Clean Water Act

Clean water Act of United States regulates discharging of pollutants in United States Water and regulates quality standards on water that is on the surface. The Act was established and enacted in 1948. Initially it was named Federal Water Pollution Act but later in 1972, it was expanded and renamed Clean Water Act. Under Water Act, environmental pollution Act has introduced programs that control pollution and set standards for wastewater among industries. In addition, there are set standards for any contamination to surface waters.

Clean Water Act (CWA) in collaboration with EPA along with other federal states, operates through safe drinking water act compliance monitoring program with an aim of protecting health of humans and environment through ensuring that the community obeys environmental laws (EPA, 2015). The Act is strengthened by on-site visits conducted by qualified inspectors, reviewing of information gathered and provided by EPA.SDWA is a compliance assistance program that offers businesses, local governments, and other tribes with tools to enable them meet set rules and regulations on water and pollution.

According to Clean Water Act (CWA) it is unlawful to discharge pollutants from their source to navigable waters unless with permission. In addition, EPA has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) to permit programs that control discharges (EPA, 2015). Sources of waste are discrete conveyances like fabricated ditches and pipes. Homes connected to municipal system make use of a septic system and do not have surface discharge do not require a NPDES permit. Other facilities like industries and municipals must be permitted to discharge their waste to surface waters.

Wastewater management

Under CWAs, NPDES program, EPA is responsible of regulating discharges of pollutants from wastewater treatment plants of municipal and industrial systems, sewerage collection systems, discharges from storm water and industrial facilities as well as municipalities. It concentrates on elimination of pollution to waters in America (Dale, 2015).

Management of storm and municipal water

Overflowing water from raw sewage and discharges from storm water causes floods along streets in the city and home basements, which threatens the quality of water, health of human beings and safety of the environment. EPA under CWA targets huge municipals to minimize pollution and volume of runoff from storm water to avoid illegal discharges of raw sewage that degrades the quality of water among communities.


It is a requirement of EPA that each industry pre-treats its wastewater and pollutants in them in an attempt to protect local sanitary sewers and wastewater treatment plants. Industrial discharges of grease, oil and metals interferes with operations of wastewater treatment plants, and sanitary sewers causing discharge of pollutants that are untreated or inefficiently treated into various local waterways.

Storm water pollution

Pollution from storm water is caused by washing away of chemicals, sediments, debris, and other pollutants from sites of construction and urban areas into various water bodies. A discharge from storm water that is untreated is a great threat to human health and environment (Dale, 2015). CWA demands that construction sites, industrial facilities, and municipals that are separate from storm sewer systems have measures that prevent discharge of polluted waste in nearby waterways. Moreover, major institutions should have ways of minimizing pollution of nearby rivers, streams, and lakes.

Animal waste and illegally discharging pollutants to water

CAFOs that do not control waste from their animals and discharge their polluted waste into nearby water bodies pose a great threat to quality of water and health of human beings.

Spill-oil and hazardous substances

Oil spills pose a great danger to life of animals and plants since they contaminate sources of food and habitats of animals. Oils from Petroleum form tar, which remain in the environment over years.CWA spilling of oils and hazardous waste in large quantities that may harm health of humans and environment. As a result, it demands that actions be done to prevent more spills in the future.

Wetlands-discharge of dredge and fill material

EPA prohibits discharge of dredged and fill material into wetlands and other United States water except through an authorization permit from United Army Corps of Engineers (Dale, 2015). There are appropriate investigations from EPA and inspection of those discharging fill and dredge material into water and wetlands in United States with no permission. There is enforcement that ensures compliance to the culprits.

Deepwater Horizon-BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill

CWA regulates drilling of oil along the horizon. Deaths have been caused by such oil drills example the oil drilling that took place in Mexico, exploded, and sank killing more than 11 workers in the Deep water Horizon.

Clean water Act compliance monitoring and assistance

EPA collaborates with the federal state and tribal regulatory partners through CWA compliance monitoring program to protect the health of humans and that of the environment by making sure that environmental laws are obeyed by communities through qualified inspectors conducting on-site visits and reviewing the information from EPA (Kenney, 2012). CWA offers tools to federal facilities, local governments, businesses, and tribes to ensure that they meet the stated regulatory requirements.

Safe drinking water Act (SDWA)

Drinking water

EPA enforces human health by putting strict measures on SDWA requirements to protect water supplies and their sources such as lakes, springs, reservoirs, and rivers.

Public drinking water systems

EPA through CWA makes sure that systems of public water are in line with federal standards that are health-based for contaminants that regularly monitors and reports any contamination.

Underground injection

Fluids injection

CWA ensures that fluids are injected underground in porous formed rocks such as wells and other conveyance systems. CWA restricts any underground contamination that may endanger future underground sources of drinking water (Legal information institute, 2016). The injected fluids are inspected and investigated by EPA to avoid violating SDWA and pursuance of appropriate enforcement to make sure that they comply.

Aircraft drinking water rule

EPA ensures that drinking water offered on aircrafts is safe and of good quality to comply with the rule for aircraft drinking water.

Political, social, and ethical influences

Politically Clean water Act critical programs of 1990 concentrated on the quality of great lakes and signed an agreement in 1978 between U.S and Canada (Legal information institute, 2016). The two nations agreed to minimize various toxic pollutants in the great lakes. The law established criteria for quality and addressed 29 toxic pollutants and found maximum levels of quality that are safe for wildlife, humans and aquatic life. Moreover, Oil pollution Act of 1990 strengthened their regulations about oil discharge and hazardous materials. All these attempts were directed towards protecting the safety of the great lakes in Canada and U.S.

Socially Indian Tribes have concentrated on the chemicals found on polluted water. The tribes have embarked on cost sharing with various landowners, getting involved in voluntary programs and controlling runoff water from construction sites and sewers.

Ethically CWA is issuing restrictions on people who damp untreated waste on rivers for consumption by human beings or animals (Thorp, 2016). From their set rules, it is unethical to damp sewer and untreated waste in rivers or underground water because they pollute water. There are set legal sectors for people who go against such rules.

The Act may be strengthened by introduction of penalties and follow up charges among those who violate the laws. Moreover, it could open up more branches and employ more personnel to conduct on-site inspections of those throwing untreated waste along rivers such as industries.

In conclusion, CWA in America has assisted to control water pollution. In collaboration with EPA and other regulatory services, more rules have been followed. Qualified personnel perform thorough inspection on industries and people throwing untreated waste in rivers and underground water.





EPA. (2015). Water Enforcement. Retrieved from            enforcement#cwa

EPA. (2015).Summary of the clean water Act. Laws and regulations. Retrieved from

Dale, L. (2015). Environmental policy (2nd Ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridge point Education, Inc

Kenney, R. (2012).Clean water Act, United States. The encyclopedia of earth. Retrieved from   

Legal information institute. (2016). 33 U.S. Code Chapter 26-water pollution prevention and control. Cornell university law school. Retrieved from

Clean Water Act Action Plan. (2010). Office of enforcement and compliance assurance (OECA). US. Environment protection Agency, 1-15.

Thorp, L. (2016).thoughts on flint: putting drinking water first back to basics. Clean water Action. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply