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Rhind DD-404 - History

Rhind DD-404 - History

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Rhind DD-404

Rhind(DD-404: dp. 2,350 (f.); 1. 341'3", b. 35'5", dr. 14'4", s. 34 k.cpl. 184; a. 4 5", 16 21" tt.; cl. Benham)Rhind (DD-404) was laid down 22 September 1937 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched 28 July 1938; sponsored by Mrs. Frederick S. Camp; and commissioned 10 November 1939, Comdr. G. R. Cooper in command.Following an extended shakedown cruise to Brazil and postshakedown availability, Rhind steamed south again and from 5 July to 19 December 1940 conducted exercises in the Caribbean and patrolled off Martinique. Employed as carrier escort and engaged in fleet exercises during the first half of 1941, she joined TF 1 in June and through the summer steamed in the North Atlantic shipping lanes on Neutrality Patrol. In August she escorted Augusta, with President Roosevelt embarked, to Newfoundland for the Atlantic Charter conferences. Then, at their conclusion, she escorted H.M.S. Prince of Wales, carrying Prime Minister Churchill, to Iceland. On 17 August she returned to patrol duty off the Newfoundland coast.Detached in October, Rhind escorted Yorktown from midocean to Halifax in early November, then joined a HalifaxCapetown convoy as escort. Off Southwest Africa 27 November, she was detailed to escort Ranger to Trinidad. They arrived 3 December. Four days later the United States entered World War IIRhind then steamed north to patrol the waters off Bermuda. In February 1942, she shifted further north and through March escorted Icelandie convoys. In April she shepherded a convoy to the Canal Zone and on the 23d, while en route back to New York, conducted her first depth charge attack on a German submarine. The U-boat had shelled a Norwegian merchantman off New Jersey. Arriving at New York the same day, she departed again on the 30th to escort convoy AT-15 to Ieeland. There, on 15 May, she joined TF 99 and for the next 3 months operated with that force and the British Home Fleet in hunting German units operating out of Norway to intercept convoys to Murmansk and Arkhangel.Rhind returned to the United States in July. In August she escorted coastal convoys between Boston and Argentia, then turned south to conduct ASW operations off the southeastern coast and in the Caribbean. Exercises in the Casco Bay area followed in early October and on the 24th she got underway for North Afriea. Sereening Massachusetts en route she arrived off the Morocean coast on the night of 7 November. On the 8th she shelled Vichy vessels attempting to repel the Allied invasion of North Africa and blasted shore batteries. Through the 12th, she supported the troops ashore and screened larger ships in the Fedhala Casablanea area. Back at IIampton Roads 20 November, the destroyer resumed escort duty and into the new year, lD43, guarded convoys to North Africa. On 28 April she returned to New York with convoy GUS-6, which had departed, as UGS-6, 4 March and had lost five merchantmen to a wolfpack between the 13th and 17th. On 10 May, Rhind departed New York again for North Africa, escorting a troopship convoy, and arrived at Algiers 2 June. For the next month she conducted ASW patrols and escorted ships along the North African coast.On 10 July the invasion of Sicily began. On the 14th Rhindarrived off the coast, in the screen of a reinforcement convoy and joined the antiaircraft defense and fire-support group. Through thc 20th she patrolled off Gela, then shifted to Palermo. After screening the mine and patrol craft which cleared the harbor, she remained on antiaircraft station. On the 26th, as she stood by the heavily damaged Mayrant (DD-402) taking off wounded and assisting ip salvage work, she sustained several casualties and some damage to her hull from a near miss delivered by a Junkers 88. Through 2 August she continued to patrol off Palermo, then on the 3d, commenced offensive sweeps near Messina, sinking an E boat on the first day, and supported "leap frog" landings along the coast.Caught in another air raid on the 22d, Rhind gained a brief respite at Oran, but suffered further near misses while escorting a convoy to Bizerte through September. At Bizerte on the 6th, she fought off another raid, an attempt to disrupt the forces staging for the invasion at Salerno. On the 9th, the destroyer arrived in the Gulf of Salerno and continued her war with the Luftwaffe. On the 11th she got underway for Oran whence, for the next month and a half, Rhind escorted reinforcements to Italy. In November she sailed for New York and, after guarding two New York to United Kingdom convoys shifted to coastwise and Caribbean escort duty interspersed with offensive ASW activities. On 26 July 1944 she resumed transatlantic convoy duty with a run to the United Kingdom. A convoy to Naples followed in late September and, in November and December, she screened carrier Shangri I,a (CV-38) on her shakedown cruise.Between January and March 1945 Rhind continued coastal and Caribbean escort duty. Then after another run to Britain 23 March to 18 April, she prepared for transfer to the Pacific Theater. Sailing 5 May, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 30th; and, after exercises there, steamed westward in the screen of carriers Leccington (CV-16), Hancock (CV-19), and Cowpens (CVL-25). On 20 June, the carriers launched strikes against Wake. Then, minus Cowpens and an escort, the force continued on to Leyte, arriving 26 June. From Leyte, Rhind steamed to Ulithi, whence she escorted cargo and troop ships to Okinawa and conducted ASW patrols in the Carolines. Shifted to Saipan in August, she escorted another convoy to Okinawa after the cessation of hostilities, then on 2 September steamed to Pagan Island where Commodore Vernon F. Grant accepted the surrender of the Japanese garrisoned there.Returning to Saipan the same day, Rhind accompanied landing craft to Marcus Island. Then, on the 16th, headed north for Iwo Jima, whence she patrolled on air/sea rescue station until 2 November. She returned to Saipan on the 4th and operated in the Marianas until mid-December when she got underway for the United States. Arriving at San Diego 30 December, she was stripped and returned to Pearl Harbor and prepared for experimental testing. On 15 May she joined Joint Task Force 1 for operation "Crossroads," the atomic test series scheduled to be detonated at Bikini in July. Surviving the tests on 1 and 25 July, but highly contaminated, Rhind was decommissioned 26 August 1946 and moved to Kwajalein where, after radiological clearance had been given and further examinations had been made, she was sunk, 22 March 1948. Her name was struck from the Navy list 5 April 1948.Rhind earned four battle stars during World War II.

USS Rhind DD 404 (1939-1946)

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USS Rhind (DD 404)

Damaged in the atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll in July 1946.
Decommissioned 28 August 1946.
Scuttled off Kwajalein 22 March 1948.
Stricken 5 April 1948.

Commands listed for USS Rhind (DD 404)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1George Randolph Cooper, USN10 Nov 19391 Apr 1942
2Lt.Cdr. Henry Tucker Read, USN1 Apr 194214 Jan 1943
3T/Lt.Cdr. Otto William Spahr, Jr., USN14 Jan 19433 Jan 1945 ( 1 )
4T/Lt.Cdr. George Towne Baker, USN3 Jan 194515 Jan 1946

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Notable events involving Rhind include:

12 Aug 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN) departed Placentia Bay, Newfoundland for Hvalfjord, Iceland.

She was escorted by the destroyers USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Cooper, USN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN).

At 1745/14 HMS Reading and HMS Ripley parted company.

At 0735/15 the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined the screen. ( 2 )

12 May 1942

Attempted passage of the damaged light cruiser HMS Trinidad from northern Russia to Iceland.

Timespan: 12 May to 17 May 1942.

12 May 1942.

Shortly before midnight on this day a cruiser cover force departed Seidisfiord to provide cover during the passage of the damaged light cruiser HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) from northern Russia to Iceland. After the passage to Iceland it had been intended to send Trinidad to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the U.S.A. for full repairs. This cruiser cover force was made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN), light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN) HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN).

Earlier this day, in the early morning, HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) had departed Hvalfiord, Iceland to join the other cruisers at sea which she did shortly after midnight the following morning.

13 May 1942.

In the evening the damaged HMS Trinidad departed Murmansk for the U.S.A. via Hvalfiord, Iceland. She had a close escort made up of the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, OBE, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Huddart, RN).

14 May 1942.

Around 0730 hours, HMS Trinidad, was spotted by enemy aircraft. She was shadowed from then on and Soviet air support, that had been promised failed to show up. At 2200 hours she was attacked by JU 88's dive bombers. After about 25 attacks the force did not sustain serious damage although many ships had been near-missed. About ten torpedo aircraft then attacked at 2237 hours. Then at 2245 hours a lone Ju 88 attacked from the clouds and released a bomb from the height of 400 feet which hit HMS Trinidad right in the area where her previous damage had been starting a serious fire. She was able to avoid the torpedoes that had been fired at her by the torpedo bombers. Trinidad soon took on a 14 degree list to starboard but was still able to make 20 knots.

Shortly before midnight HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade were detached by the cruiser cover force and set course to proceed to the Kola Inlet to reinforce the escort of the upcoming convoy QP 12.

15 May 1942. In the early morning however the fire in HMS Trinidad got out of control. In the end the ship had to be abandoned and was scuttled at 0120 hours by three torpedoes from HMS Matchless in position 73°35'N, 22°53'E.

Also in the early morning hours ships from the Home Fleet departed Scapa Flow to provide distant cover for HMS Trinidad during the later part of her passage. These ships were battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt. R.deL. Brooke, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN).

The US battleship USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN) and the destroyers USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN), and USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) departed Hvalfiord, Iceland to make rendez-vous at sea with the ships from the Home Fleet.

The cruiser cover force was attacked by German aircraft (about 25 Ju 88's) for over an hour in the early evening. Many near misses were obtained but none of the ships was hit. By this time the cruiser force had been joined by HMS Punjabi, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester.

16 May 1942.

HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade arrived at the Kola Inlet.

Both the cruiser cover force as the battlefleet were sighted and reported by enemy aircraft on this day but no attacks followed.

HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester, which all had survivors from Trinidad on board, were detached by the cruiser cover force with orders to proceed to Seidisfiord, Iceland to fuel and then to proceed to the Clyde.

17 May 1942.

HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester all arrived at Seidisfiord to fuel. After doing so they departed for the Clyde A.M. HMS Forester which had some wounded survivors from Trinidad on board that required immediate surgery was later diverted to Scapa Flow where she arrived on the 18th. The other three destroyers arrived at the Clyde on the 19th.

The cruiser cover force HMS Nigeria (flag), HMS Liverpool, HMS Kent, HMS Norfolk, HMS Onslow and HMS Icarus arrived at Hvalfiord early in the afternoon.

The battlefleet HMS Duke of York (flag), USS Washington, HMS Victorious, HMS London, USS Tuscaloosa, Faulknor, HMS Fury, HMS Eclipse, HMS Marne, HMS Oribi, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind, USS Rowan, HMS Wheatland, HMS Blankney, HMS Middleton and HMS Lamerton also arrived at Hvalfiord around the same time. ( 3 )

21 May 1942

Convoy operation to and from northern Russia, convoy's PQ 16 and QP 12.

Convoy PQ 16 from Reykjavik to the Kola Inlet and convoy QP 12 from the Kola Inlet to Reykjavik.

Timespan: 21 May 1942 to 1 June 1942.

