How the Clean Water Act Works
The Clean Water Act is a federal law that ensures the quality of our water. The goal is to protect drinking water sources and improve the condition of rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and coastal waters. In 1972 Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the passage of the Clean Water Act. Its mission was to “protect human health and welfare” by regulating pollutants in surface waters nationwide under certain conditions.
One of its goals
was to prevent sewage from entering into waterways by requiring wastewater treatment plants to comply with certain standards before releasing any sewage back into the environment. Other major provisions include regulating stormwater runoff; establishing basic rules for preventing air pollution; prohibiting dumping wastes like oil or toxic chemicals directly into bodies of water; creating new programs such as EPA’s Beaches Environmental Assessment & Coastal Health (BEACH) Act Program;