a process to progressively address these identified waters by conducting more detailed watershed assessments and developing watershed implementation plans, and then by implementing the plans; (6) The state reviews, upgrades, and implements all program components required by Section 319(b) of the Clean Water Act, and establishes flexible, targeted, and iterative approaches to achieve and maintain beneficial uses of water as expeditiously as practicable; (7) The state manages and implements its NPS program efficiently and effectively, including necessary financial management; (8) The state manages and implements its NPS program efficiently and effectively, including necessary financial management; and (9) The state periodically reviews and evaluates its NPS program using environmental and functional measures of success, and revises its NPS assessment and its management program at least every 5 years. (State of Indiana Website, 2011)

IV. Case Study -- City of Durham, North Carolina

The City of Durham, North Carolina reports NPS management through the following steps in planning: (1) pollution investigations; (2) stream monitoring; (3) stream restoration and watershed master planning; (4) commercial and industrial pollution prevention; and (5) residential pollution prevention. (City of Durham, North Carolina Website, 2011) It is reported that North Carolina federal water quality regulations have set mandates that cities and urbanized counties development stormwater management programs for the purpose of restoring and protecting waters that runoff from urban areas. Public education efforts are cited as an important aspect of this program and stated to include: (1) storm drain identification program; (2) stormwater pollution hotline and info line; (3) environmental field days; (4) earth day stream cleanups; (5) mass media information; (6) public service announcements; (7) utility bill inserts; (8) flyers; (8) public education presentations; and (9) speakers bureau presentations to civic and neighborhood groups. (City of Durham, North Carolina Website, 2011)

Summary & Conclusion

Nonpoint source pollution is a major source of water pollution for urban areas and is a problem that requires and effective solution in order to maintain water quality standards. However, since nonpoint source pollution is such that cannot be specifically identified insofar as the source this pollution derives from required are several methods for addressing this issue in water pollution so that nonpoint source water pollution can be effectively reduced. As indicated in this report required is an effective and collaborative management plan that involves many agencies in the area surrounding the urban area at focus including the provision of information to the public on water pollution prevention…

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