21 May 1942.

On this day convoy PQ 16 of 35 merchant vessels departed Reykjavik for northern Russia. The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels. Alamar (American, 5689 GRT, built 1916), Alcoa Banner (American, 5035 GRT, built 1919), American Press (American, 5131 GRT, built 1920), American Robin (American, 5172 GRT, built 1919), Arcos (Russian, 2343 GRT, built 1918), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Carlton (American, 5127 GRT, built 1920), Chernyshevski (Russian, 3588 GRT, built 1919), City of Joliet (American, 6167 GRT, built 1920), City of Omaha (American, 6124 GRT, built 1920), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Elgar (British, 2847 GRT, built 1942), Empire Lawrence (British, 7457 GRT, built 1941), Empire Purcell (British, 7049 GRT, built 1942), Empire Selwyn (British, 7167 GRT, built 1941), Exterminator (Panamanian, 6115 GRT, built 1924), Heffron (American, 7611 GRT, built 1919), Hybert (American, 6120 GRT, built 1920), John Randolph (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Lowther Castle (British, 5171 GRT, built 1937), Massmar (American, 5828 GRT, built 1920), Mauna Kea (American, 6064 GRT, built 1920), Michigan (Panamanian, 6419 GRT, built 1920), Minotaur (American, 4554 GRT, built 1918), Mormacsul (American, 5481 GRT, built 1920), Nemaha (American, 6501 GRT, built 1920), Ocean Voice (British, 7174 GRT, built 1941), Pieter de Hoogh (Dutch, 7168 GRT, built 1941), Revolutsioner (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Richard Henry Lee (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Shchors (Russian, 3770 GRT, built 1921), Stary Bolshevik (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1933), Steel Worker (American, 5685 GRT, built 1920), Syros (American, 6191 GRT, built 1920) and West Nilus (American, 5495 GRT, built 1920).

Close escort was initially provided by the western escort which was made up of the British minesweeper HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN) and the A/S trawlers St. Elstan (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR), Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G.Ogden, RNVR), HMS Northern Spray (T/Lt. G.T. Gilbert, RNVR) and (until 23 May) Retriever (Free French).

Also on this day convoy QP 12 of 15 merchant vessels departed northern Russia for Reykjavik. The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels. Alcoa Rambler (American, 5500 GRT, built 1919), Bayou Chico (American, 5401 GRT, built 1920), Cape Race (British, 3807 GRT, built 1930), Empire Morn (British, 7092 GRT, built 1941), Expositor (American, 4959 GRT, built 1919), Francis Scott Key (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Hegira (American, 7588 GRT, built 1919), Ilmen (Russian, 2369 GRT, built 1923), Kuzbass (Russian, 3109 GRT, built 1914), Paul Luckenbach (American, 6606 GRT, built 1913), Scotish American (British, 6999 GRT, built 1920), Seattle Spirit (American, 5627 GRT, built 1919), Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926), Texas (American, 5638 GRT, built 1919) and Topa Topa (American, 5356 GRT, built 1920).

Close escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN), HNoMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr. S.V. Storheill, RNorN), escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), AA-ship HMS Ulster Queen (A/Capt. D.S. McGrath, RN), minesweeper HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR), HMS Northern Pride (T/Lt. A.R. Cornish, RNR), HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR) and HMS Vizalma (T/Lt. J.R. Anglebeck, RNVR).

Furthermore a eastern local escort escorted the convoy as far as 30°E. This was made up of the Russian destroyers Grozniy, Sokrushitelny and the British minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, RN), HMS Leda (Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, DSC, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN), and HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN).

22 May 1942.

The British heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) and light cruiser HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) left Hvalfiord to make rendez-vous with Rear Admiral Commanding, Tenth Cruiser Squadron in position 66°00'N, 13°00'E the next day and then form the cruiser covering force for convoy's PQ 16 and QP 12.

The US destroyers USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN), and USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) left Hvalfiord for Seidisfiord to fuel before joining the battlefleet at sea.

Force Q RFA tanker Black Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and her escort, the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) as well as the close escort for convoy PQ 16 the AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(rtd.) H.F. Nash, RN), corvettes HMS Honeysuckle (Lt. H.H.D. MacKillican, DSC, RNR), FFS Roselys, HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR), HMS Hyderabad (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RN)and the submarines HMS Seawolf (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN)and HMS Trident (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) left Seidisfiord to join convoy PQ 16 at sea.

23 May 1942.

The battlefleet, made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiers USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, RN), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.de.L Brooke, RN) left Hvalfiord to provide distant cover for convoy's PQ 16 and QP 12.

Light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, DSO, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. H. Eibel, ORP) left Seidisfiord and joined the escort of PQ 16 P.M. heaving made rendez-vous with HMS Norfolk, HMS Kent and HMS Liverpool before joining the convoy.

Force Q (RFA Black Ranger and HMS Ledbury and the close escort HMS Alynbank, HMS Honeysuckle, FFS Roselys, HMS Starwort, HMS Hyderabad, HMS Seawolf and HMS Trident also joined convoy PQ 16 P.M.

The US destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind and USS Rowan arrived at Seidisfiord to fuel before joining the battlefleet at sea sailing P.M.

24 May 1942.

The US destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind and USS Rowan joined the battlefleet in position 65°50'N, 13°01'E.

British destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury, HMS Eclipse, HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus were detached from the battlefleet to fuel at Seidisfiord, arriving A.M. and rejoining the battlefleet at sea P.M. HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney were then detached from the Battlefleet to fuel at Seidisfiord, arriving P.M.

One merchant vessel of convoy QP 12 had to return with engine defects, this was the American Hegira.

25 May 1942.

Both convoy's were reported by enemy aircraft this day.

Also several German U-boats from the 'Greif-wolfpack' were able to make contact with convoy PQ 16 during the day.

First one was U-209 at 0620 hours (All times of the U-boats are Berlin time). She was however driven off with gunfire from HMS Martin a little over an hour later. She again made contact briefly around 1750 hours.

Then at 0645 hours, U-436 also made contact. She however lost contact around 0800 hours.

At 0655 hours, U-703 briefly made contact but was driven off.

At 0751 hours U-591 briefly made contact.

At 1200 hours U-703 again made contact but lost contact soon afterwards.

At 1500 hours U-591 was detected and engaged with gunfire by HMS Martin. She dived and was then depth charged but sustained no damage.

U-436 again made contact at 1522 hours but lost contact again soon afterwards.

At 1615 hours, U-586 made contact also to loose contact soon afterwards.

At 2005 hours U-591 briefly made contact with the convoy but lost it soon afterwards.

PQ 16 was also attacked by torpedo and dive bombers, many near misses were obtained, The American merchant ship Carlton had a fractured a steam pipe and proceeded to Seidisfiord in tow of the A/S trawler HMS Northern Spray.

26 May 1942.

Shortly before 0300 hours U-703 attacked convoy PQ 16 and managed to torpedo and sink the American merchant Syros in position 72°35'N, 05°30'E.

During the remainder of day enemy aircraft were in contact and were homing in U-boats.

At 0400 hours (All U-boat times are Berlin time) U-209 briefly made contact.

At the same time U-436 was also in contact and fired one torpedo which missed.

At 0427 hours U-436 fired two torpedoes at the A/S trawler HMS Lady Madeleine. Both missed and Lady Madeleine then counter attacked with depth charges causing damage to the German submarine forcing her to break off her patrol.

At 0846 hours U-591 attacked HMS Achates with three torpedoes which missed. Achates then counter attacked but the depth charges fell way off.

At 0930 hours U-586 was driven off with gunfire by HMS Martin.

At 1400 hours U-703 briefly made contact.

At 2212 hours U-703 was detected by HMS Martin and engaged with gunfire. On diving she was depth charged but sustained no damage.

27 May 1942.

During the day convoy PQ 16 was attacked many times by emeny aircraft. Three of the merchant vessels were sunk by bombs Empire Lawrence, Empire Purcell and Mormacsul. The Alamar was heavily damaged by bombs and was scuttled by HMS Trident. Also the merchant vessel Lowther Castle was sunk by enemy torpedo aircraft.

The merchant vessels Stary Bolshevik, Ocean Voice (with the Convoi-Commodore Capt. Gale on board), Empire Baffin and City of Joliet were damaged during the air attacks.

The destroyer ORP Garland was also damaged and detached to Murmansk. It is possible the destroyer was damaged by her own depth charges while attacking U-703 shortly before noon.

The already damaged merchant vessel Carlton, in tow of HMS Northern Spray towards Seidisfiord is also attacked by enemy aircraft but no hits were obtained on her.

Also on this day Russian destroyers from the eastern local escort sailed from Murmansk to join convoy PQ 16. It was made up Grozniy, Sokrushitelny, Valerian Kyubishev. Also four British minesweepers sailed to join the escort as well, these were HMS Bramble, HMS Leda, HMS Seagull and HMS Gossamer. They all joined the convoy escort the next day.

Force Q (RFA tanker Black Ranger escorted by HMS Ledbury is detached to Scapa Flow.

HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney departed Seidisfiord to make rendez-vous with the battlefleet in position 66°50'N, 11°25'W.

The merchant vessels Cape Race, Empire Morn and Southgate split off from convoy QP 12 and set course for the Clyde escorted by HMS Ulster Queen, HMS Venomous and HMS Badsworth.

28 May 1942.

HMS Victorious was detached from the battlefleet to Hvalfiord escorted by HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury and HMS Eclipse.

HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney joined the battlefleet at sea.

HMS Kent detached from the cruiser cover force and set course for Hvalfiord.

The damaged American merchant vessel City of Joliet had to be abandoned and was scuttled.

29 May 1942.

HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus left the battlefleet for Skaalefiord to fuel, arriving A.M. and after fuelling sailed independently for Scapa Flow.

HMS Victorious end her escort HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury and HMS Eclipse arrived at Hvalfiord.

Force Q (RFA Black Ranger and HMS Ledbury) was ordered to proceed to Sullom Voe instead of Scapa Flow.

The cruiser cover force HMS Nigeria, HMS Liverpool, HMS Norfolk, HMS Onslow, HMS Oribi and HMS Marne arrived at Scapa Flow.

The battlefleet, which at that time was made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York, USS Washington, heavy cruisers HMS London, USS Wichita, destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind and USS Rowan and the escort destroyers HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney also arrived at Scapa Flow.

HMS Kent arrived at Hvalfiord.

Convoy QP 12 (minus the three merchants and their escort that had been detached on the 27th) arrived at Reykjavik, Iceland.

30 May 1942.

The merchant vessels Cape Race, Empire Morn and Southgate (Ex QP 12) escorted by HMS Venomous and HMS Badsworth arrived at the Clyde. Ulster Queen had been ordered to proceed to Belfast where she arrived also on this day.

Convoy PQ 16 arrived at Murmansk. Six merchant ships continued on to Archangel where they arrived on 1 June. ( 3 )

27 Jun 1942
Convoy operations PQ 17 / QP 13

Convoy’s to and from Northern Russia

On 27 June 1942 Convoy PQ 17 departed Reykjavik Iceland bound for northern Russia. This convoy was made up of the following merchant ships

American Alcoa Ranger (5116 GRT, built 1919), Bellingham (5345 GRT, built 1920), Benjamin Harrison (7191 GRT, built 1942), Carlton (5127 GRT, built 1920), Christopher Newport (7191 GRT, built 1942), Daniel Morgan (7177 GRT, built 1942), Exford (4969 GRT, built 1919), Fairfield City (5686 GRT, built 1920), Honomu (6977 GRT, built 1919), Hoosier (5060 GRT, built 1920), Ironclad (5685 GRT, built 1919), John Witherspoon (7191 GRT, built 1942), Olopana (6069 GRT, built 1920), Pan Atlantic (5411 GRT, built 1919), Pan Kraft (5644 GRT, built 1919), Peter Kerr (6476 GRT, built 1920), Richard Bland (7191 GRT, built 1942), Washington (5564 GRT, built 1919), West Gotomska (5728 GRT, built 1919), William Hooper (7177 GRT, built 1942), Winston-Salem (6223 GRT, built 1920),

British Bolton Castle (5203 GRT, built 1939), Earlston (7195 GRT, built 1941), Empire Byron (6645 GRT, built 1941), Empire Tide (6978 GRT, built 1941), Hartlebury (5082 GRT, built 1934), Navarino (4841 GRT, built 1937), Ocean Freedom (7173 GRT, built 1942), River Afton (5479 GRT, built 1935), Samuel Chase (7191 GRT, built 1942), Silver Sword (4937 GRT, built 1920),

Dutch Paulus Potter (7168 GRT, built 1942),

Panamanian El Capitan (5255 GRT, built 1917), Troubadour (6428 GRT, built 1920),

The Russian tankers Azerbaidjan (6114 GRT, built 1932), Donbass (7925 GRT, built 1935),

The British (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941).

