Imágenes de páginas

terms of how many soil samples need to be taken; what kind of soil are you looking for, how many gallons of waste water per day could actually be disposed of in a specific region.

Mr. ROBISON. This would be sort of like offering technical engineering advice, and you would not foresee the corps moving into an actual construction role with respect to the choice the community has made? General GRIBBLE. I would not.

Mr. ROBISON. Thank you.


Mr. EVINS. Thank you. I want to ask you about the Gathright Lake project in Virginia. What was the decision involving that project? General MORRIS. The court said that since the project is under construction, the public law we referred to before does not apply. The question of whether or not water quality benefits should be allowed at the discretion of EPA is not applicable in this case.

Mr. EVINS. In other words, EPA can't go back after it is under construction?

General MORRIS. That was basically the decision in the Gathright



Mr. EVINS. We have been interested in the inventory of dams for several years. The Corps knows how many dams they have built, but you are also taking an inventory of those built by non-Federal entities and individuals. Does this include the ponds built by the Soil Conservation Service? I notice you say the estimate has gone up from 28,000 to 67,000.

General MORRIS. Yes, sir.

Mr. EVINS. What criteria are you using? Is a pond a dam?

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir. Our inventory of dams will include all structures 25 feet or higher, or impounding water 50 acre-feet or


Mr. EVINS. Are private contractors and the States doing this work or is the Corps of Engineers doing this themselves?

General GRIBBLE. Sir, we are doing part of it. In 39 of the 50 States we are getting the basic and fundamental data from the State agencies themselves. In the remaining States we are hiring architectengineer firms to obtain the data.

Mr. EVINS. What progress is being made by the Corps with respect to the inventory of dams authorized by Public Law 92-367?

General GRIBBLE. The acquisition of the data for the inventory has been initiated in all States and territories; guidelines for the inspection and evaluation of dam safety are being developed; and a survey of each State and Federal agency's capabilities, practices and regulations regarding the design, construction, operation and maintenance of dams has been conducted. The inventory data for the dams under the jurisdiction of Federal agencies and for dams licensed by the Federal Power Commission has been furnished for inclusion in the

inventory. The survey of the States activities reveals that the existing State program regarding licensing and inspection of dams vary greatly in scope and effectiveness. There is an awareness by the States of the need for supervision of dam design, construction, operation and maintenance and recent actions have been undertaken to establish or strengthen their dam safety programs.

Mr. EVINS. How about these dams in the coal-mining areas of West Virginia where they flood out and loss of lives occurs? The corps didn't build them. This would be valuable information to have.

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir. I would like to clarify just what activities the corps has underway in the area of dam safety. I will describe to you three programs that we actually have ongoing simultaneously. We have been authorized and directed by the Congress to examine strip mining operations across the board for their impacts on navigable waterways. That includes looking at dams and other impoundments which have drainage features into navigable waters.

In addition to that, following the disastrous Buffalo Creek impoundment disaster, we were authorized to take a look at other coal mine impoundment-type dams and make special reports on those.

There is a third program, which is nationwide, to inventory all dams built for whatever purpose, that are of the size that I just stated.

Now, these have all been going on concurrently. When the coal mine embankment safety program was assigned to us, following the Buffalo Creek disaster, we gave it priority over our continuing study of the effects of strip mining operations on navigable waterways. That program has essentially been completed. It has been completed in the State of Virginia, the State of West Virginia, and the State of Ohio. There were five States fundamentally involved. The report for Kentucky will be published shortly and the Pennsylvania report will be completed in fiscal year 1975.

Mr. EvINS. General, there have been no disasters, either major or minor, from dams built by the Corps of Engineers. They have been substantial, stable, safe structures. These disasters have occurred in non-Federal-built dams; is that correct?

General GRIBBLE. We have had no catastrophic failure of any Corps of Engineers structures.

Mr. EVINS. We hope your good record continues. What can you do about non-Federal dams other than making an inventory and running up a warning flag?

General GRIBBLE. As part of our inventory of dams program, we are recommending safety practices and inspection procedures which will then be carried out by the combination of the Bureau of Mines and State governments to insure the continued safety of these structures. Mr. ROBISON. I would like to congratulate the corps and, in doing so, give the other members of the committee an example of how this program can work.


At Waverly, a small community in my district, there is a municipal water supply system-a reservoir, and a dam-that was not built with Federal dollars. Some months after the "Agnes" experience there, it was discovered that there was a serious deterioration of the dam

which caused considerable local concern about its failure and a flooding of the village or a part thereof.

The corps responded very quickly, Mr. Chairman. They sent people up from the Baltimore office to work with the engineering firm hired by the village and gave the same kind of suggestions and recommendations that have just been mentioned for maintaining a safe operation level, let's say, of the water in the reservoir until the face of the dam could be repaired, and they also suggested how that might be done in order to insure the public safety.

So, it is a good program and I know of no other agency that responds as well as the corps in this regard.

General GRIBBLE. Thank you, Mr. Robison. I believe, too, it is a fine program, sir.


Mr. EVINS. We have determined that your budget request is down. We want to talk about new programs and additions this year. You have very little in the way of new programs.

You speak about the impact of new legislation on the corps, particularly the Flood Disaster Protection Act, and you say that the Chief is to help by giving highest practical priority in the allocation of manpower to assist the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Later you say you need 290 additional jobs at one place, two more in your office and eight in your division offices. That is 300. You receive less appropriation; you have a slowdown and you want more jobs; 300 jobs. Why do you need 300 more jobs?

