What is the Significance of the Clean Water Act?

Essay by lsdeckerCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Lori Decker

ENVR 1302

Essay II

What is the Significance of the Clean Water Act?

Protection of our national waters is not a new concept. In 1948 the Federal government enacted the Federal Water Pollution Act, to address the post-Industrial Age water pollution and the growing concerns about the sanitary condition of surface and underground water supplies in the United States. Although this was a great first step, they soon realized that more would have to happen to fix the problem that had been created. After multiple additional amendments were added, it was determined that the Act needed more attention. The Federal Water Pollution Act was then reorganized and expanded to create the Clean Water Act in 1972. This revision addressed much more than just water pollution. The Clean Water Act was created to ensure "drinking water is safe, and restores, and maintains oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants and wildlife."

(EPA) In this essay I am going to discuss three major problems that the Clean Water Act addressed and what they are doing to make these changes.

The first issue and what I feel like is most important in regards to the goals set by the Clean Water Act is water pollution. Before 1948, there was little or no regulation regarding what was being discharged into our waterways. Not only was industrial waste a concern but storm drain waste relating to industrial waste as well as nonpoint source waste, such as rainfall and snowmelt, that picks up natural and human created waste and carries it into our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. Also, the biosolids, which is the land deposits of residuals from wastewater treatment. (EPA) All of these chemicals, animal byproducts, human...