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Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act establishes the basic system for regulating any discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States. The basis for this legal action was the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948, which then served as the basis for the Clean Water Act. Wastewater standards have been established for industry and water quality standards have been established for the contaminants that can be found in surface water. It is unlawful to discharge any type of pollutant from a point source into any navigable water unless a special permit is obtained from the authorizing authority.

The EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program controls water pollution from pipes, ditches made by people, and any other means of dumping of pollutants into the surface waters. Septic tank systems are not covered by this law. By enforcing the law through the permit system, there has been a substantial decline in pollutants which affect the raw water supply for public water treatment plants and also water used for recreational purposes. (See endnote 48.)

 
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