State and Federal regulations help protect water resources, but do not do the whole job. Local governments have a very important role to play in the protection of surface water, ground water, drinking water, and wetlands, often filling in the gaps in State and Federal regulations. If the local government does not do so with local zoning, those gaps may not be addressed.
Roles of Local Government in Water Quality Control
Local governments are playing very important roles in environmental water quality management. One of their responsibilities includes establishing and implementing environmental water quality monitoring programs. Water quality monitoring programs include:
- Categories or parameters
- Identifying toxic substances
- Parameters and special parameters for living environment
- Identification of other parameters including Phosphorus and Chloride ion
- Identification of physical parameters such as weather, water flow rate, and atmospheric temperature
In addition to establishing and implementing water quality monitoring programs, local governments also undertake pollution control measures, which include:
- Regulating factories based on laws and ordinances
- Maintaining and constructing additional sewerage lines and sewage treatment systems
- Purifying water in waterways
- Controlling pollution from new high-tech industries such as the electronic industries
One of the biggest topics addressed regarding water quality control is groundwater. Many steps are being taken to keep contaminants from getting into our groundwater supplies. Manufacturers are using fewer toxic raw materials and consumers have switched to phosphate-free detergents and other less polluting household products. Since groundwater is an important and vital resource for all people, it is important to protect it.
How to Protect and Conserve Groundwater
Conserving water is essential. By simply reducing the amount of water that we use, our water supply will last longer. The top 10 ways to protect and conserve groundwater include:
- Disposing of chemicals properly
- Take used motor oil to a recycling center
- Limit the amount of fertilizer used on plants
- Take shorter showers
- Shut water off while brushing teeth
- Run full loads of dishes and laundry
- Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed
- Abandon all wells that are not needed
- Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator
- Get involved in water education
By taking these steps, local communities can play a role in the conservation of groundwater in addition to the help of the local government.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays an important and unique role in keeping our environment clean, although most of the heavy lifting in American environmental protection is done by State and local governments. The EPA provides technical assistance to support recovery planning of public health and infrastructure, such as waste water treatment plants, technical assistance for long-term cleanup to minimize public health threats, and provides environmental surveillance.
In addition, the EPA subsidizes state and local programs, oversees states, and conducts scientific research, but state and local governments do the day-to-day work of environmental protection.
Functions such as water supply and sewage treatment are critical environmental services typically performed by local governments. State and local governments have no choice but to keep our waste and poison out of our water supply.
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