Effective Surface Water Quality Policies: A Contrast of Policies in the United States and the European Union

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Env Policy Mgmt


Environmental Policy And Management


Steven Bissell


environmental policy; European Union; non-point source; nutrients; pesticides; point source; surface water; United States; water quality; Water quality -- Government policy -- European Union countries; Water quality -- Government policy -- United States; Water quality management -- Law and legislation -- Evaluation


The United States and the European Union each have their own policy approach to protect surface water quality. Both policy approaches are similar in many ways. Both rely heavily on command and control. However, there are differences in the application of the details. Both the U.S. and E.U. began current efforts to protect surface water quality in the 1970s, yet quality continues to less than desired in both places. Both have reduced point source pollutants but have had difficulty controlling non-point source pollutants even though policies have been in place for many decades. The successes and failures of the two policies are studied in this project to determine which aspects of both policies will best protect surface water quality in an increasingly complex future.

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