Also with the convoy was a British rescue ship Zaafaran (1559 GRT, built 1921).

The US merchants Exford and West Gotomska had to return both arrived back damaged at Reykjavik on 30 June. The first one due to ice damage and the second one due to damaged engines.

Escort was provided by the minesweepers HMS Britomart (Lt.Cdr. S.S. Stammwitz, RN), HMS Halcyon (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC, RN), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Ayrshire (T/Lt. L.J.A. Gradwell, RNVR), HMS Lord Austin (T/Lt. O.B. Egjar, RNR), HMS Lord Middleton (T/Lt. R.H. Jameson, RNR) and HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RD, RNR) and the submarine HMS P 615 (Lt. P.E. Newstead, RN).

The convoy was joined at sea by a close escort force made up of the following warships destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN / in command of the close escort of the convoy) , HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. L’Anson, RN), escort destroyers HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN), HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN), corvettes HMS Lotus (Lt. H.J. Hall, RNR), HMS Poppy (Lt. N.K. Boyd, RNR), HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.G. Rankin, RNR), HMS La Malouine (T/Lt. V.D.H. Bidwell, RNR), Auxiliary AA ships HMS Palomares (A/Capt.(rtd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) and HMS Pozarica (A/Capt.(rtd.) E.D.W. Lawford, RN) and submarine HMS P 614 (Lt. D.J. Beckley, RN). Also two more British rescue ships sailed with this force to join the convoy at sea Rathlin (1600 GRT, built 1936) and Zamalek (1567 GRT, built 1921).

The RFA tanker Grey Ranger, which was to fuel the escorts, was now sailing independent from the convoy, she was escorted by the destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN). Another RFA tanker, the Aldersdale, had now joined the convoy. It had originally been intended that Aldersdale would take the role the Grey Ranger was now performing but Grey Ranger had been damaged by ice to the north of Iceland so both tankers swappd roles.

Meanwhile on June 26th the Archangel section of the return convoy QP 13 had departed that port. This section was made up of 22 merchant ships

American American Press (5131 GRT, built 1920), American Robin (5172 GRT, built 1919), Hegira (7588 GRT, built 1919), Lancaster (7516 GRT, built 1918), Massmar (5828 GRT, built 1920), Mormacrey (5946 GRT, built 1919), Yaka (5432 GRT, built 1920),

British Chulmleigh (5445 GRT, built 1938), Empire Mavis (5704 GRT, built 1919), Empire Meteor (7457 GRT, built 1940), Empire Stevenson (6209 GRT, built 1941), St. Clears (4312 GRT, built 1936),

Dutch Pieter de Hoogh (7168 GRT, built 1941),

Panamanian Capira (5625 GRT, built 1920), Mount Evans (5598 GRT, built 1919),

Russian Alma Ata (3611 GRT, built 1920), Archangel (2480 GRT, built 1929), Budenni (2482 GRT, built 1923), Komiles (3962 GRT, built 1932), Kuzbass (3109 GRT, built 1914), Petrovski (3771 GRT, built 1921), Rodina (4441 GRT, built 1922), Stary Bolshevik (3794 GRT, built 1933)

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. H. Eibel), the corvettes HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (Lt. H.H.D. MacKillican, DSC, RNR), the auxiliary AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(rtd.) H.F. Nash, RN) and a local escort of four minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, DSO, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN), HMS Leda (A/Cdr.(rtd.) A.H. Wynne-Edwards, RN) and HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN).

the next day (27th) the Murmask section of convoy QP 13 also went to sea. This was made up of 12 merchant ships

American City of Omaha (6124 GRT, built 1920), Heffron (7611 GRT, built 1919), Hybert (6120 GRT, built 1920), John Randolph (7191 GRT, built 1941), Mauna Kea (6064 GRT, built 1919), Nemaha (6501 GRT, built 1920), Richard Henry Lee (7191 GRT, built 1941),

British Atlantic (5414 GRT, built 1939), Empire Baffin (6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Selwyn (7167 GRT, built 1941),

Panamanian Exterminator (6115 GRT, built 1924), Michigan (6419 GRT, built 1920),

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, DSO, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), the minesweepers HMS Niger (Cdr.ret.) A.J. Cubison, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSC, RN), the corvettes HMS Hyderabad (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RN), FFS Roselys and the A/S trawlers Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G.Ogden, RNVR) and St. Elstan (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR). Also three Russian destroyers (Grozniy, Gremyashchiy and Valerian Kyubishev) joined the escort of convoy QP 13 as far as 30 degrees East.

To cover these convoy operations a close cover force departed Hvalfjordur, Iceland on 30 June to take up a position to the north of convoy PQ 17. This force was made up of the British heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), as well as the American heavy cruisers USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN) and USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN). They were escorted by the British destroyer HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and the American destroyers USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) and USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN).

A distant cover force had meanwhile sailed from Scapa Flow late on the 29th to take up a cover position north-east of Jan Mayen Island. This force was made up of battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, with the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Sir J. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN on board), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, with Vice-Admiral Sir B. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, second in command Home Fleet on board), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, with Rear-Admiral Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN, commanding Cruiser Squadron 10 on board). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN, Capt. 8th Destroyer Flotilla), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.de.L Brooke, RN). The destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN, Capt. 17th Destroyer Flotilla), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN) and USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN) meanwhile arrived at Seidisfiord, Iceland from Scapa Flow to fuel before joining the Battlefleet at sea later.

Earlier on the 29th Force X, which was to act as a decoy convoy to fool the Germans, had departed Scapa Flow. This force was made up of the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (A/Capt. J. Cresswell, RN), Agamemnon (Capt.(rtd.) F. Ratsey, RN) , Port Quebec (A/Capt.(rtd.) V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN) , Menestheus (Capt.(rtd.) R.H.F. de Salis, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN) and four merchant vessels (colliers ?). They were escorted by the light cruisers Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), Curacoa (Capt. J.W. Boutwood, RN), minelayer Adventure (Capt. N.V. Grace, RN), destroyers Brighton (Cdr.(rtd). C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), St. Marys (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys. RNethN), the escort destroyers Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN), and 4 A/S trawlers. This force sailed eastward twice, on 30 June and 2 July, to about position 61°30’N, 01°30’E but was not spotted by the Germans.

First contact with the enemy occurred on 1 July 1942 when escorts from convoy PQ 17 twice attacked German submarines that were spotted on the surface several miles from the convoy. These were U-456 that was depth charged by HMS Ledbury and sustained light damage and U-657 that was depth charged by HMS Ledbury and HMS Leamington, she sustained no damage. That evening convoy PQ 17 also suffered its first attack from the air. Nine torpedo aircraft approached the convoy at about 1800 hours in position 73°30’N, 04°00’E. Some dropped torpedoes but they exploded wide of the convoy. One aircraft was shot down, most likely by the destroyer USS Rowan which was en-route from the cruiser force to the convoy to fuel from the Aldersdale.

The next night the convoy ran into for which persisted until the forenoon of the 3rd. In the afternoon of 2 July, U-255 made a torpedo attack on one of the escorts, HMS Fury, two torpedoes were fire but both missed. Fury then counter attacked with depth charges but U-255 sustained no damage. At more or less the same time U-376 was also depth charged by two or three escorts, she was not damaged. Shortly afterwards U-334 was also depth charged but she also escaped without damage.

On the 3rd several U-Boats were in contact for short periods but three were driven off by the escorts in the afternoon. When the mist cleared shadowing aircraft soon regained contact on the convoy.

By the early morning of the 4th convoy PQ 17 was about 60 nautical miles north of Bear Island where it sustained its first loss. Just before 0500 hours the new American merchant vessel Christopher Newport was torpedoed by a single aircraft. Damage was serious and the ship was finished off by the British submarine HMS P 614 which was part of the convoys escort while the rescue ship Zamalek took off the crew. The ship however remained afloat and was finally finished off by U-457.

In the evening of the 4th German aircraft made a successful attack on the convoy hitting the British merchant vessel Navarino, the American merchant William Hooper and the Russian tanker Azerbaidjan. The Azerbaidjan was able to proceed at 9 knots and in the end reached port. The other two ships had to be sunk, most of their crews were picked up by the rescue vessels. William Hooper in fact remained afloat and was finally finished off by U-334.

The situation was now as follows. Convoy PQ 17 was now about 130 nautical miles north-east of Bear Island and had just come through the heavy air attack remarkably well. The convoy discipline and shooting had been admirable and a substantial toll had been taken on the enemy. Rear-Admiral Hamilton was still covering the convoy with his cruiser force some ten miles to the north-eastward, with orders by the Admiralty to do so until ordered otherwise. Some 350 miles to the westward the main cover force was cruising in the area south-west of Spitzbergen.

Now turning to the Germans. The approval of the Führer to sail the heavy ships to attack the convoy had still not been obtained. The Tirpitz and Admiral Hipper meanwhile had joined the Admiral Scheer at the Alternfjord but noting further could be done without the Führer’s approval.

Meanwhile at the Admiralty it was known that German heavy surface units had gone to sea from Trondheim (battleships Tirpitz and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper) and Narvik (pocket battleships Lützow and Admiral Scheer) but they had not been detected at sea. Fearing an attack on the convoy by these ships was imminent the convoy was ordered to scatter at 2123/4. Shortly before that the close cover force had been ordered to withdraw to the west as it was obviously no match for the German heavy ships.

The Admiralty decision was conveyed to Rear-Admiral Hamilton in the following three signals Most immediate. Cruiser force withdraw to the west at high speed. (2111B/4) Most immediate. Owning to threat of surface ships, convoy is to disperse and to proceed to Russian ports. (2123B/4) Most immediate. My 2323B/4. Convoy is to scatter. (2136B/4) To Rear-Admiral Hamilton these signals could only mean that further information the admiralty had been hoping for had indeed come in and was of such a nature as to render imperative the drastic measures now ordered. Actually the reason for use of high speed by the cruisers was due to the massing of enemy submarines between 11°E and 20°E and the order to scatter was intended merely as a technical amendment of the term disperse that was used in the previous signal. This could not be known by the recipients, and the cumulative effect of these three signals – especially as the last one had a more important marking as the middle one – was to imply that pressing danger was actually upon them. As Commander Broome put it he expected to see the cruisers open fire and the enemy’s mast appear on the horizon at any moment. In this belief he decided to take the destroyers of his escort group to reinforce the cruiser force, and ordered the two submarines to stay near the convoy when it scattered and to try to attack the enemy, while the rest of the escorting ships were to proceed independently to Archangel.

At 2215/4 Commander Broome passed the signal to scatter to Commodore Dowding. The convoy was then in position 75°55’N, 27°52’E. Commander Broome then departed with the destroyers of the close screen to join the cruiser force of Rear-Admiral Hamilton.

