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space, NASA is one, and research going out and coordinate it, other agencies on the Federal level, universities and industries, we can more efficiently utilize the research going on in other areas rather than duplicating inadvertently. We have to encourage new approaches, new ideas, consistent and persistent and concentrated attack on this whole problem.
I want to list very quickly some of the major problem areas. First, municipal wastes. That's what I had in mind when I said we haven't changed anything in the last half century. You have industrial wastes, including thermopollution.
There is storm and combined sewer wastes. To show you what a frustrating problem this was, we have now I believe $20 million for demonstrations to help solve this enormous problem and we can't find anyone that will even apply for it. I think we have two applications for demonstration grants. One minor one was finally granted. It will cost roughly $2 million for the primarily larger cities to solve their storm and combined sewer wastes.
There is also wastes from boats and ships, household or isolated small system wastes, animal feed lot wastes and drainage.
There is agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage, silt from construction projects, quality changes in impoundments, and accelerated and natural eutrophication.
We were at that lake between Nevada and California-what is it? Mr. WAGGONNER. Tahoe.
Mr. BLATNIK. Tahoe, and I think Mr. Jones was there 8 years ago when a highway system, interstate, running north of it from Reno to Donner Pass. We drove around it and we were back early this year at the invitation of the California Congressmen, and we were shocked at what was happening to one of the only two Nation's lakes, or Alpine lakes as sometimes called, in the North American Continent. Perhaps there are only three in the world. Already the algae is beginning to grow and in a few years this deep, ice-cold, blue lake will become a mass of green and, when all the oxygen is gone, it will come a stinking mass of brown. It is already starting like it is in the early stage, and if anyone told me 10 years ago that recently when we first started with water pollution controls on rivers and harbors that one of the five Great Lakes, one of the largest bodies of water in the world, would become a dead lake and it is more than that now, I would say you are crazy. It will cost us about a billion dollars to undo the work that has been done there.
The same thing with the Hudson River. The Congressman from New York knows the problem pretty well. There is plenty of water, but not a drop to drink. It has been fouled up so we have a tremendous great job to be done. It will require the coordinated joint effort in the Federal, State, local and industry. I know this sounds like nice words. It sounds like sort of a passing away. But, it has been done, I am saying. It has been done in the highway program, the largest public works program ever undertaken in the history of mankind. Largest multibillion-dollar peacetime tax program ever sustained, ever adopted by Congress and supported by the citizens of America.
Today we come up with a highway bill running into a couple billion dollars on the floor of the House, and it almost passes by unanimous
consent. It shows the people will support a program of magnitude running in the order of billions of dollars and that program can be worked out in a joint effort as has been done in the highway program. You have got to concentrate—I am trying to summarize very quickly. One more new process.
Carbon is a very effective filter and although very expensive, they are reducing the cost now. Carbon will filter gases and the scientists will appear next week to find out whether finely powdered coal will work. Some of the new ideas, such as carbon absorption, the use of coal for filtration and absorption, new coagulants, sludge disposal in strip mine areas, electrodialysis and reverse osmosis should be subjected to field study as rapidly as possible. The Federal Government, through Interior, is subsidizing on a larger scale than before, and what works very well in the laboratory will not necessarily work too well in the field.
The solution of water pollution problems will require not only the development of adequate techniques, but also their application. Research and development activities generally progress through a series of steps ranging from exploratory to laboratory research to field evaluation and demonstration. Field evaluation and demonstration studies require that new type facilities be constructed and operated under actual field conditions, which is generally very expensive. I am not advocating this particular process, but in short, here is someone suggesting or attempting a new type of idea, merely using plain pulverized coal in which you have an abundance and it has an economic need as the Appalachian program showed.
They can skim off the contaminated top layer of coal and burn it up in a furnace and generate power and steam so municipality or industry will get its money out of coal or the organic material absorbed. So, Mr. Chairman, with the fund of knowledge we have today there is no reason and no excuse for permitting what is an absolute necessity, the water in abundance for effective and efficient reuse of what water we do have, as you stated in your very fine opening remarks. Here we have today more than 95 percent of all the scientists that ever lived in the history of mankind alive today, and I think my interest in medical chemistry, I believe I am correct in using these figures, 75 percent of all the prescriptions used to date were not in existence at the close of World War II, about 20 years ago.
