Required monitoring of the physical, biological and chemical condition of the nearshore waters of the ocean receiving treated wastewaters has been underway in the U.S.A. since 1955 or about 35 years. When established the stated intent had been to utilize the information obtained to evaluate the effects of the diffusion of wastewaters upon the beneficial values of these receiving waters. That is upon the food web including game and food fish; upon water contact sports uses; upon aesthetics; and upon the local, regional, and worldwide ecology. To this end original requirements had included a provision that the regulatory agency reduce the data obtained from the monitoring effort to information useful to themselves as well as to facility design and operational authorities. Inasmuch as the monitoring effort in 1989 was using funds in excess of 130 million dollars per year and had a 35 year data base, the Marine Board of the National Research Council - National Academy of Sciences: National Academy of Engineering established committees of scientists to evaluate the progress of the national monitoring effort and of the longest and most complete program of the Southern California Bight. It was found that the essential portion of the program, that of reducing the data obtained to usable information, had not been carried on so that approximately 35 years of data existed with little to zero information. In addition the data existed in pools of intensive samplings around discharge points with very little overall study of the coastal waters. Whether the discharge points were significantly different from the “normal” coastal waters was not really known because “normal” was not known. The Committees recommended procedures to follow to rectify these basic problems including reallocation of current funding to cover the research, control, design and operational needs. Their findings are summarized in the paper.

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