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A World of Opportunity for Within Water-body Management, A Needed but Neglected Complement to Watershed Management Policy

Analyses of data from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency indicate that 64% of lake and reservoir acres are impaired, and that the prevalence of eutrophication in U.S. lakes and reservoirs increased from 10-20% in 1972 to over 50% in 2009.  Nonpoint source pollutant inputs are estimated to be about 20 times those of point sources.  U.S. policy for limiting nonpoint source inputs centered on best management practices for soil conservation and watershed management for decades.  Both programs currently receive Federal funding of >$5 billion annually, and additional funding from state and local governments.  The alarming rate of water quality degradation signals the need for improvement in water management and restoration policy.  Within water-body management is needed to complement soil conservation and watershed management policies if we are to have a sustainable supply of usable water. 

Environmentally sustainable within water-body solutions are needed in the following water quality areas.

  • Phosphorus recapture for reuse
  • Pathogen deactivating
  • Hydrogen sulfide oxidation to non-odorous sulfate
  • Iron and manganese oxidization
  • Harmful algal bloom suppression
  • Arsenic coagulation and capture or precipitation
  • Mercury methylation prevention

The current state and feasibility of within water-body approaches to these water quality problems will be discussed.  Solutions to these problems will require improved legislation, policy and management methods.  An integrated National water policy is needed to replace the current silo approach that segregates recreational water, drinking water, storm water, water reuse and wastewater, often with adverse consequences.