Rear-Admiral Hamilton received the Admiralty orders at 2200/4. HMS Norfolk had just flown off her aircraft on an ice patrol. He therefore stood to the eastward for half an hour while attemps were made to recall it but these were without success and at 2230 hours the force turned to a westerly course at 25 knots steering to pass to the southward of the convoy so as to be between it and the probable direction of the enemy. An hour later they passed the merchant vessels which were now on widely divergent courses.

Rear-Admiral Hamilton was much concerned at the effect of the apparent desertion of the merchant ships had on morale. Had he been aware that the Admiralty had no further information of the enemy heavy units then he himself possessed he would have remained in a covering position until the convoy was widely dispersed.

As time went on without further developments Rear-Admiral Hamilton became more and more puzzled as to what have led to the sudden scattering of the convoy. But whatever the reason, the orders for his own force were clear, so he remained his westerly course at 25 knots. Thick fog was encountered soon after midnight, which persisted with brief intervals till 0630/5. Commander Broome, equally mystified by the course of events, soon began to feel that his place was with the merchant ships but he thought Rear-Admiral Hamilton was acting on fuller information then himself. As soon as the fog lifted sufficiently for visual signalling he informed the Rear-Admiral of his last hurried instructions to PQ 17 and requested that they should be amplified or amended as nessesary.

Actually Rear-Admiral Hamilton, who was still under the impression that enemy surface forces were in close proximity, argued that once the convoy had been scattered the enemy would leave it to their air forces and submarines to deal with it (and this was exactly what the Germans did). He feared the enemy surface forces would be ordered to deal with his force and reinforced by Commander Broome’s destroyers he felt that he could fight a delaying action, and had a good chance of leading the enemy within reach of the aircraft of HMS Victorious and possibly the heavy ships of the force of the Commander-in-Chief.

At 0700/5, while in position 75°40’N, 16°00’E, Rear-Admiral Hamilton reduced to 20 knots and at 0930 hours set course for Jan Mayen Island. It was not until that forenoon that the situation as regards the enemy heavy ships was made clear to him. Meanwhile he had to decide what to do with Commander Broome’s destroyers. Accordingly he ordered them to fuel from HMS London and HMS Norfolk. By 1630 hours the fueling of HMS Ledbury, HMS Wilton, USS Rowan and HMS Keppel had been completed. At 1740 hours a German Focke Wulf aircraft made contact and correctly reported the force in position 74°30’N, 07°40’E. Having been located, Rear-Admiral Hamilton broke wireless silence and at 1830/5 informed the Commander-in-Chief of his position, course, speed and the composition of his force. This was the first time the Commander-in-Chief was informed of the fact the Commander Broome’s destroyers with with the force of Rear-Admiral Hamilton, a fact which he regretted.

The Commander-in-Chief, having spent 4 July cruising about 150 nautical miles north-west of Bear Island, had turned to the south-westward in the early morning of the 5th, and was then on his way back to Scapa Flow some 120 nautical miles south-west of the force of Rear-Admiral Hamilton. Shortly afterwards there came news at last of the German heavy ships. The Russian submarine K-21 reported at 1700/5 the Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer and eight destroyers in position 71°25’N, 23°40’E, steering course 045°. She claimed to have hit the Tirpitz with two torpedoes. An hour or so later, at 1816 hours, a reconnoitring aircraft reported eleven strange ships in position 71°31’N, 27°10’E steering 065°, speed 10 knots. And finally HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN), at 2029/5 reported the Tirpitz and Admiral Hipper escorted by at least six destroyers and eight aircraft in position 71°30’N, 28°40’E steering a course of 060° at a speed of 22 knots.

Actually the cruise of the German ships was of short duration. Hitler’s permission to lauch the operation had only been obtained in the forenoon of the 5th and the executive order was given at 1137 hours. Rear-Admiral Hamilton’s cruisers were then known to be moving to the westward and Admiral Tovey’s covering force was some 450 miles away from the convoy. It seemed there would be no immediate danger for the German heavy ships provided they could approach the merchant ships unseen and engage them for a time as short as possible. But the Allied sighting reports were intercepted and the Naval Staff calculated that Admiral Tovey would be able to close sufficiently to launch an air attack before they would be able to return to port I they continued operations against the merchant ships after 0100/6. Air and U-boat attacks were meanwhile taking a heavy toll on the convoy and it did not seem that it was worth the risk. At 2132/5 orders were given to abandon the operation. At 2152 hours, while in position 71°38’N, 31°05’E the German ships reversed course and returned to Altafjord.

During the night of 5/6 July the Admiralty made three signals to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet suggesting that the Tirpitz might be ‘reluctant to go as far as the convoy’ if the battlefleet was sighted steering to the eastward, and that aircraft from HMS Victorious might be able to attack her if she had ben damaged by the Russian submarines. The latter appeared to Admiral Tovey unlikely, for as it seemed certain that the Tirpitz, especially if damaged, would not be sailed down the Norwegian coast until adequate fighter cover and seaward reconnaissance were available. However, arrangements were made for the fleet to reverse its course if the approach of enemy aircraft was detected and at 0645/6 course was altered back to the north-eastward. An hour later an enemy aircraft passed over the fleet above the clouds but endeavours to attrack its attention by gunfire and fighters were unsuccessful. That forenoon Rear-Admiral Hamilton’s force joined the fleet at 1040/6. Weather was unsuitable for air reconnaissance and Admiral Tovey felt that nothing was to be gained by continuing to the north-eastward. Rear-Admiral Hamilton’s cruisers and eight destroyers were detached to Seidisfjord at 1230 hours and the battlefleet turned to the southward again shortly afterwards. All ships reached harbour on the 8th.

The last news of the enemy ships came on 7 July, when a British aircraft working from Vaenga, near Murmansk, reported the Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper and some destroyers followed by an oiler from a neighbouring fjord turning out of Lang Fjord in Arnoy (70°N, 20°30’E). By this time the Allied ships were well on their way home but an attempt to attack the enemy was once again made by submarines. Anticipating their return to Narvik, HMS Sturgeon and FFL Minerve had been ordered on 6 July to leave the main patrol line and to patrol to the mouth of the Vest Fjord on the 7th and the 8th, one at a time, in case the Tirpitz should pass on the outside of the Lofoten Islands, owning to her heavy draught due to possible damage. Nothing came of this, however, nor of a further patrol carried out by HMS Sturgeon on the night of 9/10 July close inshore some 70 nautical miles north of Trondheim in case of any German ships going to that port.

Now back to the ships of convoy PQ 17. The sudden order to scatter came to Commodore Dowding as an unpleasant surprise. Like Rear-Admiral Hamilton and Commander Broome he did not doubt that it heralded the immediate appearance of enemy heavy ships, and as the escorting destroyers parted company to join the cruisers, he signalled to HMS Keppel ‘Many thanks, goodbye and good hunting’ to which Commander Broome replied ‘It’s a grim business leaving you here’. It was indeed a grim business and the gravity of the situation was clear to all. Weather attack by surface craft developed in a few minutes or by aircraft and submarines during the next few days, the plight of the individual merchant ships – deprived of mutual support of their escort - was parlous in the extreme.

The convoy scattered as laid down in the instructions, in perfect order, though it must have been apparent to the ships that had to turn to the south-west that they were heading towards where the most trouble might be expected. The merchant ships proceeded mostly alone, or in groups of two or three. The anti-aircraft ships HMS Palomares and HMS Pozarica each took charge of a group, each collecting also two or three minesweepers or corvettes to act as a screen. They joined company the next day and proceeded towards Novaya Zemlya. HMS Salamander accompanied two merchantmen and a rescue ship. HMS Daniella was escorting the submarines, HMS P 614 and HMS P 615. She stood them clear of the convoy, when they separated to patrol in its wake, while the corvette went on by itself. At first the different groups spread on courses ranging from north to east, a few steering afterwards for Archangel, most seeking shelter in Novaya Zemlya. But less than half the merchant ships reached even ‘horrid Zembla’s frozen realms’, for 17 in addition to the oiler RFA Aldersdale and the rescue ship Zaafaran were sunk during the next three days by bombing aircraft and U-boats. The bulk of the losses took place on the 5th while the ships were still far to the north, six being sunk by bombs and six were torpedoed by submarines. One ship was bombed on the 6th. Four were torpedoed by U-boats off the south-west coast of Novaya Zemlya between the evening of the 6th and the early morning of the 8th.

By the 7th of July, most of the escort, the rescue ship Zamalek and five merchant ships, the Ocean Freedom, Hoosier, Benjamin Harrison, El Capitan and Samual Chase, had reached Matochkin Strait. Commodore Dowding, whose ship the River Afton had been sunk by a U-boat on the 5th, arrived in HMS Lotus, which had rescued him and 36 survivors, including the Master after 3.5 hours on rafts and floats. After a conference on board HMS Palomares, these merchantmen were formed into a convoy into a convoy and sailed that evening, escorted by the two AA ships, HMS Halcyon, HMS Salamander, HMS Britomart, HMS Poppy, HMS Lotus and HMS La Malouine and three A/S trawlers. The Benjamin Harrison soon got separated in fog and returned to the Matochkin Strait but the remainder were still in company when the fog temporarily cleared during the forenoon of the 8th, and course was shaped to pass east and south of Kolguyev Island. It was an anxious passage, much fog and ice was encountered and U-boats were known to be about. From time to time boatloads of survivors from other ships already sunk were encountered and picked up. A remainder of the fate that might be in store for any of them. During the noght of 9-10 July some 40 bombers carried out high level attacks on this small convoy. The attacks lasted for four hours, the Hoosier and El Capitan were sunk by near misses some 60 nautical miles north of Cape Kanin. Four aircraft are believed to have been shot down. The attacks ended at 0230/10 and half an hour later two Russian flying boats appeared. The surviving ships arrived at Archangel the next day, 11 July. Three ships out of thirty-seven were now in port, not a very successful convoy so far. Things were however not that bad as Commodore Dowding thought at that moment. The rescue ship Rathlin with two merchant ships, the Donbass and the Bellingham had arrived on the 9th, having shot down an aircraft the day before, and before long the news of other ships sheltering in Novaya Zemlya came in.

At his special request, Commodore Dowding, despite all he had been through, left Archangel in HMS Poppy on 16 July, in company with HMS Lotus and HMS La Malouine, to form these merchant ships into a convoy and bring them to Archangel. After a stormy passage they arrived at Byelushya Bay on the 19th. There 12 survivors from the merchant Olopana were found. During the day the coast was searched and in the evening the Winston Salem was found agound and later the Empire Tide was found at anchor. The next morning Motochkin Strait was entered and five merchant ships were found at anchor, the Benjamin Harrison, Silver Sword, Troubadour, Ironclad and the Azerbaidjan. A Russian icebreaker (the Murman) was also there as was a Russian trawler (the Kerov). Also, one of the escorts of convoy PQ 17 was found there, the British A/S trawler Ayrshire.

Commodore Dowding wasted no time. A conference was held that forenoon and in the evening all ships sailed, the Commodore leading in the Russian icebreaker Murman. The Empire Tide, which had a lot of survivors from sunken ships aboard joined the convoy early the next day. The Winston Salem was however still aground with two Russian tugs standing by. Much fog was encountered during the passage which was uneventful except for two U-boat alarms. The escort was reinforced by HMS Pozarica, HMS Bramble, HMS Hazard, HMS Leda, HMS Dianella and two Russian destroyers on the 22th. The convoy arrived safe at Archangel on the 24th.

