The Obama Administration released a national Clean Water Framework on April 27, 2011, that affirms its comprehensive commitment to protecting the health of America’s waters. The framework recognizes the importance of clean water and sustainable watersheds to the nation’s economy, its environment and communities, and stresses the importance of partnerships and coordination with states, local communities, stakeholders, and the public in order to protect public health and water quality. This is all part of promoting the nation’s energy and economic security.
The national Clean Water Framework needs to be taken forward to pursue innovatively a wide variety of methods to protect public health by reducing the level of contaminants in American drinking water supplies. There is a great need for action to update drinking water standards, protect drinking water sources, upgrade the technologies available to communities to meet the challenge of raising clean water quality standadrs, and to provide affordable clean water supplies to rural communities.
It All Starts Out as Clean Water So What Goes Wrong That Makes it Dirty?
Water from rain and melting snow that flows over lawns, parking lots and streets is known as stormwater runoff. This water, which travels along gutters, into stormwater flow balancing ponds and basins and through storm drain pipelines and ditches pick up pollution as it flow. Very rarely is it treated, before it flows or is discharged into local waterbodies. Along the way, the stormwater picks up rubbish (food wrapping, cigarette butts, plastic cups, plastic bags, etc.) and also invisible toxins (from road oils for example) and other pollutants (road gritting , antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides and pet droppings). It is no wonder taht this polluted run-off can kill fish and other wildlife, destroy the ecological balance of wildlife habitats, and ultimately contaminate drinking water sources.
Human activity is largely responsible for all stormwater pollution. Everything that any one of us puts on the ground or into our storm drains, can end up in our water. Each of us has a responsibility to take care that these contaminants stay out of our water. So, national and lcoal governments can only do so much, and in the end it is up to you and me, whether we have clean water.
Clean Water Legislation
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. The “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1972. Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. They have also set water quality standards for all contaminants for preserving the health of our surface waters.
Since the act was implemented the authorities have cleaned up our rivers, lakes, and streams. The Clean Water Act is generally recognized to be a success – but the quest for clean water is not complete. As time goes on new health threatening contaminants have been identified, so the nation still faces challenges to make our water still cleaner, and we all must participate in the efforts needed to ensure a clean water future for the US.
The Clean Water Act was more than 40 years old in October 2012. Surely, that’s a remarkable record of accomplishment, both for this law and for the US environmental regulatory authorities!
Action on Cleaning Up Our Water
Each state is are required to classify bodies of water by their intended use (swimming, fishing, water supply, navigation, industrial waste disposal), and then is required to adopt a plan. This is known as the State Implementation Plan (SIP) to take the necessary actions to ensure each water body meets the appropriate ambient water quality standards. Limits to the amount of contamination which is permitted, must be set to ensure the water is of high enough quality for its intended use. Water quality is controlled by both technology-based standards (requiring polluters to use the best available technology – BAT – to limit pollution, and quality-based standards (by setting Total Maximum Daily Limits – TMDL).
The scope of the CWA is limited to the “navigable waters” of the united states, but this has been broadly defined to include wetlands. It also covers areas that are underwater at times, for only a part of the year, as well as areas which are directly alongside navigable waters.
Landfills which produce dirty water, known as leachate must not leak this polluted water into the ground as described at the leachate expert website.
Clean Water Act
Related terms: Clean Water Act History, Clean Water Act Text, Clean Water Act 402, Clean Water Act EPA, Clean Water Act Regulations, Clean Water Act Section 401, Toxic Substances Control Act, Clean Water