Originally enacted in 1948, it was totally revised by amendments in 1972 that gave the act its current shape. It is one of the united states first and most influential modern environmental laws, and one of the most comprehensive air quality laws in the world. Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. Certification california state water resources control board. Epa has provided some guidance on the meaning of key terms such as substantial and. The statute employs a variety of regulatory and nonregulatory tools to sharply reduce direct pollutant discharges into. Supreme court broadly upheld corps of engineers and epa clean water act regulations and. Pursuant to the act, the environmental protection agency epa is required to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee all states, localities, and water suppliers that implement the standards. What is the role of congress and the president in this process. In short, while the clean water act has brought about significant gains, it is long past time. The clean water act and earth day in 1970 which brought a. If clothes are washed, or the body is washed with contaminated water, this too will result in the rise of diseases. The historic law was designed to protect all of our waters from the smallest streams to the mightiest rivers from.
Clean water act became the act s common name with amendments in 1977. The basis of the cwa was enacted in 1948 and was called the federal water pollution control act, but the act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. Evolution of the meaning of waters of the united states in. The rule protects clean water without getting in the way of farming, ranching, and forestry. Passed in 1972, the clean water act was a response to the nearly unchecked dumping of pollution into our waterways. Originally enacted in 1948, it was totally revised by amendments in. In this lesson, students consider how the clean water act of 1972 became a law. This pdf file was adapted from an online training module. Evolving tests for clean water act jurisdiction the scope of clean water act geographical jurisdiction was not always so unclear.
Federal water pollution control act amendments of 1972 clean water act of 1972 were a comprehensive revision and expansion of the clean water act of 1948 and its amendments. Waters on the majority of indian reservations do not have water quality standards under the clean water act to protect human health and the environment. Jul 22, 2016 authorized in section 14 of the river and harbors appropriation act of 1899 33 usc 408. Environmental law information clean water partners. The human right to water and sanitation today 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinkingwater. Epa regulations, and the portercologne water quality control act wat.
Development of a best management practices program as part of the state areawide planning program 33 u. Clean water act ammonium thiocyanate 5,000 pounds calcium cyanide 10 pounds cyanogen chloride 10 pounds hydrogen cyanide 10 pounds potassium cyanide 10 pounds sodium cyanide 10 pounds national primary drinking water regulations epa 2004g mcl 40cfr141. Proposed federal and state enforcement action in order to address these more recent compliance issues, on february 29, 2012, the united states. Watershed academy web introduction to the clean water act. By 1972, congress had voted on an amended version of the law that included the expansion of regulations to prevent pollution of the nations waterways. What is environmental law explores the basics behind the current laws, and looks at the various areas that come under the environmental law umbrella, such as the clean air act and the clean water act. The clean water act is essentially a modified and expanded version of the federal water pollution control act of 1948, which was the first major law that dealt with u. The clean water act cwa is the primary federal law in the united states governing water pollution. This integrated report summarizes statewide water quality assessments, provides an overview of. The trumpwheeler environmental protection agency epa is dismantling critical parts of the clean water act one by one. Farms across america depend on clean and reliable water for livestock, crops, and irrigation.
The clean water act is one of our nations bedrock environmental laws. Activities like planting, harvesting, and moving livestock have long been exempt from clean water act regulation, and the clean water rule doesnt change that. Pdf on feb 21, 2014, kenneth schiff and others published was the clean water act effective. To increase awareness of the problem and advocate for resources necessary to address the issue, nysdec undertook the clean and safe water infrastructure initiative. Clean water restoration act the ability to meet the national objectivehas been undermined by swancc and rapanos, which has resulted in confusion, permitting delays, increased costs, liti gation, and reduced protections for waters of the united states clean water restoration act of 2009, s.
The clean water act cwa is the cornerstone of surface water. When people gain access to clean water, they are better able to practice good hygiene and sanitation. It served as a major revision of the federal water pollution control act of. The cwa is a comprehensive and technically rigorous piece of legislation that seeks to protect the nations navigable water ways from pollutions. To celebrate well be sharing reflections on the act, talking about the fight to protect clean water, and discussing what we can all do to put drinking water first. Clean water act is essential to human health, productive economies, and robust ecosystems. Of particular significance were the following provisions. It is still one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever passed. Considering the clean water act the johnson foundation. The safe drinking water act sdwa is the principal federal law in the united states intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Clean water act became the acts common name with amendments in 1977.
Congress passed this popular law in 1972 to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nations waters. Sections 305b and 303d of the federal clean water act of 1977, as amended in 1981 and 1987. Water and sanitation united nations sustainable development. While the opinion answered that question in the affinnative, amendments to the clean water act in 1977 and epas implementing regulations have. The 1972 cwa stated broad national objectives and goals for regulating and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the water in the united states. To increase awareness of the problem and advocate for resources necessary to address the issue, nysdec undertook the clean and safe. District wastewater treatment plant and found several violations of the clean water act permit. A summary of the law congressional research service 1 introduction the principal law governing pollution of the nations surface waters is the federal water pollution control act, or clean water act. Title i of the great lakes critical programs act of 1990, for example, put into place parts of the great lakes water quality agreement of 1978, signed by the u. Certification california state water resources control.