Four days later (on the 28th) the Winston Salem was finally refloated. She managed reached harbour as the last ship of the ill-fated PQ 17 convoy making a total of 11 survivors out of a total of 35 ships. It was realised afterwards by the Admiralty that the decision to scatter the convoy had been premature.

The disastrous passage of convoy PQ 17 tended to throw into the background the fortunes of the westbound convoy, QP 13. This convoy of 35 ships sailed in two parts from Archangel and Murmansk and joined at sea on 28 June under Commodore N.H. Gale. Thick weather prevailed during most of the passage, but the convoy was reported by enemy aircraft on 30 June while still east of Bear Island and again on 2 July. No attacks developed, the enemy focus was on the eastbound convoy. That afternoon the ill-fated convoy PQ 17 was passed.

After an uneventful passage, convoy QP 13 divided off the north-east coast of Iceland on 4 July. Commodore Gale with 16 merchant ships turned south for Loch Ewe while the remaining 9 merchant ships continued round the north coast of Iceland for Reykjavik. At 1900/5 these ships formed into a five column convoy. They were escorted by HMS Niger (SO), HMS Hussar, FFL Roselys, HMS Lady Madeleine and HMS St. Elstan. They were now approaching the north-west corner of Iceland. The weather was overcast, visibility about one mile, wind north-east, force 8, sea rough. No sights had been obtained since 1800/2 and the convoys position was considerably in doubt. At 1910/5 Commander Cubison (C.O. HMS Niger) suggested that the front of the convoy should be reduced to two columns in order to pass between Straumnes and the minefield off the north-west coast of Iceland. This was the first the convoy Commodore had heard of the existence of this minefield. Soon afterwards, Commander Cubison gave his estimated position at 2000/5 as 66°45’N, 22°22’W and suggested altering course 222° for Straumnes Point at that time. This was done. About two hours later, at 2200 hours, HMS Niger which had gone ahead to try to make landfall leaving HMS Hussar as a visual link with the convoy, sighted what she took to be North Cape bearing 150° at a range of one mile and ordered the course of the convoy to be altered to 270°. Actually what HMS Niger sighted was a large iceberg but this was not realised for some time. At 2240/5 HMS Niger blew up and sank with heavy loss of life, including Commander Cubison. Five minutes later a last signal from her, explaining her mistaken landfall and recommending a return to course 222° was handed to the convoy Commodore. But it was too late, already explosions were occurring amongst the merchant ships. The westerly course had led the convoy straight into the minefield. Considerable confusion prevailed, some thinking that a U-boat attack was in progress, other imagining a surface raider. Four ships were sunk, the Heffron, Hybert, Massmar and the Rodina and two were seriously damaged, the John Randolph and the Exterminator. Good rescue work was carried out by the escorts, especially the FFL Roselys which picked up 179 survivors from various ships. Meanwhile HMS Hussar had obtained a shore fix, led out the remaining merchant ships, which reformed on a southerly course for Reykjavik where they arrived without further misadventure.

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Enters the War [ edit ]

Rhind then steamed north to patrol the waters off Bermuda. In February 1942, she shifted further north and through March escorted Icelandic convoys. In April she shepherded a convoy to the Panama Canal Zone and on the 23rd, while en route back to New York, conducted her first depth charge attack on a German submarine. The U-boat had shelled a Norwegian merchantman off New Jersey. Arriving at New York the same day, she departed again on the 30th to escort convoy AT-15 to Iceland. There, on 15 May, she joined TF 99 and for the next 3 months operated with that force and the British Home Fleet in hunting German units operating out of Norway to intercept convoys to Murmansk and Archangel.

McNitt, Robert W., Rear Adm., USN (Ret.)

Graduated from the Naval Academy in 1938 after playing a valuable role in the establishment of the academy's ocean sailing program. Initial commissioned service was on board the heavy cruiser Chicago (CA-29) and the destroyer Rhind (DD-404), including combat duty in the Atlantic. After Submarine School, was executive officer of the submarine Barb (SS-220) under skipper Gene Fluckey. Following postgraduate work in ordnance engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served 1947-49 in the large aircraft carrier Midway (CVB-41) and 1949-52 at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory at White Oak, Maryland.

In the 1950's commanded the escort destroyer Taylor (DDE-468), served in the Bureau of Ordnance, and was a student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Later commanded Destroyer Division 322, the Atlantic Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Tactical School, and Destroyer Squadron 25. At the Naval Academy in 1962-64 had a large role in revising the curriculum and hiring the first academic dean. Flag officer duties in the 1960's included being U.S. representative on the staff of Commander in Chief Allied Forces Mediterranean, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Four, and superintendent of the Naval Postgraduate School. In 1971-72 McNitt served as Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower and Training) and from 1972 to 1985 was the civilian dean of admissions at the Naval Academy.

Transcripts of this oral history are available in many formats including bound volumes, and digital copies.

What Rhind family records will you find?

There are 13,000 census records available for the last name Rhind. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Rhind census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 2,000 immigration records available for the last name Rhind. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Rhind. For the veterans among your Rhind ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 13,000 census records available for the last name Rhind. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Rhind census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 2,000 immigration records available for the last name Rhind. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Rhind. For the veterans among your Rhind ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

After the war

Returning to Saipan the same day, Rhind accompanied landing craft to Marcus Island. Then, on the 16th, headed north for Iwo Jima, whence she patrolled on air/sea rescue station until 2 November. She returned to Saipan on the 4th and operated in the Marianas Islands until mid-December when she got underway for the United States. Arriving at San Diego, California 30 December, she was stripped and returned to Pearl Harbor and prepared for experimental testing. On 15 May she joined Joint Task Force 1 for Operation Crossroads, the atomic test series scheduled to be detonated at Bikini Atoll in July.

Surviving the tests on 1 and 25 July, but highly contaminated, Rhind was decommissioned 26 August 1946 and moved to Kwajalein where, after radiological clearance had been given and further examinations had been made, she was sunk, 22 March 1948. Her name was struck from the Navy list 5 April 1948.

As of 2006, no other ship in the United States Navy has been named Rhind.

Rhind DD-404 - History

Pagan was first claimed by Spain then became a German colony. After World War I, the island went to the Japanese by League of Nations mandate. Developed into a Japanese base.

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, the Japanese constructed Pagan Airfield and had a seaplane base off the island. During the middle of 1944 until the middle of 1945 attacked by American aircraft searching for a radio site that reportedly exisited on the island and was reporting on B-29 flights in the area, giving the home islands warning about incoming air raids. No radio station was found.

At the very end of the war, it was attacked by US forces looking for a radio site reportedly reporting B-29 flights. None were found, but there was one accidental US casualty on the island.

On September 2, 1945 USS Rhind DD-404 arrives at the island with Commodore Vernon F. Grant who accepts the surrender of the Japanese garrison on Pagan.

American missions against Pagan
June 23, 1944–July 24, 1945

After World War II, Pagan remained part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands until granted U.S. Commonwealth status. Today it is part of the Northern Islands Municipality. A 1981 volcano eruption caused the evacuation of all inhabitants. The last U.S. census of 2000 listed no residents.

Pagan Airfield
Japanese built airfield, still in use today for light aircraft.

F6F Hellcat Bureau Number 42117
Pilot Stream crashed June 23, 1944 pilot rescued

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At 11.20 hours on 23 April 1942 the unescorted Reinholt (Master Hans Nielsen) was attacked by U-752 with gunfire for about 20 minutes. The U-boat fired about 40 rounds of which 20-25 hit, but had then to break off the attack because two destroyers were spotted. The merchant had returned fire with 14 rounds from the stern gun without hitting. One man was killed and two were injured, which were transferred after about seven hours to a destroyer and were brought to a hospital in Brooklyn. The Reinholt had caught fire which was brought under control by the crew after 20 minutes, assisted by USS Rhind (DD 404) and reached New York the next day. She was repaired and returned to service after 17 days.

The master was awarded the Krigskorset, the highest Norwegian war medal. 15 other men received Krigsmedaljen.

Location of attack on Reinholt.

ship damaged.

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.


Health implications of water pollution Edit

Contamination of drinking water supplies can not only occur in the source water but also in the distribution system. Sources of water contamination include naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (arsenic, radon, uranium), local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, concentrated feeding operations), manufacturing processes, and sewer overflows or wastewater releases. Some examples of health implications of water contamination are gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people whose immune systems are compromised because of AIDS, chemotherapy, or transplant medications, may be especially susceptible to illness from some contaminants. [7]

Gastrointestinal illness Edit

Gastrointestinal disorders include such conditions as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, perianal abscesses, anal fistulas, perianal infections, diverticular diseases, colitis, colon polyps and cancer. [8] In general, children and the elderly are at highest risk for gastrointestinal disease. In a study investigating the association between drinking water quality and gastrointestinal illness in the elderly of Philadelphia, scientists found water quality 9 to 11 days before the visit was negatively associated with hospital admissions for gastrointestinal illness, with an interquartile range increase in turbidity being associated with a 9% increase). The association was stronger in those over 75 than in the population aged 65–74. This example is a small reflection of residents of the United States remain at risk of waterborne gastrointestinal illness under current water treatment practices. [9]

Reproductive problems Edit

Reproductive problems refer to any illness of the reproductive system. New research by Brunel University and the University of Exeter strengthens the relationship between water pollution and rising male fertility problems. Study identified a group of chemicals that act as anti-androgens in polluted water, which inhibits the function of the male hormone, testosterone, reducing male fertility. [10]

Neurological disorders Edit

Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine and the nerves that connect them. The new study of more than 700 people in California's Central Valley found that those who likely consumed contaminated private well water had a higher rate of Parkinson's. The risk was 90 percent higher for those who had private wells near fields sprayed with widely used insecticides. Unlike water supplies in large cities, private wells are mostly unregulated and are not monitored for contaminants. Many of them exist at shallow depths of less than 20 yards, and some of the crop chemicals used to kill pests and weeds can flow into ground water. Therefore, private wells are likely to contain pesticides, which can attack developing brains (womb or infancy), leading to neurological diseases later in life. A study led by UCLA epidemiology professor Beate Ritz suggests that "people with Parkinson’s were more likely to have consumed private well water, and had consumed it on average 4.3 years longer than those who did not have the disease." [11]

All waters with a "significant nexus" to "navigable waters" are covered under the CWA however, the phrase "significant nexus" remains open to judicial interpretation and considerable controversy. The 1972 statute frequently uses the term "navigable waters" but also defines the term as "waters of the United States, including the territorial seas." [12] Some regulations interpreting the 1972 law have included water features such as intermittent streams, playa lakes, prairie potholes, sloughs and wetlands as "waters of the United States." In 2006, in Rapanos v. United States, a plurality of the US Supreme Court held that the term "waters of the United States" "includes only those relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water 'forming geographic features' that are described in ordinary parlance as 'streams[,]. oceans, rivers, [and] lakes.'" Since Rapanos the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have attempted to define protected waters in the context of Rapanos through the 2015 Clean Water Rule but this has been highly controversial.

Point sources Edit

The CWA introduced the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a permit system for regulating point sources of pollution. [13] Point sources include:

  • industrial facilities (including manufacturing, mining, shipping activities, oil and gas extraction[14] and service industries). (particularly sewage treatment plants) and other government facilities (such as military bases), and
  • some agricultural facilities, such as animal feedlots.

Point sources may not discharge pollutants to surface waters without an NPDES permit. The system is managed by EPA in partnership with state environmental agencies. EPA has authorized 47 states to issue permits directly to the discharging facilities. The CWA also allows tribes to issue permits, but no tribes have been authorized by EPA. In the remaining states and territories, the permits are issued by an EPA regional office. [15] (See Titles III and IV.)

