Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 31

IN THE ANCIENT Greek myths, the tales
of King Sisyphus stand out prominently.
Sisyphean has entered the English
language meaning endlessly laboring,
often in futility and hopelessness. King
Sisyphus was the founder and King of
Ephyra (Corinth). He promoted commerce
and growth of his city, but his greed,
deceitfulness and bad behavior made
him a poor ruler. He believed himself to
be more clever and intelligent than Zeus.
Some of his actions proved in terms of
deceit that he had some justification for
these claims. He violated many laws, such
as killing travelers and guests, a major
violation of Xenia or hospitality. This
showed his subjects his absolute power.
He married his niece Tyro as part of a
plot to kill his brother Salmoneous. An
oracle had told Sisyphus that if he had a
child with Tyro, the child would kill his
hated brother and take over Salmoneius'
kingdom. Upon discovering this, Tyro
killed her son and left. Tradition has it
that Sisyphus life was littered with bad
acts, but what ended him was as a direct
betrayal of Zeus.
Zeus abducted Aegina and hid from
her father Asopus, the god of rivers.
Seeing her carried to a neighboring island
by Zeus in giant eagle form, Sisyphus told
Asopus her location in exchange for a new
spring in his city. Zeus became outraged
at Sisyphus' betrayal. He ordered either
Thanatos (Death) or Hades to chain and
drag him off to Tartarus. Sisyphus tricked
Thanatos or Hades into demonstrating
the magical chains and Death chained
himself. With Death chained, no one
on Earth died, no matter how sick, or
old or wounded in battle. This outraged
Ares and Zeus sent him to free Death
and have Sisyphus punished. Another
story tells that Sisyphus made his wife
promise after he died to not give him
proper burial. He arrived at the River
Styx without coins to pay Charon to take
him across. In death he would wander
the Earth instead of being punished in
Hell. This got his wife into trouble with
the gods, but temporarily saved Sisyphus
from punishment.
Sisyphus in the end "got his." Hades
consigned him to Tartarus (in the ancient

Greek afterlife, this was the really bad
place). Hades came up with a fitting
punishment. Every day, Sisyphus was
condemned to roll a giant boulder up a
hill. It would take all day and regardless
how he secured it, the boulder would
turn and run him over on its way to the
bottom. The next day the cycle began
again for eternity.
The story of achieving water quality in
the surface waters of the United States has
had Sisyphean qualities of its own. In the
240+ years of the nation's existence, it is
fair to say that with regard to water quality,
a laissez-faire approach dominated. Water
quality, if addressed, was first a local
matter and only if deemed vital at the state
or basin level. Water supply was much
more aggressively legislated and litigated
by states and localities. For quality, "the
solution to pollution is dilution" often
prevailed. Some states more aggressively
regulated pollution, to the antipathy of
municipalities and industries that had to
fork out funds to treat effluents. Other
states took advantage and engaged in a
"race to the bottom," drawing businesses to
more "friendly" regulatory environments.
By the 1960s, the nation was in what
at the time was called an ecological crisis.
Regarding water quality, growing up in
northern Ohio, I was at an epicenter of the
crisis. National magazines and newspapers
proclaimed Lake Erie dying or dead.
The nation witnessed a phenomenon not
new to Clevelanders. Like the Biblical
Plagues of Egypt, the Cuyahoga River
burned. Clean water was no longer a given
and pollution had despoiled most of the
significant waters of the nation. We were
"crushed by a boulder" of our own making.
In the 1970s, Congress and the
White House pushed a giant legislative
boulder uphill against resistance from
state governments, industries and other
economic interest groups. Amendments
to the Federal Water Pollution Control
Act, which became the Clean Water Act,
began the long process of cleaning up
the waters of the United States. Some
state governments complained the reach
of the law was too broad - violating
states' rights. Industries challenged its
constitutionality. The dance of legislation

