The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Federal law is the body of Law created by the Federal government of a country The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Water pollution is the contamination of Water bodies such as Lakes Rivers Oceans and Groundwater caused by human activities  Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the symbolic goals of eliminating releases to water of high amounts of toxic substances, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that surface waters would meet standards necessary for human sports and recreation by 1983. Year 1985 ( MCMLXXXV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar) Year 1983 ( MCMLXXXIII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar)
The principal body of law currently in effect is based on the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972, which significantly expanded and strengthened earlier legislation. Year 1972 ( MCMLXXII) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.  Major amendments were enacted in the Clean Water Act of 1977 enacted by the 95th United States Congress and the Water Quality Act of 1987 enacted by the 100th United States Congress. Also 1977 (album by Ash. Year 1977 ( MCMLXXVII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays The Ninety-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government composed of the United States Senate and the Year 1987 ( MCMLXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar) 
The 1972 act introduced a permit system for regulating point sources of pollution. A point source is a single identifiable localized source of something Point sources include:
Point sources may not discharge pollutants to surface waters without a permit from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). This system is managed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in partnership with state environmental agencies. EPA has authorized 45 states to issue permits directly to the discharging facilities. In the remaining states and territories, the permits are issued by an EPA regional office. 
In previous legislation, Congress had authorized states to develop water quality standards, which would limit discharges from facilities based on the characteristics of individual water bodies. The United States Congress is the bicameral Legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses However, these standards were only to be developed for interstate waters, and the science to support this process (i. e. data, methodology) was in the early stages of development. This system was not effective and there was no permit system in place to enforce the requirements. In the 1972 CWA Congress added the permit system and a requirement for technology-based effluent limitations. 
The 1972 CWA created a new requirement for technology-based standards for point source discharges. EPA develops these standards for categories of dischargers, based on the performance of pollution control technologies without regard to the conditions of a particular receiving water body. The standard becomes the minimum regulatory requirement in a permit. 
The 1972 act authorized continued use of the water quality-based approach, but in coordination with the technology-based standards. After application of technology-based standards to a permit, if water quality is still impaired for the particular water body, then the permit agency (state or EPA) may add water quality-based limitations to that permit. The additional limitations are to be more stringent than the technology-based limitations and would require the permittee to install additional controls.
Congress exempted some water pollution sources from the point source definition in the 1972 CWA, and was unclear on the status of some other sources. These sources were therefore considered to be nonpoint sources that were not subject to the permit program.
Agricultural stormwater discharges and irrigation return flows were specifically exempted from permit requirements.  Congress, however, provided support for research programs at the U. S. Department of Agriculture to improve runoff management practices on farms.
Stormwater runoff from industrial sources, municipal storm drains, and other sources were not specifically addressed in the 1972 law. Stormwater is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events Surface runoff is a term used to describe when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess Water, from Rain, Snowmelt, or other sources flows EPA declined to include urban and industrial stormwater discharges in the NPDES program and consequently was sued by an environmental group. The courts ruled that stormwater discharges must be covered by the permit program. 
A growing body of research during the late 1970's and 1980's indicated that stormwater runoff was a significant cause of water quality impairment in many parts of the U. S. In the early 1980's EPA conducted the Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP) to document the extent of the urban stormwater problem. The Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP was a research project conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA between 1979 and 1983 The agency began to develop regulations for stormwater permit coverage, but encountered resistance from industry and municipalities, and there were additional rounds of litigation.
In the Water Quality Act of 1987 (1987 WQA) Congress responded to the stormwater problem by requiring that industrial stormwater dischargers and municipal separate storm sewer systems (often called "MS4") obtain NPDES permits, by specific deadlines. A storm drain, storm sewer ( US) stormwater drain ( Australia and New Zealand) or surface water system ( UK) The permit exemption for agricultural discharges continued, but Congress created a nonpoint source pollution demonstration grant program at EPA to expand the research and development of nonpoint controls and management practices.
