Clean Water Act (CWA) by EPA Your complete name Institutional Affiliation Abstract This paper explores Clean Water Act initiated by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1948, modified and expended in 1972 and 1977. The 1972 legislation specified programs for water quality improvement…
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In United States, nearly all manufacturing companies discharge their wastewater or storm water. Such emissions and discharges are extensively regulated by EPA in collaboration with federal and state authorities through programs of standards and permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Garrett, 2003, p.1). Federal Water Pollution Control Act or Clean Water Act is the primary law that regulates pollution aspects of nation's surface waters. First enacted in 1948, it was modified by 1972 amendments. The 1972 legislation specified programs for water quality improvement. Since its enactment, the law is continuously modified and implemented by industries and municipalities. Congress made amendments in 1977, brushed up some parts in 1981, and expanded the law with further amendments in 1987 (Copeland, 2010, p.1).This paper briefly explores the Clean Water Act initiated by EPA. Background During late 1950s and 1960s, water pollution control programs were based on four laws that modified the 1948 statute. Primarily, these laws addressed federal assistance to municipal dischargers and federal enforcement programs. Within this time period, federal role and jurisdiction was expanded to navigable interstate and intrastate waters. In 1965, water quality standards were incorporated in the law, requiring states to establish interstate water standards which would be utilized to assess pollution levels and control requirements. By the late 1960s, it was a common perception that not only enforcement procedures were time-consuming but water quality standard approach was also defective. Moreover, there were increasing concerns over the slow progress of pollution cleanup and lacking implementation of increasingly developed technologies. Such perceptions and increasing public interest in environmental protection led to the 1972 amendments. The 1972 statute established new laws rather than building on basic elements of prior laws. The statute established optimistic and promising goals: all municipal and industrial wastewater treatment before the discharge into waterways, better and restructured enforcement, and enhanced federal assistance for municipal treatment plant construction. It also extended the federal role and ensured that individual states fulfill their responsibility for day-to-day implementation of the law (Copeland, 2010, p.2). Prime Objectives The 1972 legislation announced that its prime objective is to restore and sustain the chemical, physical, and biological reliability of the nation's waters. Some other major objectives included zero emission of pollutants by 1985 and, where possible, maintenance of water quality as fishable and swimmable by mid-1983. Despite the fact that these dates have passed, the goals and efforts to achieve them remain (Copeland, 2010, p.2). Overview of the Law Clean Water Act (CWA) forms the basic structure for the regulation of pollutants discharge into waters of the United States and for maintenance of surface waters quality standards. The basic CWA was implemented in 1948 and called Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but it was widely acknowledged and expanded in 1972. EPA has implemented pollution control programs under Clean Water Act such as establishing water standards for industries and quality standard for all contaminants in surface waters. The CWA has established that any kind of pollutant discharge from a certain source into passable waters is illegal, unless the discharger has a permit. National Pollutant Discharge
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