and regulation was accompanied by the
grind of litigation. For some years much
progress was made in pushing up the
boulder of cleaning up the nation's waters.
Too soon, however, judicial decisions
rolled that boulder back down over those
striving to do well.
Starting with Solid Waste Agency of
Northern Cook County (Illinois) vs the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, moving
through Rapanos et ux., et al. v. United
States and subsequent decisions, the
courts limited the scope of jurisdiction,
chipping away to the point where roughly
a third of the surface waters of the United
States were deemed beyond federal
jurisdiction. The boulder got harder to
manage, especially since some states did
not pick up protection of the waters under
their jurisdiction. One saving grace in
this was that the courts left the door open
for the federal government to develop
regulations to restore the lost jurisdiction.
If they demonstrated the proper legal
authority, they could redefine excluded
waters back into federal control. There
was hope of cresting the hill and slowing
the boulder's damage.
The Obama administration crafted the
"Waters of the United States" (WOTUS)
rule, taking it through regulatory and
judicial review and finalizing the rule.
It was ready for implementation. The
boulder was on top of the hill and at rest.
Under the current administration, new
EPA director Scott Pruitt suspended
implementation of the WOTUS rule and
called for its repeal. The boulder has once
again leapt and rolled over not a villain
but good public servants, the citizens
of the nation and biota that rely on
clean water.
The ancient Greek sage Heraclitus
stated that "You cannot step twice into
the same river." That said, we as a nation
seem intent on making the same mistakes:
stepping into that same river and
keeping us from restoring water quality
throughout the nation. ■
Eric Fitch is an associate professor
and director of Environmental Science
at Marietta College, Ohio. Email:
fitche@marietta.edu.
Volume 19 * Number 5 www.awra.org * 31


http://www.awra.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017

President’s Message
Growing Up…with Managed Aquifer Recharge
Aquifer Storage and Recovery as Means to
The Regulatory Environment of Managed
The ASCE-EWRI Standard Guidelines
Managed Aquifer Recharge:
Managed Aquifer Recharge: A Global Perspective
What’s Up with Water? Sisyphus, Heraclitus and WOTUS
The New Economics of Water: Reducing CO2 Emissions in the Bay Delta Could Reverse Erosion
Domestic Well Aquifer Storage and Recovery Using Seasonal Springs
Philosophy and Ethics: The Rio Grande and the Ganges Rivers: How Human ‘Success’ is Choking the Life out of Two Great River-Spirits
ASR: Aquifer Storage Rescues a Small Water Supply District
Putting Aquifers to Work: MAR Applications in Nutrient Removal
Summer Conference Recap
Harvesting Glacial Meltwater with Managed Aquifer Recharge
AWRA State Section and Student Chapter News
In Memoriam: Peter E. Black
Herbert Scholarship Award Recipients for 2017-2018 Announced
August JAWRA Highlights
2017-2018 Editorial Calendar
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - intro
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - cover1
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - cover2
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 3
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 4
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - President’s Message
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Growing Up…with Managed Aquifer Recharge
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 7
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Aquifer Storage and Recovery as Means to
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 9
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 10
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - The Regulatory Environment of Managed
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 12
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 13
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - The ASCE-EWRI Standard Guidelines
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 15
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 16
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Managed Aquifer Recharge:
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 18
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 19
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Managed Aquifer Recharge: A Global Perspective
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 21
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 22
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 23
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 24
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 25
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 26
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 27
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 28
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 29
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - What’s Up with Water? Sisyphus, Heraclitus and WOTUS
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 31
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - The New Economics of Water: Reducing CO2 Emissions in the Bay Delta Could Reverse Erosion
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Philosophy and Ethics: The Rio Grande and the Ganges Rivers: How Human ‘Success’ is Choking the Life out of Two Great River-Spirits
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - ASR: Aquifer Storage Rescues a Small Water Supply District
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 35
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Summer Conference Recap
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 37
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - AWRA State Section and Student Chapter News
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - In Memoriam: Peter E. Black
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - Herbert Scholarship Award Recipients for 2017-2018 Announced
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 41
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - 2017-2018 Editorial Calendar
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - cover3
Water Resources - IMPACT - September 2017 - cover4
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