October 18th marks the 40th anniversary of the United States Clean Water Act.
Answer: The Clean Water Act or CWA is the primary legislation in the United States that addresses water pollution. The goal of the Clean Water Act is to limit the release of high volumes of toxic chemicals into the nation’s water and ensure that surface waters met standards for sports and recreational use.The present legislation is based on the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972. Significant amendments were added in the Clean Water Act of 1977 and the Water Quality Act of 1987.
The following excerpts are from “A Bolder Clean Water Act for the Next 40 Years“, posted by Sandra Postel of National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative in Water Currents on October 17, 2012.
We recommend you read the full article at: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/10/17/a-bolder-clean-water-act-for-the-next-40-years/
…As game-changing laws go, the 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act ranks high. With images of rivers like the Cuyahoga burning and fish floating belly up in Lake Erie still fresh in the public’s mind, the Act transformed the nation’s relationship with fresh water. It forbade cities and industries from using rivers and lakes as waste receptacles… The Act also set an ambitious goal: by 1985 the nation’s waters should be “fishable and swimmable.” Although we missed that deadline, we are two-thirds of the way to achieving that goal… This year, as we celebrate the Act’s 40th anniversary, we can take pride in its accomplishments. But after four decades, the Act needs to be given new teeth and updated tools, both to meet its original goals as well as to address new water challenges that have emerged since its passage.”