Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Compact

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Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Compact
Formation date: 1948
Member jurisdictions: 8
Issue(s): Water resources
Compact website

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Compact is an interstate compact among Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The compact was ratified on June 30, 1948 to "control and abate pollution in the Ohio River Basin."[1]

Governance

The compact created an interstate commission known as the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. The commission, which is comprised of representatives from each of the eight member states and the federal government, operates programs to improve the quality of the water in the Ohio River and its tributaries, including:

  • setting waste water discharge standards
  • performing biological assessments
  • monitoring for the chemical and physical properties of the waterways
  • conducting special surveys and studies[1]

Text of the compact

The legislature of each member state passes the laws with certain modifications, but the core of the legislation remains the same.

Article I

Each of the signatory States pledges to each of the other signatory States faithful cooperation in the control of future pollution in and abatement of existing pollution from the rivers, streams and water in the Ohio River basin which flow through, into or border upon any of such signatory States, and in order to effect such object, agrees to enact any necessary legislation to enable each such State to place and maintain the waters of said basin in a satisfactory sanitary condition, available for safe and satisfactory use as public and indus­trial water supplies after reasonable treatment, suitable for recreational usage, capable of maintaining fish and other aquatic life, free from unsightly or malodorous nuisances due to floating solids or sludge deposits, and adaptable to such other uses as may be legitimate.

Article II

The signatory States hereby create a district to be known as the "Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation District," hereinafter called the District, which shall embrace all territory within the signatory States, the water in which flows ultimately into the Ohio River, or its tributaries.

Article III

The signatory States hereby create the "Ohio River Valley Water Sanita­tion Commission," hereinafter called the Commission, which shall be a body corporate, with the powers and duties set forth herein, and such additional powers as may be conferred upon it by subsequent action of the respective legislatures of the signatory States or by act or acts of the Congress of the United States.

Article IV

The Commission shall consist of three commissioners from each State, each of whom shall be a citizen of the State from which he is appointed, and three commissioners representing the United States Government. The com­missioners from each State shall be chosen in the manner and for the terms provided by the laws of the State from which they shall be appointed, and any commissioner may be removed or suspended from office as provided by the law of the State from which he shall be appointed. The commissioners representing the United States shall be appointed by the President of the United States, or in such other manner as may be provided by Congress. The commissioners shall serve without compensation, but shall be paid their actual expenses incurred in and incident to the performance of their duties; but nothing herein shall prevent the appointment of an officer or employee of any State or of the United States Government.

Article V

The Commission shall elect from its number a chairman and vice chair­man, and shall appoint, and at its pleasure remove or discharge, such officers and legal, clerical, expert and other assistants as may be required to carry the provisions of this Compact into effect, and shall fix and determine their duties, qualifications and compensation. It shall adopt a seal and suitable by‑laws, and shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for its management and control. It may establish and maintain one or more offices within the District for the transaction of its business, and may meet at any time or place. One or more commissioners from a majority of the member States shall consti­tute a quorum for the transaction of business.

The Commission shall submit to the Governor of each State, at such time as he may request, a budget of its estimated expenditures for such period as may be required by the laws of such State for presentation to the legislature thereof.

The Commission shall keep accurate books of account, showing in full its receipts and disbursements, and said books of account shall be open at any reasonable time to the inspection of such representatives of the respective signatory States as may be duly constituted for that purpose.

On or before the first day of December of each year, the Commission shall submit to the respective governors of the signatory States a full and complete report of its activities for the preceding year.

The Commission shall not incur any obligations of any kind prior to the making of appropriations adequate to meet the same; nor shall the Commis­sion pledge the credit of any of the signatory States, except by and with the authority of the legislature thereof.

Article VI

It is recognized by the signatory States that no single standard for the treatment of sewage or industrial wastes is applicable in all parts of the District due to such variable factors as size, flow, location, character, self-­purification, and‑usage of waters within the District. The guiding principle of this Compact shall be that pollution by sewage or industrial wastes originating within a signatory State shall not injuriously affect the various uses of the interstate waters as hereinbefore defined. All sewage from municipalities or other political subdivisions, public or private institutions, or corporations, discharged or permitted to flow into these portions of the Ohio River and its tributary waters which form boundaries between, or are contiguous to, two or more signatory States, or which flow from one signatory State into another signatory State, shall be so treated, within a time reasonable for the construction of the necessary works, as to provide for substantially complete removal of settleable solids, and the removal of not less than forty‑five per cent of the total suspended solids; provided that, in order to protect the public health or to preserve the waters for other legiti­mate purposes, including those specified in Article 1, in specific instances such higher degree of treatment shall be used as may be determined to be necessary by the Commission after investigation, due notice and hearing.