Talking about the volume of knowledge that is being found today, a new communication concerning chemistry is published somewhere in the world every minute, a report on physics every 3 minutes, and a report on medicine, biology, and electronics every 5 minutes. To give an idea of the rate information is being made available, I read recently that if a man started at the first of the year to read everything new in chemistry as it was published, by the end of the year he would be 10
To show you the availability of this knowledge around us and it can be done systematically and effectively, using all the knowledge found in these different agencies, so I strongly urge this inquiry. I hope and know it will be a productive one. I strongly urge support to both the basic science and research and to the applied research and demonstration programs in the field of environmental problems, more particularly to water pollution.
The problem can be licked and will be licked—remember in the highway program they said we couldn't afford it—and the economic savings will be $5 million a year on the program which the Federal Government is putting about $4 billion, plus saving about 10,000 lives each year on the highways. In the last 2 weekends on Christmas and New Years combined we killed more American people on our streets and highways and byways at home than were killed the whole previous year in Vietnam in the war. We have that type of slaughter in 2 weeks.
In Vietnam we would be ready to drop the atom bomb, there would be such a furor. Yet it happens at home and you are lucky to get 3 inches of space on your newspaper.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the patience of the members putting up with me, and the chairman for giving me this time.
Mr. DADDARIO. Mr. Blatnik, you have given us a very exciting and helpful statement. I wonder if you might comment on your trip to Germany this year when you accompanied the Secretary of the Interior. I am particularly interested in the way the technology development is funded.
Mr. BLATNIK. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Jones made that trip; although I was asked to go along at that time with him, I couldn't.
Mr. DADDARIO. I know Mr. Jones was on the trip and I thought you were too.
Mr. BLATNIK. No; I couldn't make it.
Mr. BLATNIK. You were working with desalination on arid areas which is extremely important, but at the same time we also ought to be working in these arid areas where we have an abundance of gas and petroleum on burning, you know, human waste which can be done very effectively. All you will have left is steam and dry ash that goes up into the air and here we are working at great expense to get water through desalination which is important and needed, but to use that expensively produced water as merely a conveyance to carry away human waste and then build other plants in addition to remove that waste doesn't make sense.
Getting back to this idea for needs of new concepts and breaking away from the old stereotypes is another matter I would like to mention.
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Blatnik, did I understand you to say your committee is asking for $50 million ?
Mr. BLITNIK. It is not that our committee is asking for it. It is legislation before us and also has been before the other body that calls for that amount of money.
Mr. MOSHER. How would this be administered?
Mr. BLATNIK. Through the water pollution administrator which is now in the Department of Interior.
Mr. MosHER. Is the Congress likely to appropriate $50 million for this purpose ?
Mr. BLATNIK. I hope. Speaking only for myself, I shall urge it, and I think we have good enough case to support it.
Mr. MOSHER. How much has that agency been using in the past? How much is it using this vear?
Mr. BLATNIK. Under $5 million. It was authorized about 5 years ago, but your appropriations were at a low level beginning at a million,
approximately. I will get the correct figures, but we authorized $1, $2, and $3 million, and finally last year built up to $5 million.
Mr. MOSHER. And, you are asking for $50 million now ?.
Mr. MoSHER. That would be a very significant increase. A lot of work could be done for that amount of money.
Mr. BLATNIK. That is right.
Mr. DADDARIO. We will be having Dr. Weinberger, who was Assistand Commissioner for Research and Development for that program before us on the 27th of July and we can go into that program with him.
Mr. MOSHER. One other clarification, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Blatnik alluded to one of the Great Lakes which he said was dying. I assume he is referring to Lake Erie.
Mr. BLATNIK. Yes, sir.
Mr. MOSIIER. Lake Erie is in my domain, and somehow I shudder at the use of the word, "dying." I think that is a little exaggeration. Nevertheless, it is a serious problem and what is going on there is very bad. You said there is a rough estimate that it would cost a billion dollars to reverse that process in Lake Erie.
