Environmental Policy in the US. The Clean Water Act and Global Warming

Elaboration, 2015

8 Pages


Table of Contents

1. U.S. environmental law (Clean Water Act)

2. The economic impact of the Clean Water Law.

3. Improvement of Clean Water Act on the environment or situation.

4. Do you think that sound science has proven that global warming is a credible threat or not?

5. Should the United States adopt additional policies or laws to curb greenhouse gas emissions?

6. Conclusion

7. Works Cited

This paper was written by a non-native speaker of English.

Please excuse any linguistic mistakes or inconsistencies.

1. U.S. environmental law (Clean Water Act)

It develops the basic structure for regulating discharge of major pollutants in the water and controlling quality standards of the surface water. The Act was first enacted in 1948 and was then referred to as Water Pollution Control Act. It was with time significantly reorganized and amended in 1972. These amendments gave the Act its present form and developed a national goal and objectives that all waters of the United State shall be fishable as well as swimmable. The set goals were to be achieved through elimination of all pollutant discharge in to the water by 1985 with making water for aquatic life and human beings by 1st July 1983 being an interim goal (History of the clean water, 2013).

Further amendments were done in 1977 changing the initial title of the Act to its current title i.e. Clean Water Act of 1977. Additional amendments were enacted in 1981 (Municipal Wastewater Treatment Construction Grant Amendment) and in 1987 was the Water Quality Act. The act regulates discharge to water through permits issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting Program. These permits are issued by The division of Water Quality Protection while the Water Enforcement Branch assures ensures that all the discharges comply with the NPDES permits (History of the clean water, 2013).

Section 301 of the Clean Water Act prohibits discharge of pollutants into water from the point sources without obtaining the permit. Some of the requirements of the permit were treatment of the pollutant to the extent that will comply with established water quality standards. Examples of the discharges that were unlawful without the permit are:

i. Car wash, power washer and carpet cleaners where wash water flow into the storm drain.
ii. Storm water runoff from the industrial activities.
iii. Animal feedlots lagoon discharge into rivers and streams.
iv. Dumping of hazardous materials into a wetland.
v. Piping the sanitary drain direct into lake.
vi. Industrial process water into the water sources.
vii. Discharging of municipality wastewater from treatment facility.

The table below shows a summary of the major provisions of the Clean Water Act and amendments done over the time.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

2. The economic impact of the Clean Water Law.

Environment regulations in most cases provides economic and health benefits that to a great extent outweighs the cost of compliance therefore leading to creation of employment. Since the various environmental laws have been enacted the United State gross domestic product has risen by over 200%. according to (Orth, 2013) Clean water alone is approximated to provide $11 billion annual benefits. The act has further enhanced the restoration of most of the water sourses such as the lakes and seas therefore resulting to increased recreational opportunities. For example in beaches where the dumping as intially dumped they have been restored thus more sites for tourists attraction both domestic and foreign (Mayer, 2012).

The Act has resulted to increased supply of quality water to people these has increase productivity of because of increased health at the same time cost of health care has significantly reduced. With the efforts of implementing the Act new technologies has been introduced and more coming all with the efforts of implementing the Act. These growth in technology plays a biggest role in the growth and development of economy as modern infrsturcture are constructed.

3. Improvement of Clean Water Act on the environment or situation.

The Clean Water Act has been one of the greatest revelations and most successful story of environmental law. Heavy investment was facilitated through enactment of this Act. Sewage treatment plants were constructed and those existing were upgraded. The Clean Water Act has lead to a significance improvement in water quality. Gallons of raw sewage that was initially dumped in the sources of water have since been cleaned and restored to their initial state (Martins, 2014).

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently did a review of the benefits of Clean Water Act to the National environment and from the results there has been a significant progress made in the improvement of water quality and some other environmental resources. There are visible environmental benefits at different site across the nation located in large urban-industrial sectors on major waterways. They all depict an improvement in the water quality and related resources in the environment following the passage and implementation of the act (Hawkins, 2013).

Environmental report released in 1997 shows that the number of rivers, estuaries safe for fishing and swim and lakes doubled within a period of 26 years since the first enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972.


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Environmental Policy in the US. The Clean Water Act and Global Warming
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environmental, policy, clean, water, global, warming
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Florence Mwangi (Author), 2015, Environmental Policy in the US. The Clean Water Act and Global Warming, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/306482


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