Capstone Title

Ocean Dumping of Sewage Sludge in the United States: A Management Review

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Curtis Burney

Second Advisor

Richard E. Dodge


The United States has been dumping sewage sludge into the ocean for nearly seventy years. This report considers the forces behind the regulatory policies and management strategies, by reviewing the evolution of sludge dumping regulations in the United States. The development of United States' coastal environmental policy can be divided into three stages. First came the awareness of the environment protection resulting in scientific studies and heavy economic costs. Next, the policy turned to the reasonable use the ocean's natural assimilative capacity and the minimization of the total impact to the human life. However, this second stage did not reduce or eliminate the pollution. All i t did was to better arrange the distribution of the pollutants in the environment. Third, current policies now are to encourage beneficial reuse and recycling (Industrial Pretreatment) . There were many issues and scientific understandings evolved in the policy development. By examining the United States' experience in regulating sludge dumping, some management considerations can be clarified. These considerations are very valuable in helping to develop a successful management strategy for the other countries .

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