Section 10: Major Laws and Treaties .
Major Laws and Treaties
Though most developed countries treat sewage, treatment levels do not generally remove nutrients from the wastewater that is discharged. One exception is the state of Maryland (U.S.) where all major sewage treatment plants are required to upgrade to enhanced nutrient removal technologies that will remove most of the nutrients from the wastewater.
Waters Assessed as Impaired due to Nutrient-Related Causes
Impaired U.S. waters, 2000
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, to the Mississippi River and much of it is impaired due to high bacteria counts that affect the recreational uses of the river. The River supplies drinking water and provides recreational uses for over 5 million citizens. The Ohio River watershed covers 204,000 square miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois, where it enters the Mississippi River. The Ohio is 981 miles long and borders Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and drains several more states.
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) calculations are being developed for the Ohio River to determine how much the inputs of bacteria must be reduced to return the River to health. To do this, the TMDL will examine the sources of bacteria to the River. The Ohio River receives pollutant discharges from numerous stormwater outfalls, industrial point sources, combined sewers (during heavy rains), and agricultural runoff. Water quality standards for bacteria require that all waters be protected for total body contact recreation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delegates authority to the States to regulate pollution under the Federal Clean Water Act, but because the bacteria is found in multijurisdictional locations that cross state boundaries, the EPA is providing coordination and support for the TMDL.
What does the convention outline?
The convention outlines each country's rights and responsibilities within its territorial boundaries and in international waters for issues including pollution control, scientific research, resource management, and seabed mining.
Coastal states have jurisdiction to protect the marine environment in their Exclusive Economic Zones (areas typically extending 200 miles outward from shore) from activities including coastal development, offshore drilling, and pollution from ships.