In legislation prior to 1972, Congress had authorized states to develop water quality standards, which would limit discharges from facilities based on the characteristics of individual water bodies. However, those standards were to be developed only for interstate waters, and the science to support that process (i.e. data, methodology) was in the early stages of development. That system was not effective, and there was no permit system in place to enforce the requirements. In the 1972 CWA, Congress added the permit system and a requirement for technology-based effluent limitations. [16]

In the 2020 Supreme Court case County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, the Court also validated that some discharges may not be point sources, but are the "functional equivalent of a direct discharge" to navigable waters, such as in this case, the injection of wastewater into groundwater injection wells. As of the time of the case's decision, this was not an area the EPA has established regulations for, and the Court instructed the EPA to work with the courts to define such functional equalivents. The Court wrote that this would likely depend most on the distance the pollutants traveled and time to reach navigable waters, with consideration for the material that the pollutants traveled through, any physical or chemical interaction of the pollutants with components in the ground, and how much of the pollutant makes it to the navigable water. [17]

Technology-based standards Edit

The 1972 CWA created a new requirement for technology-based standards for point source discharges. EPA develops those standards for categories of dischargers, based on the performance of pollution control technologies without regard to the conditions of a particular receiving water body. The intent of Congress was to create a "level playing field" by establishing a basic national discharge standard for all facilities within a category, using a "Best Available Technology." The standard becomes the minimum regulatory requirement in a permit. If the national standard is not sufficiently protective at a particular location, then water quality standards may be employed. [18]

Water quality standards Edit

The 1972 act authorized continued use of the water quality-based approach, but in coordination with the technology-based standards. After application of technology-based standards to a permit, if water quality is still impaired for the particular water body, then the permit agency (state or EPA) may add water quality-based limitations to that permit. The additional limitations are to be more stringent than the technology-based limitations and would require the permittee to install additional controls. Water quality standards consist of four basic elements: 1) Designated uses 2) Water quality criteria 3) Antidegradation policy and 4) General policies. [19]

Designated uses Edit

According to water quality standard regulations, federally recognized tribes/nations and states are required to specify appropriate water uses. Identification of appropriate water uses takes into consideration the usage and value of public water supply, protection of fish, wildlife, recreational waters, agricultural, industrial and navigational water ways. Suitability of a water body is examined by states and tribes/nations usages based on physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. States and tribes/nations also examine geographical settings, scenic qualities and economic considerations to determine fitness of designated uses for water bodies. If those standards indicate designated uses to be less than those currently attained, states or tribes are required to revise standards to reflect the uses that are actually being attained. For any body of water with designated uses that do not include "fishable/swimmable" target use that is identified in section 101(a)(2) of CWA, a "Use Attainability Analysis" must be conducted. Every three years, such bodies of water must be re-examined to verify if new information is available that demand a revision of the standard. If new information is available that specify “fishable/swimmable” uses can be attained, the use must be designated. [19]

Water quality criteria Edit

Federally recognized Indigenous Nations and states protect designated areas by adopting water quality criteria that the EPA publishes under §304(a) of the CWA, modifying the §304(a) criteria to reflect site-specific conditions or adopting criteria based on other scientifically defensible methods. Water quality criteria can be numeric criteria that toxicity causes are known for protection against pollutants. A narrative criterion is water quality criteria which serves as a basis for limiting the toxicity of waste discharges to aquatic species. A biological criterion is based on the aquatic community which describes the number and types of species in a water body. A nutrient criterion solely protects against nutrient over enrichment, and a sediment criterion describes conditions of contaminated and uncontaminated sediments in order to avoid undesirable effects. [19]

Anti-degradation policy Edit

Water quality standards consist of an anti-degradation policy that requires states and tribes to establish a three-tiered anti-degradation program. Anti-degradation procedures identify steps and questions that need to be addressed when specific activities affect water quality. Tier 1 is applicable to all surface waters. It maintains and protects current uses and water quality conditions to support existing uses. Current uses are identified by showing that fishing, swimming, and other water uses have occurred and are suitable since November 28, 1975. Tier 2 maintains and protects water bodies with existing conditions that are better to support CWA 101(a)(2) "fishable/swimmable" uses. Tier 3 maintains and protects water quality in outstanding national resource waters (ONRWs), which are the highest quality waters in the US with ecological significance. [19]

General policies Edit

States and Native American tribes adopt general policies pertaining to water quality standards that are subject to review and approval by the EPA. Those provisions on water quality standards include mixing zones, variance, and low flow policies. Mixing zone policy is defined area surrounding a point source discharge where sewage is diluted by water. Methodology of mixing zone procedure determines the location, size, shape and quality of mixing zones. Variance policy temporarily relax water quality standard and are alternatives to removing a designated use. States and tribes may include variance as part of their water quality standard. Variance is subject to public review every three years and warrant development towards improvement of water quality. Low Flow policy pertains to states and tribes water quality standards that identify procedures applied to determining critical low flow conditions. [19]

Nonpoint sources Edit

Congress exempted some water pollution sources from the point source definition in the 1972 CWA and was unclear on the status of some other sources. Such sources were therefore considered to be nonpoint sources that were not subject to the permit program.

Agricultural stormwater discharges and irrigation return flows were specifically exempted from permit requirements. [21] Congress, however, provided support for research, technical and financial assistance programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve runoff management practices on farms. See Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Stormwater runoff from industrial sources, municipal storm drains, and other sources were not specifically addressed in the 1972 law. EPA had declined to include urban runoff and industrial stormwater discharges in its initial implementation of the NPDES program, and subsequently the agency was sued by an environmental group. In 1977, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that stormwater discharges must be covered by the permit program. [22]

Research conducted starting in the late 1970s and 1980s indicated that stormwater runoff was a significant cause of water quality impairment in many parts of the US. In the early 1980s, the EPA conducted the Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP) to document the extent of the urban stormwater problem. The agency began to develop regulations for stormwater permit coverage but encountered resistance from industry and municipalities, and there were additional rounds of litigation. The litigation was pending when Congress considered further amendments to the CWA in 1986.

In the Water Quality Act of 1987, Congress responded to the stormwater problem by defining industrial stormwater dischargers and municipal separate storm sewer systems (often called "MS4") as point sources, and requiring them to obtain NPDES permits, by specific deadlines. The permit exemption for agricultural discharges continued, but Congress created several programs and grants, including a demonstration grant program at the EPA to expand the research and development of non point controls and management practices. [23]

Financing of pollution controls Edit

Congress created a major public works financing program for municipal sewage treatment in the 1972 CWA. A system of grants for construction of municipal sewage treatment plants was authorized and funded in Title II. In the initial program, the federal portion of each grant was up to 75 percent of a facility's capital cost, with the remainder financed by the state. In subsequent amendments Congress reduced the federal proportion of the grants and in the 1987 WQA transitioned to a revolving loan program in Title VI. Industrial and other private facilities are required to finance their own treatment improvements on the "polluter pays" principle.

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Edit

Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA) to provide an expanded credit program for water and wastewater infrastructure projects, with broader eligibility criteria than the previously-authorized revolving fund unter CWA Title VI. [24] Pursuant to WIFIA, EPA established its Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center in 2015 to help local governments and municipal utilities design innovative financing mechanisms, including public–private partnerships. [25] Congress amended the WIFIA program in 2015 and 2016. [26]

Title I - Research and Related Programs Edit

Title I includes a Declaration of Goals and Policy [27] and various grant authorizations for research programs and pollution control programs. Some of the programs authorized by the 1972 law are ongoing (e.g. section 104 research programs, section 106 pollution control programs, section 117 Chesapeake Bay Program) while other programs no longer receive funds from Congress and have been discontinued.

Title II - Grants for Construction of Treatment Works Edit

To assist municipalities in building or expanding sewage treatment plants, also known as publicly owned treatment works (POTW), Title II established a system of construction grants. The 1972 CWA provided that federal funds would support 75% of project costs, with state and local funds providing the remaining 25%. In 1981 Congress reduced the federal funding proportion for most grants to 55%. [28] : 4 [29]

The construction grant program was replaced by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in the 1987 WQA (see Title VI), although some local utilities continued to receive "special purpose project grants" directly from Congress, through a budgetary procedure known as "earmarking." [28] : 5

Title III - Standards and enforcement Edit

Discharge permits required Edit

Section 301 of the Act prohibits discharges to waters of the U.S. except with a permit. [30] (See Title IV for discussion of permit programs.) Recreational vessels are exempt from the permit requirements, but vessel operators must implement Best Management Practices to control their discharges. [31] (See Regulation of ship pollution in the United States.)

Technology-Based Standards Program Edit

Under the 1972 act EPA began to issue technology-based standards for municipal and industrial sources.

  • Municipal sewage treatment plants (POTW) are required to meet secondary treatment standards. [32] (for existing sources) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) are issued for categories of industrial facilities discharging directly to surface waters. [33]
  • Categorical Pretreatment Standards are issued to industrial users (also called "indirect dischargers") contributing wastes to POTW. [34] These standards are developed in conjunction with the effluent guidelines program. As with effluent guidelines and NSPS, pretreatment standards consists of Pretreatment Standards for Existing Sources (PSES) and Pretreatment Standards for New Sources (PSNS). There are 28 categories with pretreatment standards as of 2020.

As of 2020 the effluent guidelines and categorical pretreatment standards regulations have been published for 59 categories and apply to approximately 40,000 facilities that discharge directly to the nation's waters, 129,000 facilities that discharge to POTWs, and construction sites. These regulations are responsible for preventing the discharge of almost 700 billion pounds of pollutants each year. [35] EPA has updated some categories since their initial promulgation and has added new categories. [36]

The secondary treatment standards for POTWs and the effluent guidelines are implemented through NPDES permits. (See Title IV.) The categorical pretreatment standards are typically implemented by POTWs through permits that they issue to their industrial users. [37]

Water Quality Standards Program Edit

The framework that came out of the Clean Water Act to be implemented by the EPA and states includes states monitoring their water bodies and establishing Water Quality Standards for them. [2] Water Quality Standards (WQS) are risk-based requirements which set site-specific allowable pollutant levels for individual water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. States set WQS by designating uses for the water body (e.g., recreation, water supply, aquatic life, agriculture) and applying water quality criteria (numeric pollutant concentrations and narrative requirements) to protect the designated uses. An antidegradation policy is also issued by each state to maintain and protect existing uses and high quality waters. [38]

If a state fails to issue WQS, EPA is required to issue standards for that state. [39]

Water bodies that do not meet applicable water quality standards with technology-based controls alone are placed on the section 303(d) list of water bodies not meeting standards. Water bodies on the 303(d) list require development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet WQS. The TMDL is determined after study of the specific properties of the water body and the pollutant sources that contribute to the non-compliant status. Generally, the TMDL determines load based on a Waste Load Allocation (WLA), Load Allocation (LA), and Margin of Safety (MOS) Once the TMDL assessment is completed and the maximum pollutant loading capacity defined, an implementation plan is developed that outlines the measures needed to reduce pollutant loading to the non-compliant water body, and bring it into compliance. Over 60,000 TMDLs are proposed or in development for U.S. waters in the next decade and a half.

Following the issuance of a TMDL for a water body, implementation of the requirements involves modification to NPDES permits for facilities discharging to the water body to meet the WLA allocated to the water body (see Title IV). The development of WQS and TMDL is a complex process, both scientifically and legally, and it is a resource-intensive process for state agencies.