Clean water is not just needed for drinking but for sanitation purposes as well. Significance, legal status and implications for water allocation 214, 220 2012. Pursuant to 40 code of federal regulations section 1. Oct 14, 2014 the clean water act turns 42 on saturday. The federal water pollution control act, commonly known as the clean water act was originally passed in 1948.
The cwa was a response to increasing public concern for the environment and for the condition of the nations waters. Clean water action action for clean water since 1972. Children enjoy good health and are more likely to attend school. Clean water act provides a brief background and explanation of this act, its purpose and its history. Only 40 of over 300 federally recognized tribes with start printed page 47431 reservations have completed the process of obtaining epas approval to be treated in a manner similar to a state. A number of other cpr scholars made significant contributions to this publication.
Its objective is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nations waters. Cumulatively these are the most serious threat to our nations bedrock environmental law in its history. At the time, twothirds of the countrys lakes, rivers and coastal waters had. If these administration attacks are finalized, the clean water act could be severely weakened. Authorized in section 14 of the river and harbors appropriation act of 1899 33 usc 408. Subchapter iresearch and related programs 1251 1275 subchapter iigrants for construction of treatment works 1281 1 subchapter iiistandards and enforcement sections 11 30 subchapter ivpermits and licenses 41 46. The 1977 amendments, the clean water act of 1977 p. Clean water act effects, important, system, source, marine. Clean water is critical to survival, and its absence can impact the health, food security, and livelihoods of families across the world. Evolution of the meaning of waters of the united states in the clean water act congressional research service 1 or more than fortyfive years, all three branches of government have struggled with how to interpret the meaning of waters of the united states in the clean water act. Today, because of the clean water act, roughly 40%. Federal water pollution control act clean water act.
This is part of our special feature on water in europe and the world after decades of primarily stateled but incomplete work on water quality, in 1972, the united states federal government enacted the contemporary structure of the federal water pollution control actbetter known after the 1977 amendments as the clean water act cwa. In the united states, an emphasis is placed on monitoring for compliance with the clean water act and safe drinking water act, which are administered by the u. Petition for a determination that stormwater discharges from commercial, industrial, and institutional sites contribute to water quality standards violations and require clean water act permits the residual designation authority rda petition pdf, 22p, 426k. Clean water act, water quality criteria, water quality standards, tmdls, weightofevidence introduction the 1972 amendments to the federal water pollution control act clean water act cwa established a regulatory framework to maintain and enhance water quality in waterbodies of the us. How the clean water act protects your rivers american rivers. In 1969 ohios cuyahoga river was so fouled by industrial pollution that the river caught on fire. Clean water act, water quality criteriastandards, tmdls, and. Intro clean water acts objective to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nations waters. The federal clean water act clean water act prohibits certain discharges of storm water containing pollutants except in compliance with a national pollutant discharge elimination system npdes permit. Compartmentalized thinking and the clean water act uf law. Although our planet has sufficient fresh water to achieve a regular and clean water supply for all, bad economics and poor infrastructure can skew supply unfavourably. More than 30 years since its passage, key provisions of.
The act does not deal directly with ground water nor with water quantity issues. Clean water rule factsheets clean water rule us epa. Code chapter 26 water pollution prevention and control. Industrial general permit order national pollutant. The clean water act was passed when 60% of waterways in the us were not fishable or swimmable. The cwa made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit authorized under the cwa was obtained.
The principal law governing pollution of the nations surface waters is the federal water. This is the first in our series, and its a 2parter, so stay tuned for more. Federal register revised interpretation of clean water act. In the 1972 to 2001 period, federal district and appellate courts and the u. Initially authorized in response to egregious pollu tion from wastewater treatment plants and major industrial sources, the clean. Public outcry over dirty rivers spurred congress to pass the landmark clean water act in 1972. Parents put aside their worries about waterrelated diseases and lack of access to clean water. The federal water pollution control act amendments of 1972, commonly referred to as the clean water act, is one of the most important and farreaching environmental statutes ever passed by the u. Agency interpretaton on applicability of section 402 of the.
Anne mansfield, associate director of vermont law schools environmental law center elc, and jane dantonio, elc institute administrator, saw to the countless administrative and editorial details necessary to assure both web and print. Over the years, many other laws have changed parts of the clean water act. Introduction to the clean water act1 the clean water act cwa is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the united states. Industrial general permit order national pollutant discharge.911 25 1345 885 27 250 503 836 194 1353 682 702 1474 775 43 633 1003 189 1342 1012 961 31 366 1278 1117 638 459 326 700 456 340 756 771 1491 150 731 191 1167 473 113 203 670 676 827 399 1152 1039