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Dont Go In The Water-Clean Water Act 1972


Afraid to drink the water? The public at one point was not

only afraid to drink water from their faucets, people refused

to swim or go into the water to enjoy other water recreational

activities. The Public outcry was angry and progressive.

The pollution of the rivers and streams was an untenable result of

chemical pollution, oil spills and the inability of water waste treatment

plants to insure the integrity of the water system.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that more than 80 percent of the

population of the U.S. lives in a metropolitan area. These citizens

live within a 10 mile radius of a polluted river, lake or ocean.

Forty-percent of these waters are not safe for drinking, fishing,

swimming or boating.

The Federal Government responded with regulations to monitor the discharge

of pollution into the water of the United States. The EPA is the agency

charged to implement the pollution control programs.

Some of the programs guidelines including setting wastewater standards for the Industry.

The Clean Water Act of was passed in 1972. The primary purpose of the CWA

is to restore and protect the quality of the nation's surface waters.

The ultimate goal of the Clean Water Act was to eliminate the discharge of

pollutants into navigable waters. The interim goal was to insure that

the nation's waters were "fishable and swimable".

The ultimate goal has become less emphasized over time. There is still a clear statement that it

is unlawful to discharge pollutants into waterways, except as provided by the

terms of the Act. The surface waters covered by the Act are defined quite broadly,

and include rivers, lakes, intermittent streams, and even wetlands.

The Clean Water Act made it unlawful for any person to discharge any pollutant

from a point source into navigable waters. The Clean Water Act funded the

states in excess of 50 billion dollars for the construction of sewage treatment

plants under the construction grants program.

The Clean Water Act gave the states the primary responsibility for the

implementation and enforcement of the statutes for their local waterways.

The act required that all state beneficial uses and their criteria must comply

with the "fishable" and "swimable" goals of the act. The states waterways had

to be able to support aquatic life and recreational use.

The original terms of The Clean Water Act does not address ground water pollution

directly. The CWA statutes do however employ regulatory and non regulatory tools

that are mandate the criteria for states that sharply reduce direct pollutant

discharges into waterways.

Following the passage of CWA the EPA in 1972 more attention has been given to the

physical and biological integrity of our rivers and stream. A global action plan

has attempted to address other pollution sources including: