The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. The first FWPCA was enacted in , but took on its modern form when completely rewritten in in an act entitled the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of Statutes at Large‎: ‎86 Stat. The Clean Water Act (CWA) of is federal legislation governing water pollution. It provides for the maintenance of the chemical, physical and biological. Pollution Control Act, or Clean Water Act. Originally enacted in , it was amendments in that gave the act its current dimensions.


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The statute frequently uses the term "navigable waters" but also defines the term as "waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.


United Statesa clean water act of 1972 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[,] EPA has authorized 47 states to issue permits directly to the discharging facilities.

In the remaining states and territoriesthe permits are issued by an EPA regional office.

Clean Water Act

In previous legislation, Congress had authorized states to develop water quality standards, which would limit discharges clean water act of 1972 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.

That system was not effective, and there was no permit system in place to enforce the requirements. In the CWA, Congress added the permit system and a requirement for technology-based effluent limitations.

Clean Water Act - Wikipedia

The EPA develops those standards for categories of dischargers, based on the clean water act of 1972 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.

If the national standard is not sufficiently protective at a particular location, then water quality standards may be employed.

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: 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.

If those standards indicate designated uses to clean water act of 1972 less than those currently attained, states or tribes are required to revise standards to reflect the uses thaf are actually being attained.

Clean Water Act – Environmental Law

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. 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 clean water act of 1972 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.

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.

Summary of the Clean Water Act | Laws & Regulations | US EPA

Current uses are identified by showing that fishing, swimming, and other water uses have occurred and are suitable since November 28, clean water act of 1972 Tier 3 maintains and protects water quality in outstanding national resource waters ONRWswhich are the highest quality waters in the US with ecological significance.

Those provisions on water quality standards include mixing zones, variance, and low flow policies. Maintained existing requirements to set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.


Made it unlawful for any person to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained under its provisions.

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