Congress created a major public works financing program for municipal sewage treatment in the 1972 CWA. A system of grants for construction of municipal wastewater treatment plants was authorized and funded in Title II. Wastewater treatment plant also called wastewater treatment works Sewage treatment – treatment and disposal of human waste In the initial program the federal portion of each grant was up to 75 percent of a facility's capital cost, with the remainder financed by the state. In subsequent amendments Congress reduced the federal proportion of the grants and in the 1987 WQA transitioned to a revolving loan program in Title VI. Industrial and other private facilities are required to finance their own treatment improvements on the "polluter pays" principle.
The Act has six titles.
Title I includes a Declaration of Goals and Policy and various grant authorizations for research programs and pollution control programs. Some of the programs authorized by the 1972 law are ongoing (e. g. section 104 research programs, section 106 pollution control programs, section 117 Chesapeake Bay Program) while other programs are no longer operational. The Chesapeake Bay Program is the regional partnership that directs and conducts the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
To assist municipalities in creating or expanding wastewater treatment plants Title II established a system of construction grants. This was replaced by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in the 1987 WQA. See Title VI.
Under the 1972 act EPA began to issue technology-based standards for municipal and industrial sources.
To date, the effluent guidelines and categorical pretreatment standards regulations have been published for 56 categories and apply to between 35,000 and 45,000 facilities that discharge directly to the nation's waters. These regulations are responsible for preventing the discharge of almost 700 billion pounds of pollutants each year.  EPA has updated some categories since their initial promulgation and has added new categories.
The secondary treatment standards for POTWs and the effluent guidelines are implemented through NPDES permits. (See Title IV. ) The categorical pretreatment standards are typically implemented by POTWs through permits that they issue to their industrial users. 
Water quality standards (WQS) are risk-based (also called hazard-based) requirements which set site-specific allowable pollutant levels for individual water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. A wetland is an area of Land consisting of Soil that is Saturated with Moisture, such as a Swamp, Marsh, or Bog States set WQS by designating uses for the water body (e. g. , recreation, water supply, aquatic life, agriculture) and applying water quality criteria (numeric pollutant concentrations and narrative requirements) to protect the designated uses. An antidegradation policy is also issued by each state to maintain and protect existing uses and high quality waters. 
Water bodies that are repeatedly out of compliance with the applicable water quality standards are subject to a Total Maximum Daily Load. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet WQS. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL is a regulatory term in the U The TMDL is determined after study of the specific properties of the water body and the pollutant sources that contribute to the non-compliant status. Once the TMDL assessment is completed and the maximum pollutant loading capacity defined, an implementation plan is developed that outlines the measures needed to reduce pollutant loading to the non-compliant water body, and bring it into compliance. Over 60,000 TMDLs are proposed or in development for U. S. waters in the next decade and a half.
Following the issuance of a water quality standard or TMDL for a water body, implementation of the requirements involves modification to NPDES permits for facilities discharging to the water body (see Title IV).
While the effluent guidelines have been largely successful, because they apply to specific sources and are enforceable, the WQS have been much less so. As of 2007, approximately half of the rivers, lakes, and bays under EPA oversight were not safe enough for fishing and swimming. 
Section 305(b) requires EPA and the states to compile a biennial Report to Congress on the nation's water quality. Water quality is the physical chemical and biological characteristics of Water in relationship to a set of standards 
Under section 309, EPA can issue administrative orders against violators, and seek civil or criminal penalties when necessary. 
States that are authorized by EPA to administer the NPDES program must have authority to enforce permit requirements under their respective state laws.
Military bases, national parks and other federal facilities must comply with CWA provisions. 
Section 316 requires standards for thermal pollution discharges, as well as standards for cooling water intake structures. Thermal pollution is a Temperature change in natural bodies of water caused by human influence Water cooling is a method of Heat removal from components As opposed to Air cooling, Water is used as the heat transmitter  These standards are applicable to power plants and other industrial facilities. A power station (also referred to as generating station, power plant or powerhouse) is an industrial facility for the generation of
The 1987 amendments created the Nonpoint Source Management Program under CWA section 319. Nonpoint source (NPS pollution is Water pollution affecting a water body from diffuse sources rather than a point source which discharges to a water body at a single 
The NPDES permit program is authorized by CWA section 402.  The 1987 WQA expanded the program to cover stormwater discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) and industrial sources. Stormwater is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events  Many states administer the NPDES program with state statutory and EPA authorization. The MS4 NPDES permits require regulated municipalities to use Best Management Practices to reduce pollutants to the Maximum Extent Practicable.