Can you give me a specific reference to that estimate!
Mr. BLATNIK. Yes. It would involve—these are preliminary, sort of somewhat speculative, but fairly accurate in dredging the sludge out of the bottom and getting the gook in fluid to settle to the bottom. The gook is settling and slowly moving up and that's why it is dying, and no oxygen—fresh water being lighter like milk being over cream merely floats like a saucer floating maybe 50 or 60 feet deep. So, the fresh water goes down into the Niagara and Ontario and so on, but whereas this gook getting higher and higher, inching up and over a few years you will have a dead lake on your hands. The process is getting worse year by year.
Mr. MOSHER. It is a very serious matter. Can you give me a specific reference to someone who has proposed this means of cleaning up the lake that you suggested ?
Mr. BLATNIK. Yes.
Mr. BLATNIK. Mr. Jones tells me there is a survey resolution perhaps before this subcommittee, the resolution itself calling for a study of the problem. The study itself will cost $5 million. We will also get you the sort of preliminary information and judgment available now from the Corps of Engineers, and water pollution abatement people.
Mr. MOSHER. I'm going to ask the committee staff to get this information for me. There are several studies going on already as you know. (Information separately provided to Mr. Mosher.)
Mr. DADDARIO. Any further questions, gentlemen ? Mr. WagGONNER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank and congratulate Mr. Blatnik for being our leadoff witness this morning. We are talking specifically now about water pollution in which he is more than well informed. I think he has set the stage for us to think in big terms about pollution abatement. I don't think anybody claims that we have the adequate technology now for the pollution
abatement in the area of water pollution or any other particular area. I completely agree with him that there is no reason or excuse to accept the status quo if we are going to even think about today much less tomorrow. He has certainly done more than his part to awaken people to the perils of all kinds of pollution. His committee has finally, I think, awakened the Congress to the needs of the country in water pollution. I just have one comment and that is that we in Congress and the people in the country have accepted Federal and joint programs wherein we can build water resource projects and watershed projects, but we have not given the proper attention to these God-given streams and lakes that have been ours through the years. We are more interested in developing new projects than we are in preserving and maintaining for future generations those which have been with us all the while.
So, I think that Mr. Blatnik has brought to this committee the leadership he has been exercising in his own committee through the years.
Mr. DADDARIO. Mr. Vivian?
Mr. VIVIAN. The gentleman from Minnesota has touched upon quite a number of items, some of very great interest in my own district. Lake Erie borders my district. The “deadest” part of Lake Erie lies just off of the shores in my district.
The comment you made that the layers of water below the surface of Lake Erie are growing increasingly stagnant, is most pertinent. When strong winds blow in from the east toward the beaches in my district, the beaches become littered with various and sundry forms of marine growth and sludge from the lower levels of the lake. Even on quiet days, the water is turbid. Along the beaches signs are posted year after year saying "Not safe for swimming."
Now the question which I really want to get to is what will it cost to clean this vast lake and its neighbors, and how can we reduce that cost by intelligent actions now! According to an estimate made for me by competent persons from Federal agencies, it will cost approximately $5 billion over the next 20 years to clean up Lake Erie. Part of these funds will be used for replacement of wornout sewage treatment facilities, and part for installation of new facilities. Extended to all the Great Lakes, the estimate was some $20 billion; extended to the entire Nation, the estimate rose to about $100 billion, an enormous sum. But, as you pointed out, that amount is comparable to the $40 billion we have spent on roads in the last decade, so the total cost and the rate are not at all unreasonable, in terms of our capabilities.
Now, let me ask, is there any evidence available to your committee that this great sum could be reduced to a more nominal figure by any research now in progress ? Such as, for example, the research underway on the powdered coal sewage treatment process? I understand that the optimistic proponents of this process expect to reduce the cost of treatment of sewer wastes to about half; conversely, detractors dispute that claim, and argue that little or no money will be saved.
Mr. BLATNIK. That is the expected gain, and the laboratory model suggests that reduction would be correct, but to prove it out, you have to build what we call demonstration or semicommercial or pilot models, larger models. You have a continuous flow and much larger