Date of Award

1986

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)

Department

Community Planning and Area Development

First Advisor

John J. Kupa

Abstract

In 1984, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the National Municipal Policy which set forth EPA's position on ensuring that publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities meet pollution control deadlines under the Clean Water Act. The Act requires all publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) to meet the statutory compliance deadlines and achieve the water quality objectives of the Act, whether or not they receive federal funds. The deadline for POTWs to meet secondary effluent limitations has been established by the Act as 1 July 1988.

The Warwick, Rhode Island Wastewater Treatment Facility was identified as requiring upgrading of existing facilities to meet secondary effluent limitations. For those communities whose facilities needed upgrading to meet the statutory requirements, the policy dictated the development of a Municipal Compliance Plan.

This research project investigates the federal, state and local roles in the evolution of a compliance strategy for the City of Warwick. When the National Municipal Policy was announced, the City of Warwick was scheduled to receive less than half of the estimated cost of necessary improvements to its treatment facility from federal and state funding sources, and had no specific plan for financing the balance of required construction. The political and institutional actions over the intervening two years, which have enhanced the feasibility of the City meeting the 1 July 1988 deadline, are documented and examined. The chief results of these actions have been increased levels of federal and state assistance and the approval of local bond initiatives.

From the information presented, a Municipal Compliance Plan is developed for the City of Warwick. The Plan describes the necessary treatment technologies and estimated costs, outlines the proposed sources and methods of financing the required improvements, and provides a schedule for achieving compliance as soon as possible. Under the proposed Plan, it is possible for the City to complete the required construction activities by May 1988, thus complying with the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

However, an examination of the expected improvements in water quality in the Pawtuxet River, as a result of this and similar undertakings in West Warwick and Cranston falls short of the original objectives of the Clean Water Act. In conclusion, the on-going public investment of more than eighty-five million dollars to upgrade the three existing wastewater treatment facilities will not significantly improve water quality in the Pawtuxet River. Rather, it is an attempt by governmental actors at all levels to hold the line at current levels of pollution.

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