NPDES permits must be reissued every five years. Permit agencies (EPA and states) must provide notice to the public of pending permits and provide an opportunity for public comment.
The discharge of dredged and fill material into "Waters of the United States," including wetlands, is subject to a separate permit program administered by the Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404. The United States Army Corps of Engineers ( USACE) is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 34600 Civilian and 650 Military personnel  Essentially, all discharges of fill or dredged material affecting the bottom elevation of a jurisdictional water of the U. S. require a permit from the Army Corps. These permits are an essential part of protecting wetlands, which are often filled by land developers. A wetland is an area of Land consisting of Soil that is Saturated with Moisture, such as a Swamp, Marsh, or Bog Wetlands are vital to the ecosystem in filtering streams and rivers and providing habitat for wildlife.
There are two main types of permits--general permits, and individual permits. General permits change periodically and cover broad categories of activities, and require the user to comply with all stated conditions. General permits (such as the Nationwide Permits) are issued for fill activities that will result in minimal adverse effects to the environment. Individual permits are utilized for actions that are not addressed by a general permit, or that do not meet the conditions of a General Permit. In addition, Individual Permits (generally) require more analysis than do the general permits, and typically require much more time to prepare the application and to process the permit.
When the Corps processes an application for an Individual Permit, the Corps must publish/issue a public notice (typically in the Federal Register) describing the proposed action described in the permit application. The public notice must be issued no later than fifteen days after the Corps determines the application to be complete. Although the District Engineer makes the decision to grant a permit, this authority is usually delegated to is granted or not the Administrator is able to take-away permits if they feel that the permit is not reasonable; before making this decision though the Administrator must consult with the secretary. A permit expires after five years of being granted.
When a state wants a permit, they make sure that all other states being affected are aware they will be sent a copy of the request and the state is able to write a recommendation. A state permit also expires after five years of being granted.
The 1987 WQA created a program for management of biosolids (sludge) generated by POTWs. 
U. S. citizens may file suit against a CWA violator if EPA or a state fails to take enforcement action. 
The 1972 act added an employee ("whistleblower") protection provision. This is an article about a term For the 2008 RTÉ drama see Whistleblower (TV series. Employees in the U. S. who believe they were fired or suffered adverse action related to enforcement of the CWA may file a written complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. 
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program was authorized by the 1987 WQA.  This replaced the municipal construction grants program, which was authorized in the 1972 law under Title II. In the CWSRF, federal funds are provided to the states and Puerto Rico to capitalize their respective revolving funds, which are used to provide financial assistance (loans or grants) to local governments for wastewater treatment, nonpoint source pollution control and estuary protection.
The fund provides loans to municipalities at lower-than-market rates. As of 2007 the average rate was 2. 1 percent nationwide, compared to an average market rate of 4. 3 percent.  In 2006, CWSRF assistance totaling $5 billion was provided to 1,858 local projects across the country. 
Congress first addressed water pollution issues in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 is the oldest federal environmental law in the United States.  Portions of this law remain in effect, including the Refuse Act, while others have been superseded by various amendments, including the 1972 CWA. The United States Refuse Act of 1899 is a long-ignored federal Statute.
Other notable predecessor legislation includes the following.
On July 25, 2007, Senator Russell Feingold, Democrat from Wisconsin, introduced legislation to reiterate the Congress' objective in passing the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972. Events 285 - Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold (born March 2, 1953) is an American politician from the U The Democratic Party is one of two major Political parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party. Wisconsin ( or wɪˈskɑnsɨn (French Ouisconsin) is one of the fifty United States of America, located in the north central part of the United States The bill states that it was Congress' intention to protect all waters of the United States. Known as the Clean Water Restoration Act and co-sponsored by 19 Senators, the bill being reviewed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This is considered by many environmental groups to be a necessary step towards reversing recent Supreme Court of the United States rulings that have repealed protection for as much as 60 percent of the nation's waters. The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary.