Introduction to the Clean Water Act And Water

Introduction to the Clean Water Act And Water

Introduction to the Clean Water Act And Water Quality Regulation Tracy Hester Environmental Law Fall 2015 September 15, 2015 Clean Water Act some history

Deteriorating water conditions until nadir during early 20th century and World War II Viewed as a public health concern (chorination) State regulation by 1930s, but weak Dramatic water pollution problems in urban rivers and lakes 1965 federal Water Quality Act

Reliance on states for water quality standards and enforcement Failed on both counts (less than 1/3 of industrial facilities treated wastes before discharges) Legislative Response Rivers & Harbors Act of 1899 Originally targeted impediments to navigation Criminalized any refuse matter of any kind or description whatever over than street flow Required permit from U.S. Army

Qui tam provision Sparked federal Clean Water Act in 1972. Still in force. Federal Clean Water Act Passed in 1972, and amended in 1977 Key concepts: Set an ambitious national goal: elimination of pollutant discharges into navigable waters by 1985 Primary tools: Water Quality Standards

Wastewater Treatment Standards + Permits for Discharges Wastewater Treatment Financing Water quality, not supply. Sources of Pollution Direct discharge from pipe, outfall or ditch at facility Indirect routed to a centralized wastewater treatment facility Storm water and sewer discharges Non-point source pollution

Federal Clean Water Act Key concepts NPDES permit system (sections 301, 402) Required for any discharge of a pollutant from a point source into navigable waters Indirect discharges pretreatment orders Discharge standards set by technology limits provided for entire industry sector (sections 301, 306, 307) (NSPS, toxics) Total Maximum Daily Load standards for water quality attainment (section 303d)

Dredge and Fill (section 404) (wetlands) Federal Clean Water Act - implementation State delegation for implementation and enforcement, with EPA oversight Citizen suits (section 505) Nonpoint source pollution planning requirements

Federal Clean Water Act other laws Other federal laws: Oil Pollution Act of 1990 Ocean Dumping Act Coastal Zone Management Act State laws extremely important additional source of pollution control obligations

Federal Clean Water Act - results - - Much cleaner waterways in the United States - Discharge of organic wastes from POTWs reduced by almost half

- Industry discharges of organic wastes down 98 percent - Rate of wetlands loss declined by 90 percent since 1970s But many water quality issues remain

Federal Clean Water Act remaining challenges - Data shortage - Only 28% of US rivers and streams assessed, and 53% impaired

- TMDL process for water quality attainment - Nonpoint source regulation (including air deposition) -

Interplay of water supply and water quality http://www.epa.gov/waters/ir/ Federal Clean Water Act Jurisdiction The term navigable waters means the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas. (CWA section 502(7))

Katy Prairie 1,000 sq miles Major migratory bird flyway Prairie Potholes Questions? Professor Tracy Hester

University of Houston Law Center [email protected] 713-743-1152 (office)

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