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Protection of groundwater from nonpoint source pollution: will Oregon's 1989 legislation meet the challenge? Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/d217qq32v

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  • Nonpoint sources of pollution are being recognized nationwide as a significant threat to groundwater quality. In Oregon, groundwater supplies in several areas have been affected by contamination possibly caused by nonpoint sources associated with agricultural activities, on-site sewage disposal, and inadequate hazardous materials management in urban areas. State groundwater protection legislation was enacted in 1989 which specifically addresses nonpoint source contamination. While it relies heavily on a non-regulatory approach emphasizing public education and voluntary participation, it also specifies conditions under which mandatory actions may be required. To shed light on the new program's potential effectiveness, the provisions of the legislation are evaluated herein with respect to four policy issues: 1) compatibility with traditional land management values, 2) compatibility with existing institutional arrangements, 3) long-term protection provided, and 4) adequacy of funding. It is concluded that the legislation offers a promising approach for dealing with nonpoint source contamination. However, two major weaknesses of the legislation are evident: 1) it relies only minimally on the tool of taxing potentially polluting substances to fund the program and to provide an incentive for the development of alternatives, and 2) it creates an unnecessary administrative layer.
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