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Environmental Balance:
Regulatory Factors

by John W. Norton, P.E., B.C.E.E.

Regulations today form a large part of the Environmental Design Process. This hasn't always been the case. Before 1972, only the community Health Department had much to say about the designs of any factories or industrial processes, and then only if they could resoundingly demonstrate the direct health impact of the process in question.

Today, with regulations too frequently the ultimate design factor, too little engineering common sense is applied to facility design.

Regulations are promulgated by the governmental body that rules the community effected. With regard to environmental regulations, this is not often readily apparent to the community. In a city, the authority for promulgating regulations may reside in the city, or it may reside at county or state level, or it may fall all the way back to the Federal government (i.e. the US Congress). This factor depends on the local decisions that have gone into the matter.

In the United States, this regulatory situation is very different from state to state. It can also be very different within each state and county. It all depends on how much of the authority has been vested in each level of the ruling government(s). It often depends on how much financial support has been allocated at each level and each community. For example, in Ohio, industries in one section of the state may answer to the state EPA directly, while a neighboring area may have a local agency to which the state has delegated certain authority.

The regulatory scene within each community has a large impact on the amount and type of factories and industries that build and remain within the community. It can be very difficult to get a new process authorized for building in some communities.

The author's intent is offering the best environmental balance advice available; the user is free to use it, although no guarantee can be implied. All user circumstances are unique and require individual analysis.

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