The Clean Water Act was established to regulate the discharge of pollutants into water sources. The primary objective of the Act is to regulate the standard and quality for surface waters. The Act was first introduced in 1948 and was known as Federal Water Pollution Control Act. In 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was reorganized into Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act was implemented to protect ecologically vital waterways (Silbergel, 2017).
The Act has allowed the United States Environmental Protection Agency to set standards for waste-waters discharged by industries in surface waters (Groves, 2012). The Act makes it unlawful for any company to discharge effluents into navigable waters. Industries are only allowed to discharge pollutant into water surface upon obtaining a permit from EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Various facilities such as municipal and industrial must obtain NPDES permit since their discharges are emitted directly into surface waters. However, individual homes which utilize septic systems are not required to obtain the permit from NPDES. The Act has faced deepening opposition from the federal judge to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the rule citing inadequate interpretation of the Act (Stokols, 2017).
EPA works in collaboration with state and federal regulatory partners to ensure that facilities comply with the law. The primary objective of the Act is to protect the environment and human health by ensuring that no water pollution takes place. The CWA has established National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program that regulates various facilities from discharging their wastes into water bodies. The program uses multiple compliance and monitoring techniques to ensure that all the facilities that discharge their wastes into water bodies comply with the NPDES permit (Groves, 2012). Such techniques include on-site compliance evaluation and Discharge Monitoring Reviews. The techniques are used by the regulatory partners to enhance compliance. The Clean Water Act also provides for NPDES Compliance Inspection Manual that outlines guidelines employed while conducting compliance inspections. In most cases, NPDES Program that promotes compliance and monitoring is implemented at the state level. The states are required to implement the NPDES programs under the supervision of the United States EPA. The Act has also created compliance and monitoring strategy to guide various states on how to implement NPDES programs.
The Clean Water Act has different sections that regulate water pollution. For instance, section 404 of the CWA regulates the placement of fill materials into water bodies such as lakes, wetlands, estuaries and Stream Rivers among others (Groves, 2012). The primary role of this section is to ensure that water sources are not lost through restoration and mitigation. The US Armey Corps of Engineers and EPA are responsible for the implementation of the Section 404 permits. It is the responsibility of the Corps to issue permits and ensure that various facilities comply with the issued permits. The US EPA and the Corps perform on-site investigations and ensure that the facilities comply with permits as per CWA Section 404 (Groves, 2012). The 1989 Memorandum of Agreement outlines the responsibility of the US Corpse and EPA in enforcing Section 404.
The Clean Water Act has been supported by the Office of Water and EPA Watershed Academy. The Office of Water maintains and restores water sources. Besides, they ensure that the drinking water provided is safe and human health is protected. They also provide healthy habitat for aquatic plants and animals. Moreover, the Office of Water provides recreational activities support economic activities of the water sources. On the other hand, EPA Watershed Academy provides training on clean water act resources and watershed protection.
Also Study: Water Management System Project
- Earnhart, D., & Friesen, L. (2017). The Effects of Regulated Facilities’ Perceptions About the Effectiveness of Government Interventions on Environmental Compliance. Ecological Economics, 142, 282-294.
- Groves, C. (2012). To promote compliance with the Clean Water Act, the EPA should pursue a national enforcement initiative to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations. Ecology LQ, 39, 321.
- Silbergel E.K (2017) Managing Hazards in Place. The Risk of Residual Risks Environmental Research, 158806-811 doi.io.1016/j.enevess 2017.05.039
- Stokols, E (2017, June 28). Trump EPA Move to Rescind Obama Administration Clean Water Rule. Walkstreet Journal(Online). p.i