Clean Water Act (CWA) [Public Law 92–500]

More formally referred to as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Clean Water Act constitutes the basic federal water pollution control statute for the United States. Originally based on the Water Quality Act of 1965, which began setting water quality standards. The 1966 amendments to this act increased federal government funding for sewage treatment plants. Additional 1972 amendments established a goal of zero toxic discharges and “fishable” and “swimmable” surface waters. Enforceable provisions of the CWA include technology-based effluent standards for point sources of pollution, a state-run control program for nonpoint pollution sources, a construction grants program to build or upgrade municipal sewage treatment plants, a regulatory system for spills of oil and other hazardous wastes, and a Wetlands preservation program (Section 404).