Problems and Progress in Regulating Ocean Dumping of Sewage Sludge and Industrial Wastes

CED-77-18: Published: Jan 21, 1977. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 1977.

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The problems and progress of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard in regulating the ocean dumping of sewage sludge and industrial wastes were reviewed in order to identify those areas which need improvement and to inform the Congress of the progress being made in finding and implementing alternatives to ocean dumping.

Some wastes containing harmful substances that exceeded safety levels were dumped in the ocean. The wastes were dumped too rapidly to be assimilated by the marine environment. Surveillance by the Coast Guard has been minimal. Progress has been made by EPA to phase out dumpers of industrial wastes, but the dumping of municipal wastes is expected to increase for some time in the future. Some of the proposed alternatives to ocean dumping may be more environmentally harmful when viewed in terms of the total environment.

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