All industrial wastes discharged or permitted to flow into the aforesaid waters shall be modified or treated, within a time reasonable for the con­struction of the necessary works, in order to protect the public health or to preserve the waters for other legitimate purposes, including those specified in Article 1, to such degree as may be determined to be necessary by the Com­mission after investigation, due notice and hearing.

All sewage or industrial wastes discharged or permitted to flow into tributaries of the aforesaid waters situated wholly within one State shall be treated to that extent, if any, which may be necessary to maintain such waters in a sanitary and satisfactory condition at least equal to the condition of the waters of the interstate stream immediately above the confluence.

The Commission is hereby authorized to adopt, prescribe and promul­gate rules, regulations and standards for administering and enforcing the pro­visions of this article.

Article VII

Nothing in this Compact shall be construed to limit the powers of any signatory State, or to repeal or prevent the enactment of any legislation or the enforcement of any requirement by any signatory State, imposing addi­tional conditions and restrictions to further lessen or prevent the pollution of waters within its jurisdiction.

Article VIII

The Commission shall conduct a survey of the territory included within the~District, shall study the pollution problems of the District, and shall make a comprehensive report for the prevention or reduction of stream pollution therein. In preparing such report, the Commission shall confer with any national or regional planning body which may be established, and any department of the Federal Government authorized to deal with matters relating to the pollution problems of the District. The Commission shall draft and recom­mend to the governors of the various signatory States uniform legislation deal­ing with the pollution of rivers, streams and waters and other pollution problems within the District. The Commission shall consult with and advise the various States, communities, municipalities, corporations, persons, or other entities with regard to particular problems connected with the pollution of waters, particularly with regard to the construction of plants for the disposal of sewage, industrial and other waste. The Commission shall, more than one month prior to any regular meeting of the legislature of any State which is a party thereto, present to the governor of the State its recommendations relat­ing to enactments to be made by any legislature in furthering the intents and purposes of this Compact.

Article IX

The Commission may from time to time, after investigation and after a hearing, issue an order or orders upon any municipality, corporation, person, or other entity discharging sewage or industrial waste into the Ohio River or any other river, stream or water, any part of which constitutes any part of the boundary line between any two or more of the signatory States, or into any stream any part of which flows from any portion of one signatory State through any portion of another signatory State. Any such order or orders may prescribe the date on or before which such discharge shall be wholly or partially discontinued, modified or treated or otherwise disposed of. The Commission shall give reasonable notice of the time and place of the hearing to the municipality, corporation or other entity against which such order is proposed. No such order shall go into effect unless and until it receives the assent of at least a majority of the commissioners from each of not less than a majority of the signatory States; and no such order upon a municipality, cor­poration, person or entity in any State shall go into effect unless and until it receives the assent of not less than a majority of the commissioners from such State.

It shall be the duty of the municipality, corporation, person or other entity to comply with any such order issued against it or him by the Com­mission, and any court of general jurisdiction or any United States District Court in any of the signatory States shall have the jurisdiction, by mandamus, injunction, specific performance or other form of remedy, to enforce any such order against any municipality, corporation or other entity domiciled or located within such State or whose discharge of the waste takes place within or adjoining such State, or against any employee, department or subdivision of such municipality, corporation, person or other entity; provided, however, such court may review the order and affirm, reverse or modify the same upon any of the grounds customarily applicable in proceedings for court review of administrative decisions. The Commission or, at its request, the Attorney Gen­eral or other law enforcing official, shall have power to institute in such court any action for the enforcement of such order.

Article X

The signatory States agree to appropriate for the salaries, office and other administrative expenses, their proper proportion of the annual budget as determined by the Commission and approved by the Governors of the signa­tory States, one‑half of such amount to be prorated among the several States in proportion to their population within the District at the last preceding Federal census, the other half to be prorated in proportion to their land area within the District.

Article XI

This Compact shall become effective upon ratification by the legislatures of a majority of the States located within the District and upon approval by the Congress of the United States; and shall become effective as to any addi­tional States signing thereafter at the time of such signing.

See also

External links

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References