More than half of U.S. stream and river miles continue to violate water quality standards. Surveys of lakes, ponds and reservoirs indicated that about 70 percent were impaired (measured on a surface area basis), and a little more than 70 percent of the nation's coastlines, and 90 percent of the surveyed ocean and near coastal areas were also impaired. [40]

National Water Quality Inventory Edit

The primary mode of informing the quality of water of rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, estuaries, coastal waters and wetlands of the U.S. is through the National Water Quality Inventory Report. Water quality assessments are conducted pursuant to water quality standards adopted by states and other jurisdictions (territories, interstate commissions and tribes). The report is conveyed to Congress as a means to inform Congress and the public of compliance with quality standards established by states, territories and tribes. [41] [42] The assessments identify water quality problems within the states and jurisdictions, list the impaired and threatened water bodies, and identify non-point sources that contribute to poor water quality. Every two years states must submit reports that describe water quality conditions to EPA with a complete inquiry of social and economic costs and benefits of achieving goals of the Act. [41]

Enforcement Edit

Under section 309, EPA can issue administrative orders against violators, and seek civil or criminal penalties when necessary. [43]

  • For a first offense of criminal negligence, the minimum fine is $2,500, with a maximum of $25,000 fine per day of violation. A violator may also receive up to a year in jail. On a second offense, a maximum fine of $50,000 per day may be issued.
  • For a knowing endangerment violation, i.e. placing another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, a fine may be issued up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment up to 15 years for an individual, or up to $1,000,000 for an organization.

States that are authorized by EPA to administer the NPDES program must have authority to enforce permit requirements under their respective state laws.

Federal facilities Edit

Military bases, national parks and other federal facilities must comply with CWA provisions. [44]

Thermal pollution Edit

Section 316 requires standards for thermal pollution discharges, as well as standards for cooling water intake structures (e.g., fish screens). [45] These standards are applicable to power plants and other industrial facilities. [46]

Nonpoint Source Management Program Edit

The 1987 amendments created the Nonpoint Source Management Program under CWA section 319. [47] This program provides grants to states, territories and Indian tribes to support demonstration projects, technology transfer, education, training, technical assistance and related activities designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution. Grant funding for the program averaged $210 million annually for Fiscal Years 2004 through 2008. [48]

Military vessels Edit

Congress amended the CWA in 1996 to require development of Uniform National Discharge Standards ("UNDS") for military vessels. [49] EPA and the Department of Defense published standards in 2017 and 2020. [50] [51]

Title IV - Permits and licenses Edit

State certification of compliance Edit

States are required to certify that discharges authorized by federal permits will not violate the state's water quality standards. [52]

NPDES permits for point sources Edit

The NPDES permits program is authorized by CWA section 402. [53] The initial permits issued in the 1970s and early 1980s focused on POTWs and industrial wastewater—typically "process" wastewater and cooling water where applicable, and in some cases, industrial stormwater. The 1987 WQA expanded the program to cover stormwater discharges explicitly, both from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) and industrial sources. [54] The MS4 NPDES permits require regulated municipalities to use Best Management Practices to reduce pollutants to the "Maximum Extent Practicable." MS4s serve over 80% of the US population and provide drainage for 4% of the land area. [55]

POTWs with combined sewers are required to comply with the national Combined Sewer Overflow Control Policy, published by EPA in 1994. [56] The policy requires municipalities to make improvements to reduce or eliminate overflow-related pollution problems. [57] About 860 communities in the US have combined sewer systems, serving about 40 million people. [58]

Non-stormwater permits typically include numeric effluent limitations for specific pollutants. A numeric limitation quantifies the maximum pollutant load or concentration allowed in the discharge, e.g., 30 mg/L of biochemical oxygen demand. Exceeding a numeric limitation constitutes a violation of the permit, and the discharger is subject to fines as laid out in section 309. Facilities must periodically monitor their effluent (i.e., collect and analyze wastewater samples), and submit Discharge Monitoring Reports to the appropriate agency, to demonstrate compliance. Stormwater permits typically require facilities to prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and implement best management practices, but do not specify numeric effluent limits and may not include regular monitoring requirements. Some permits cover both stormwater and non-stormwater discharges. NPDES permits must be reissued every five years. Permit agencies (EPA, states, tribes) must provide notice to the public of pending permits and provide an opportunity for public comment. [59]

In 2012, EPA estimated that there are over 500,000 stormwater permittees. This number includes permanent facilities such as municipal (POTW, MS4) and industrial plants and construction sites, which are temporary stormwater dischargers. [60]

Dredge and fill permits Edit

Section 404 requires that a discharger of dredged or fill material obtain a permit, unless the activity is eligible for an exemption. [61] Essentially, all discharges affecting the bottom elevation of a jurisdictional water body require a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). These permits are an essential part of protecting streams and wetlands, which are often filled by land developers. Wetlands are vital to the ecosystem in filtering streams and rivers and providing habitat for wildlife. [62]

There are two main types of wetlands permits: general permits and individual permits. General permits change periodically and cover broad categories of activities, and require the permittee to comply with all stated conditions. General permits (such as the "Nationwide Permits") are issued for fill activities that will result in minimal adverse effects to the environment. Individual permits are utilized for actions that are not addressed by a general permit, or that do not meet the conditions of a General Permit. In addition, individual permits typically require more analysis than do the general permits, and usually require much more time to prepare the application and to process the permit.

When the USACE processes an application for an Individual Permit, it must issue a public notice describing the proposed action described in the permit application. Although the Corps District Engineer makes the decision to grant a permit, the EPA Administrator may veto a permit if it is not reasonable. Before making such a decision, however, EPA must consult with the USACE. A USACE permit typically expires after five years.

Mountaintop removal mining requires a section 404 permit when soil and rock from the mining operation is placed in streams and wetlands (commonly called a "valley fill"). Pollutant discharges from valley fills to streams also requires an NPDES permit. [63]

Exemptions Edit

After passage of the CWA in 1972, a controversy arose as to the application of section 404 to agriculture and certain other activities. The Act was interpreted by some to place restrictions on virtually all placement of dredged materials in wetlands and other waters of the United States, raising concern that the federal government was about to place all agricultural activities under the jurisdiction of USACE. For opponents of the Act, section 404 had, as a result of this concern, become a symbol of dramatic over-regulation. [64] : 901–903 When Congress considered the 1977 CWA Amendments, a significant issue was to ensure that certain agricultural activities and other selected activities, could continue without the government's supervision—in other words, completely outside the regulatory or permit jurisdiction of any federal agency.

The 1977 amendments included a set of six section 404 exemptions. For example, totally new activities such as construction of farm roads, Sec. 1344(f)(1)(E), construction of farm or stock ponds or irrigation ditches, and minor agricultural drainage, Sec. 1344(f)(1)(A), all are exempted by Statute. Section 1344(f)(1)(C), which exempts discharge of dredged material “for the purpose of. the maintenance of drainage ditches.” All of these exemptions were envisioned to be self-executing, that is not technically requiring an administrative no-jurisdiction determination. One such example was the maintenance of agricultural drainage ditches. [64] : 906 Throughout the hearing process, Congressmen of every environmental persuasion repeatedly stated that the over $5 Billion invested in drainage facilities could be maintained without government regulation of any kind. [64] : 906–912 Senator Edmund Muskie, for example, explained that exempt activities such as agricultural drainage would be entirely unregulated. [64] : 949 Other exemptions were granted as well, including exemptions for normal farming activities.

Importance of no-jurisdiction determinations Edit

Although Congress envisioned a set of self-executing exemptions, it has become common for landowners to seek no-jurisdiction determinations from the USACE. A landowner who intends to make substantial investments in acquisition or improvement of land might lawfully proceed with exempt activity, a permit not being required. The problem is that if the landowner's assumptions were incorrect and the activity later determined not to be exempt, the USACE will issue a cease and desist order. Obtaining an advanced ruling provides some level of comfort that the activities will have been deemed conducted in good faith.

Recapture of exemptions Edit

Because some of the six exemptions involved new activities, such as minor drainage and silviculture (the clearing of forests by the timber industry), Congress recognized the need to impose some limitations on exemptions. Consequently, Congress placed the so-called recapture clause limitation on these new project exemptions. Under section 404(f)(2), such new projects would be deprived of their exemption if all of the following three characteristics could be shown:

  1. A discharge of dredge or fill material in the navigable waters of the United States
  2. The discharge is incidental to an activity having as its purpose the bringing of an area of navigable waters into a use to which it was not previously subject, and
  3. Where the flow or circulation of navigable waters may be impaired or the reach of such waters may be reduced.

To remove the exemption, all of these requirements must be fulfilled—the discharge, the project purpose of bringing an area into a use to which it was not previously subject, and the impairment or reduction of navigable waters.

POTW Biosolids Management Program Edit

The 1987 WQA created a program for management of biosolids (sludge) generated by POTWs. [65] The Act instructed EPA to develop guidelines for usage and disposal of sewage sludge or biosolids. The EPA regulations: (1) Identify uses for sewage sludge, including disposal (2) Specify factors to be taken into account in determining the measures and practices applicable to each such use or disposal (including publication of information on costs) and (3) Identify concentrations of pollutants which interfere with each such use or disposal. EPA created an Intra-Agency Sludge Task Force to aid in developing comprehensive sludge regulations that are designed to do the following: (1) Conduct a multimedia examination of sewage sludge management, focusing on sewage sludge generated by POTWs and (2) develop a cohesive Agency policy on sewage sludge management, designed to guide the Agency in implementing sewage sludge regulatory and management programs. [66]

The term biosolids is used to differentiate treated sewage sludge that can be beneficially recycled. Environmental advantages of sewage sludge consist of, application of sludge to land due to its soil condition properties and nutrient content. Advantages also extend to reduction in adverse health effects of incineration, decreased chemical fertilizer dependency, diminishing greenhouse gas emissions deriving from incineration and reduction in incineration fuel and energy costs. Beneficial reuse of sewage sludge is supported in EPA policies: the 1984 Beneficial Reuse Policy and the 1991 Inter-agency Policy on Beneficial Use of Sewage Sludge, with an objective to reduce volumes of waste generated. Sewage sludge contains nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus but also contains significant numbers of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and eggs of parasitic worms. Sludge also contains more than trace amounts of organic and inorganic chemicals. Benefits of reusing sewage sludge from use of organic and nutrient content in biosolids is valuable source in improving marginal lands and serving as supplements to fertilizers and soil conditioners. Extension of benefits of sludge on agriculture commodities include increase forest productivity, accelerated tree growth, re-vegetation of forest land previously devastated by natural disasters or construction activities. Also, sewage sludge use to aid growth of final vegetative cap for municipal solid waste landfills is enormously beneficial. Opposing benefits of sludge water result from high levels of pathogenic organisms that can possibly contaminate soil, water, crops, livestock, and fish. Pathogens, metals, organic chemical content and odors are cause of major health, environmental and aesthetic factors. Sludge treatment processes reduce the level of pathogens which becomes important when applying sludge to land as well as distributing and marketing it. Pollutants of sewage sludge come from domestic wastewater, discharge of industrial wastewater, municipal sewers and also from runoffs from parking lots, lawns and fields that were applied fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. [66]

