(2) Effluent limitations. Perhaps the most
--An increased emphasis on the control of
significant changes in the Federal approach to
toxic pollutants was added.
water pollution control contained in the Clean
--U.S. EPA was authorized to issue "best
Water Act included the establishment of a per-
management practices" regulations for
mitting system by which all discharges were
the control of toxic and hazardous pollut-
required to meet prescribed "effluent limitations"
ants contained in industrial plant site
and the appropriation of significant Federal ex-
runoff, spills or leaks, and discharges
penditures for control of water pollution. The Act
from other activities ancillary to indus-
provides that all discharges to surface waterways
must, as a minimum, meet certain effluent crite-
--Modifications in requirements for pre-
ria. In addition, the Act requires the establish-
treatment of industrial wastes required
ment of water quality standards for all waters
for discharge to municipal sewage treat-
and requires that all wastes must be treated to a
ment systems were made.
level sufficient not to interfere with the mainte-
-Federal facilities were required to investi-
nance of these water quality standards, even if
this requires treatment in excess of the minimum
ogy before construction of new facilities.
level established by the effluent criteria.
d. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
(3) Amendments. As a result of the first five
(RCRA) of 1976. In 1976, Congress enacted the
years of experience with the 1972 Amendments,
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Congress, in 1977, passed the 1977 Amendments
(RCRA). This legislation completely revised the
to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The
older Solid Waste Disposal Act. Perhaps the most
most important changes recognized by the 1977
significant impact of this legislation was the
Amendments include the following:
requirement for controlling the handling and dis-
--Several changes in compliance dates were
posal of hazardous wastes. A summary of the
made allowing more time for compliance
with certain regulations.
features of RCRA is presented in figure 4-2.
RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT (RCRA)
Established office of Solid Waste within U.S. EPA
Requires hazardous waste management regulations including mani-
fest system and permit requirements
Requires guidelines for solid waste management
Provide technical and financial assistance to maximize the con-
servation and utilization of valuable resources
Developed criteria for landfi11 design and operation
Provide technical assistance to State and local governments
Figure 4-2. Features of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The significance of RCRA to wastewater treat-
lished guidelines regulating various aspects of
ment is that wastewater itself may be classified
solid waste handling practices by:
as a hazardous waste and the sludge generated
Requiring the U.S. EPA to develop and
by wastewater treatment may be hazardous.
publish guidelines and performance stan-
(1) Provisions of the Act. The Act estab-
dards for solid waste management.