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The Clean Water Act (CWA)

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For our environmental ethics paper, we decided on the Clean Water Act (CWA). The history behind the CWA goes back longer than one might imagine. Most people think the CWA was originally started in 1972 when Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Contract Act Amendments, which would commonly be referred to as the Clean Water Act. The CWA was originally passed under President Harry S. Truman in 1948 as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act designed to control water pollution. The original 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act “authorized the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, in cooperation with other Federal, state and local entities, to prepare comprehensive programs for eliminating or reducing the pollution of interstate …show more content…
Fish and Wildlife Service, n.d.).” Over the years major amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Contract Act were enacted in 1961, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1977, and 1987. These major amendments include updates like; stipulations on reservoir planning, water quality for storage and streamflow, research on pollutants and treatment method effects in the Great Lake’s water quality, sedimentation quality control in the coastal bodies with a focus on river and maritime environments, and restrictions on domestic pollution that are hazardous to the welfare of citizens. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 is the most significant and widespread environmental statutes ever passed by Congress. Before the amendments to the CWA in 1972 the federal government relied upon the states and local authorities to insure water quality and conduct the necessary research to maintain the quality standards for rivers, lakes, reservoirs, coastlines, steams, canals, and any man-made structures that contain water or maintain water flow. The 1972 amendment changed the responsibility from state and local authorities to the federal government to oversee water quality and enforcement. Below is a list of other major changes to regulations in the CWA from the United States Environmental Protection …show more content…
This addressed the public concern of water quality control and hardening of pollution regulations. With the new responsibility shift and the intent to cover all waters in the United States, the EPA had a goal to reduce pollutants down to zero in 10 years.
The EPA’s purpose was to guarantee that all waters in the Unites States were hazard free from pollutants for both humans and natural inhabitants in the environment. The CWA is the overall structure that regulates discharges of pollution to the nations waters, and is responsible for restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the United States waters. The purpose and goals set by the congressional declaration of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act are as follows:
• It is the national goal that the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters be eliminated by

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