Environmental Regulations: Clean Water Act Dr. Doug McLaughlin 9/9/13

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Environmental Regulations:
Clean Water Act
Dr. Doug McLaughlin
9/9/13
CWA Homework
• Turn in at beginning of class on Friday
9/13/13
• Write a paragraph or two describing a surface
water body (stream, river, lake, estuary, etc.)
from your home town/region. Include:
– Location, size, the type of landscape around it
– How people use it
– Any major pollution problems
This assignment is worth 10 pts if turned in on time.
YouTube Videos
• Cuyahoga River Pollution Ohio 1967
• The Cuyahoga River Fire: "Don't Fall in
the River“
• Cuyahoga River Restoration
• Lake Erie Pollution Problem 1970
CWA is a Surface Water Law
• Other “water” regulations:
– Groundwater regulations
• Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
– Spills/Emergency Releases
• Oil Pollution Act (OPA)
• Emergency Planning and Community Right-ToKnow Act (EPCRA)
• Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
CWA is a Surface Water Law
• Legal responsibility for implementation of
the Clean Water Act falls to:
CWA is a Surface Water Law
• Legal responsibility for implementation of
the Clean Water Act falls to:
– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(USEPA)
Law Vs. Regulation
• There is a difference:
– Laws are created and passed to address
specific concerns (i.e., “protect human health
and the environment,” give authority to
entities like USEPA)
– Regulations may be written by an authorized
agency, provide the details on how the law
will be implemented
• Useful web site:
– http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/
Regulatory History – Pre-EPA
• 1948 Water Pollution
Control Act • Water Pollution Control
Act Amendments of 1956
• Federal Water Pollution
Control Act Amendments
of 1961.
• The Water Quality Act of
1965 - required States to
develop water quality
standards and waste load
allocations for interstate
waters by 1967 – met
with minimal success.
Regulatory History – After
Creation of EPA
• President Richard M. Nixon, following approval in congressional
hearings, formed the United States Environmental Protection
Agency (USEPA) in December 1970;
• 1970 - The Refuse Act Permit Program (RAPP) under the 1899
Rivers and Harbors Act – Army Corps Of Engineers and EPA effort
to require permits – RAPP struck down in 1971 as resulting in
arbitrary limits;
• Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) Amendments of 1972
– Title IV, Permits and Licenses, of the FWPCA Act created the system
for permitting wastewater discharges (Section 402), known as the
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970.
Regulatory History (cont’d)
• 1972-1976 – 1st round of permits under FWPCA focused
on more obvious pollutants: biochemical oxygen demand
(BOD); total suspended solids (TSS), pH, oil and grease
• 1977 Amendments, known as the Clean Water Act
(CWA), shifted focus of permits from “conventional” to
“toxic” pollutants;
• 1987 amendments to the FWPCA, known as the Water
Quality Act – states must identify “impaired” waters and
prepare a strategy for attaining WQS;
• 1997 “Cluster Rule” for pulp and paper industry –
combined air and water regulations for entire industry
CWA Basic Elements
• Water quality standards
• National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) program
• Section 319 – nonpoint source pollution grant
program
• Section 404 – regulates dredge and fill
operations through permits
• Revolving loan funds to states for water
quality improvement projects
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