The Clean Water Act was first introduced as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in 1948. Since then, it has been amended as late as 2002 in an effort to draw attention to, and to enact laws which would curtail the polluting of waters and to adhere to regulations as established by law to further prevent degradation of our water supply.
The following is the "Declaration of Goals and Policies" as it relates to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act amended on November 27, 2002 by the House of Congress.
"Section 101. (a) The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters. In order to achieve this objective, it is herebydeclared that, consistent with the provisions of the Act-
1. it is the national goal that the discharge of pollutants into the navigable
waters be eliminated;
2. it is the national goal that wherever attainable, an interim goal of water quality which provides or the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and provides for recreation in and on the water;
3. it is the national policy that the discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts be prohibited;
4. it is the national policy that Federal financial assistance be provided to construct publicly owned waste treatment works;
5. it is the national policy that area-wide treatment management planning processes be developed and implemented to assure adequate control of sources of pollutants in each State;
6. it is the national policy that a major research and demonstration effort be made to develop technology necessary to eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters, waters of contiguous zone and oceans,; and
7. it is the national policy that programs for the control of nonpoint sources of pollution be developed and implemented in an expeditious manner so as to enable the goals of this Act to be met through the control of both point and nonpoint sources of pollution."
According to the EPA "...in the early decades of the Act's implementation, efforts
regulating discharges from traditional "point source" facilities,
such as municipal sewage plants
and industrial facilities, with little attention
paid to runoff from streets, construction sites, farms,
and other "wet-weather"
sources. Starting in the late 1980s, efforts to address polluted runoff
increased significantly. For "nonpoint" runoff, voluntary programs, including
with landowners are the key tool. For "wet weather point sources"
like urban storm sewer systems
and construction sites, a regulatory approach is being employed."
In 1987, Congress voted to enact the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). This fund allowed the EPA to offer grants to states and the states would then provide loans for nonpoint source projects such as: "Homeowners for repair and upgrade of septic systems; land trusts for purchase of sensitive lands/easements; purchase and restoration of degraded wetlands; dry cleaners to clean-up soil and ground water contamination on brown fields; and farmers for equipment and structures to minimize runoff from fields.
It should be noted that as of 2001, over $1.4 billion was expended for these particular projects. Considering the goals and policies of congress as stated above and the subsequent funds the Congress found suitable for the EPA to offer in grant money to resolve many of the problems attributing to the pollution of waters in the US; one would have to question why we have neither prevented nor reduced the amount of polluted waters in the US?
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