The quality of sewage sludge is controlled under section 405(d), where limitations are set with methods of use or disposal for pollutants in sludge. EPA, under section 405(d)(3), established a containment approach to limit pollutants instead of numerical limitations. This methodology is more reasonable than numerical limitations and includes design standards, equipment standards, management practice, and operational standards or combination of these. Limits on sewage sludge quality allows treatment works that generate less contaminated pollutants and those that do not meet the sludge quality standards for use and disposal practice must clean up influent, improve sewage sludge treatment and/or select another use of disposal method. EPA has set standards for appropriate practices of use and disposal of biosolids in order to protect public health and the environment, but choice of use or disposal practices are reserved to local communities. Listed under section 405(e) of CWA, local communities are encouraged to use their sewage sludge for its beneficial properties instead of disposing it. [66]

Standards are set for sewage sludge generated or treated by publicly owned and privately owned treatment works that treat domestic sewage and municipal wastewater. Materials flushed in household drains through sinks, toilets and tubs are referred to as domestic wastewater and include components of soaps, shampoos, human excrement, tissues, food particles, pesticides, hazardous waste, oil and grease. These domestic wastewaters are treated at the source in septic tanks, cesspools, portable toilets, or in publicly/privately owned wastewater treatment works. Alternately, municipal wastewater treatments consist of more levels of treatment that provide greater wastewater cleanup with larger amounts of sewage sludge. Primary municipal treatment remove solids that settle at the bottom, generating more than 3,000 liters of sludge per million liters of wastewater that is treated. Primary sludge water content is easily reduced by thickening or removing water and contains up to 7% solids. Secondary municipal treatment process produces sewage sludge that is generated by biological treatment processes that include activated sludge systems, trickling filters, and other attached growth systems. Microbes are used to break down and convert organic substances in wastewater to microbial residue in biological treatment processes. This process removes up to 90% of organic matter and produces sludge that contains up to 2% solids and has increased generated volumes of sludge. Methods of use and disposal of sewage sludge include the following: Application of sludge to agricultural and non-agricultural lands sale or give-away of sludge for use in home gardens disposal of sludge in municipal landfills, sludge-only landfills, surface disposal sites and incineration of sludge. Managing quality of sewage sludge not only involves wastewater reduction and separation of contaminated waste from non-contaminants but also pretreatment of non-domestic wastewater. If pretreatment does not sufficiently reduce pollutant levels, communities have to dispose rather than use sludge. [66]

Title V - General Provisions Edit

Citizen suits Edit

Any U.S. citizen may file a citizen suit against any person who has allegedly violated an effluent standard or limitation (i.e., a provision in an NPDES permit) or against the EPA Administrator if the Administrator failed to perform any non-discretionary act or duty required by the CWA. [67]

Employee protection Edit

The CWA includes an employee ("whistleblower") protection provision. Employees in the U.S. who believe they were fired or suffered adverse action related to enforcement of the CWA may file a written complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. [68]

Title VI - State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds Edit

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program was authorized by the 1987 WQA. [69] This replaced the municipal construction grants program, which was authorized in the 1972 law under Title II. In the CWSRF, federal funds are provided to the states and Puerto Rico to capitalize their respective revolving funds, which are used to provide financial assistance (loans or grants) to local governments for wastewater treatment, nonpoint source pollution control and estuary protection. [70]

The fund provides loans to municipalities at lower-than-market rates. The program's average interest rate was 1.4 percent nationwide in 2017, compared to an average market rate of 3.5 percent. In 2017, CWSRF assistance totaling $7.4 billion was provided to 1,484 local projects across the country. [71]

During the 1880s and 1890s, Congress directed USACE to prevent dumping and filling in the nation's harbors, and the program was vigorously enforced. [72] Congress first addressed water pollution issues in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, [73] giving the Corps the authority to regulate most kinds of obstructions to navigation, including hazards resulting from effluents. Portions of this law remain in effect, including Section 13, the so-called Refuse Act. In 1910, USACE used the act to object to a proposed sewer in New York City, but a court ruled that pollution control was a matter left to the states alone. Speaking to the 1911 National Rivers and Harbors Congress, the chief of the Corps, William H. Bixby, suggested that modern treatment facilities and prohibitions on dumping "should either be made compulsory or at least encouraged everywhere in the United States." [72] Most legal analysts have concluded that the 1899 law did not address environmental impacts from pollution, such as sewage or industrial discharges. However, there were several pollution enforcement cases in the 1960s and 1970s where the law was cited for broader pollution control objectives. [74]

Some sections of the 1899 act have been superseded by various amendments, including the 1972 CWA, while other notable legislative predecessors include:

  • Public Health Service Act of 1912 expanded the mission of the United States Public Health Service to study problems of sanitation, sewage and pollution. [75]
  • Oil Pollution Act of 1924 prohibited the intentional discharge of fuel oil into tidal waters [76] and provided authorization for USACE to apprehend violators. This was repealed by the 1972 CWA, reducing the Corps' role in pollution control to the discharge of dredged or fill material. [72][77]
  • Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 created a comprehensive set of water quality programs that also provided some financing for state and local governments. Enforcement was limited to interstate waters. The Public Health Service provided financial and technical assistance. [78]
  • Water Quality Act of 1965 required states to issue water quality standards for interstate waters, and authorized the newly created Federal Water Pollution Control Administration to set standards where states failed to do so. [79]

When EPA first opened its doors in 1970, the agency had weak authority to protect U.S. waters, lacking the legal power to write effluent guidelines and possessing only general authority to require secondary treatment from industrial dischargers. [80]

The 1969 burning Cuyahoga River had sparked national outrage the Act grew out of it. [81] In December 1970 a federal grand jury investigation led by U.S. Attorney Robert Jones (Ohio lawyer) began, of water pollution allegedly being caused by about 12 companies in northeastern Ohio. It was the first grand jury investigation of water pollution in the area. [82] The Attorney General of the United States, John N. Mitchell, gave a Press Conference December 18, 1970 referencing new pollution control litigation, with particular reference to work with the new Environmental Protection Agency, and announcing the filing of a lawsuit that morning against the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation for discharging substantial quantities of cyanide into the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland. [83] It was largely based on these and other litigation experiences that criteria for new legislation were identified.

  • United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, Inc. (1985). The Supreme Court upheld the Act's coverage in regulating wetlands that intermingle with navigable waters. [84] This ruling was revised by the 2006 Rapanos decision.
  • Edward Hanousek, Jr v. United States (9th Cir. Court of Appeals, 1996 certiorari denied, 2000). In 1994, during rock removal operations, a backhoe operator accidentally struck a petroleum pipeline near the railroad tracks. The operator's mistake caused the pipeline to rupture and spill between 1,000 and 5,000 gallons of heating oil into the Skagway river. Despite not being present at the scene during operations White Pass and Yukon Route Roadmaster Edward Hanousek, Jr. and President Paul Taylor were both held responsible for the spill and convicted. [85][86]
  • Solid Waste Agency of North Cook County (SWANCC) v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (2001), possibly denying the CWA's hold in isolated intrastate waters and certainly denying the validity of the 1986 "Migratory Bird Rule." [87]
  • S. D. Warren Co. v. Maine Bd. of Env. Protection (2006). The Court ruled that section 401 state certification requirements apply to hydroelectric dams, which are federally licensed, where the dams cause a discharge into navigable waters. [88]
  • Rapanos v. United States (2006). The Supreme Court questioned federal jurisdiction as it attempted to define the Act's use of the terms "navigable waters" and "waters of the United States." The Court rejected the position of the USACE that its authority over water was essentially limitless. Though the case resulted in no binding case law, the Court suggested a narrowing of federal jurisdiction and implied the federal government needed a more substantial link between navigable federal waters and wetlands than it had been using, but held onto the "significant nexus" test. [89][90]
  • Northwest Environmental Advocates et al. v. EPA (9th Cir. Court of Appeals, 2008). Vessel discharges are subject to NPDES permit requirements. [91]SeeBallast water regulation in the United States.
  • National Cotton Council v. EPA (6th Cir. Court of Appeals, 2009). Point source discharges of biological pesticides, and chemical pesticides that leave a residue, into waters of the U.S. are subject to NPDES permit requirements. [92][93]
  • Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. 578 U.S. __ (2016), 8-0 ruling that a jurisdictional determination by the Army Corps of Engineers that land contains "waters of the United States" is a "final agency action", which is reviewable by the courts. This allows landowners to sue in court if the Army Corps of Engineers determines that the land contains waters of the United States (and therefore falls under the Clean Water Act).
  • County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund 590 U.S. __ (2020), a 6-3 ruling that a NPDES permit is required for point sources (as established in the statute) or for non-point sources that are "functionally equivalent" to direct discharge, such as in the specific case, wastewater discharged into injection wells that eventually reach the ocean, a navigable waterway.

Waters of the United States Edit

In May 2015 EPA released a new rule on the definition of "waters of the United States" ("WOTUS") and the future enforcement of the act. [94] [95] Thirteen states sued, and on August 27 U.S. Chief District Judge for North Dakota Ralph R. Erickson issued a preliminary injunction blocking the regulation in those states. [96] In a separate lawsuit, on October 9 a divided Sixth Circuit appeals court stayed the rule's application nationwide. [97] Congress then passed a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act overturning the WOTUS rule, [98] but President Barack Obama vetoed the measure. [99]

On February 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed documents directing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to review and rewrite the Obama administration's "Clean Water Rule," which would clarify the WOTUS definition. The agencies were ordered to reassess the rule consistent with promoting economic growth and minimizing regulatory uncertainty. [100]

The Sixth Circuit appeals court stay was overturned on January 22, 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that challenges to the 2015 rule must be filed in United States district courts. [101] EPA then formally suspended the 2015 regulation and announced plans to issue a new version later in 2018. [102] The Trump administration formally repealed the WOTUS rule on October 22, 2019. [103] [104]

In June 2021 the administration of President Joe Biden announced that it would reverse the 2019 rule. [105]

Amendment Edit

To date, the water quality goals stated by Congress in the 1972 act have not been achieved by American society:

  • "to make all U.S. waters fishable and swimmable by 1983"
  • "to have zero water pollution discharge by 1985"
  • "to prohibit discharge of toxic amounts of toxic pollutants". [107] : 1

More than half of U.S. stream and river miles, about 70 percent of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and 90 percent of the surveyed ocean and near coastal areas continue to violate water quality standards. [40] The reasons for the impairment vary by location major sources are agriculture, industry and communities (typically through urban runoff). Some of these pollution sources are difficult to control through national regulatory programs. [108]

However, since the passage of the 1972 act, the levels of pollution in the United States have experienced a dramatic decrease. The law has resulted in much cleaner waterways than before the bill was passed. Agriculture, industry, communities and other sources continue to discharge waste into surface waters nationwide, and many of these waters are drinking water sources. In many watersheds nutrient pollution (excess nitrogen and phosphorus) has become a major problem. [109] It is argued in a 2008 paper that the Clean Water Act has made extremely positive contributions to the environment, but is in desperate need of reform to address the pollution problems that remain. [110] A 2015 paper acknowledges that the CWA has been effective in controlling point sources, but that it has not effective with nonpoint sources, and argues that the law must be updated to address the nation's current water quality problems. [111]

A 2017 working paper finds that "most types of water pollution declined [over the period 1962-2001], though the rate of decrease slowed over time. Our finding of decreases in most pollutants implies that the prevalence of such violations was even greater before the Clean Water Act." Several studies have estimated that the costs of the CWA (including the expenditures for the Title II construction grants program) are higher than the benefits. An EPA study had similar findings, but acknowledged that several kinds of benefits were unmeasured. [107] : 2 A 2018 study argues that "available estimates of the costs and benefits of water pollution control programs [including the CWA] are incomplete and do not conclusively determine the net benefits of surface water quality." [112]

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