2002: The Year of Clean Water
The Clean Water Act is a series of laws that deal mostly with
water pollution. Specifically they target direct pollution, as
well as water pollution from run off. The main goals of this
legislation are to protect wild life and provide clean drinking water,
as well as clean water for recreation.
In the 1970s there was growing concern over water
pollution. It was not uncommon prior to the Act for factories
to dispose of waste directly into waterways. Another problem
was pollution that easily entered into run off, and ended up in
waterways, or drinking water.
The Clean Water Act gave the EPA, and some other government
agencies, greater ability to control pollution of waterways and bodies
of water. It also legislated consequences for polluters of
water, with the goal of protecting water bodies. Additionally
regional organizations have been able to use these laws to prevent
Implementation to Date
The CWA has been implemented in large part through actions of
the EPA. The EPA has taken action against businesses and
individuals who have polluted waterways. The Act does not
however govern groundwater supplies, though the EPA has engaged
polluters of groundwater as well.
The Year of Clean Water
Thirty Years after the introduction of the Clean Water Act,
the Bush Administration declared the ‘Year of Clean
Water’. This marked not only the anniversary of the Clean
Water Act, and subsequent Safe Drinking Water Act, but also enhanced
enforcement of this legislation.
The Clean Water Act, though it faces implementation issues
even today, was necessary in the midst of the rampant
pollution of water supplies. Everything from drinking water,
to recreational use of waterways, to protecting wild life had become a
concern before the act was implemented. While the Act did face
opposition from businesses, and individuals that were required to take
on extra efforts, the result has been very recognizably preserving
clean bodies of water within the United States.