I would like to see the corps do the work. I would like to see the corps speed up these projects, get them on the line, build them and construct them. I am not opposed to adequate staff, but every year it is more staff and less work.


General GRIBBLE. It might appear that way, Mr. Chairman, but not all of the work which the Corps of Engineers does can be measured in dollar volume, I don't think, in terms of its importance. Specifically, the area where we are requesting the committee to approve our request for 290 additional spaces is in our permit program. This is our regulatory program to control encroachment into the navigable waterways of the United States.

Now, as a result of recent enactment of legislation, our regulatory program has been substantially expanded. As a result of this expansion the number of applications which we receive for permits to construct or to place fill or to dispose of spoil of some kind have been very, very much on the increase.

With the size staff we have at the present time handling this program, it is taking an inordinate amount of time to process these applications, many of them are submitted by private owners seeking legal authority to do something associated with their own land.

We would like to improve our performance in this important area but to do so does take additional manpower. That is the nature of our request for the 290 spaces.

29-844 (Pt. 1) O 74 - 5


There are 10 additional spaces for a total of 300. Four of these spaces would not really be an addition of people. We have at the present time within our structure inspectors general who look over very intensely the activities of my organization and the people in it to insure we are conducting ourselves properly and in accordance with all the rules, regulations and statutes which govern our activities.

Part of our activities are military-oriented. Part of our activities are civil works-oriented. In the past these inspector general spaces have been military spaces, military-funded. We feel that this is inappropriate considering the balance of our work.

Mr. EVINS. Do you need more inspectors general?

General GRIBBLE. No, sir, this is not an addition in the number of inspectors general. This is a conversion of spaces from the military to the civil appropriation.


Mr. EVINS. Tell us why you need 290 jobs for your regulatory program.

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir.

Mr. EVINS. This has to do with the issuing of a permit as to whether an industry can discharge into a stream.

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir, in part. We have the responsibility to determine whether a permit should be issued for the construction of a barrier, or pier, or some other structure in navigable waterways, as well as the discharge of dredged or fill material into those waters.

Mr. EVINS. Haven't you been doing this since 1899?

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir, but the number of requests per year have gone up substantially over the last 2 or 3 years.

Along with that increase in requests has been an increase in the length of time for us to process those requests. We feel very badly about the resultant delays.

Mr. EVINS. If an industry wants to discharge effluent into a stream; you say you must get zero discharge of pollutants.

General GRIBBLE. If it is a point discharge, it is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency, that of controlling the discharge at any point source.

Mr. EVINS. You give them the permit. You say yes or no. How long does it take to issue that permit? How much work is involved?

General GRIBBLE. Although we do not issue point source discharge permits with the exception of dredged or fill material, we must by law review each proposed discharge before EPA can issue the permit. In addition, we have direct permitting responsibility for work or structures placed in or affecting navigable waters. There is a substantial amount of coordination effort involved in these permitting responsibilities, because we are required by law to obtain the views of all possibly affected parties which include the other Federal agencies, local communities, private interests, environmental organizations, and then to resolve any issues that may surface as a result of getting these opinions on the proposed action.

Mr. EVINS. The law has imposed new, additional, and more onerous duties on the corps.

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir.

Mr. EVINS. You have been doing this since 1899, but now it is more complicated and requires more personnel?

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir, it has become considerably more complicated. The expansion has taken the form of having imposed new administrative burdens upon us, such as need for environmental impact statements for proposed activities controlled under our regulating program and the requirement for mandatory public hearings under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Ocean Dumping Act. With increased public awareness and congressional interest as well as increased enforcement activities, we require the additional 290 spaces.

Mr. WHITTEN. The record shows $11 billion appropriated by the Congress for waste treatment plants—that is, the handling of sewagehas been impounded, reserved, or frozen.

In cases where funds are impounded or frozen by the Office of Management and Budget and there is no other means for a town or a city to discharge its effluent or its sewage and they can't get money to do anything about it and in addition under the laws of most States there is a limitation on the bonded indebtedness of a village or community and there is nothing else to do but let it go into the stream, what do you tell them then?


General GRIBBLE. Sir, I am concerned that I may have misled you into thinking that our principal responsibilities under the regulatory program are for controlling the discharge of waste water or that type of contaminated effluent into navigable waters. That is no longer our responsibility. That is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency. We transferred this portion of our jurisdiction after passage of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972.

Mr. EVINS. That was my understanding last year. They have an increased responsibility now and therefore your responsibility should be lessened. I am trying to determine why you need 290 more jobs when your work was transferred last year.

General GRIBBLE. I can respond to you best by giving some examples. In 1899, when the basic Navigation Act was passed, the navigable waterway was considered to be a waterway on which there was commercial interstate traffic. Not much more than that, and fairly simply defined.

Through the course of the years and through a combination of laws and interpretations of laws by the court, navigable waterways have come to mean any land that is subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, which includes wetlands, marshland, swamps, in addition to commercially navigated waterways.

In addition to that, it is considered navigable under the law, not only if it is carrying commerce today, but if it has ever, in the history of that waterway, been used for any kind of commerce.

In addition to that, our earlier responsibilities under the initial law were oriented toward the protection of the rights of navigation and navigation only, but they have been extended through the years to incorporate the broader public interest.

« AnteriorContinuar »