Clean Water Act

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CLEAN WATER ACT

1. Overview:
a. Congress’s Overall Objective with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (later CWA): (§101): “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” National Goals:

i. To completely eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters by 1985. 1. Not going to happen without stronger standards ii. Interim goal (101(a)(2): to make the water quality such that it's fishable/swimmable by 1983 a. The NPDES program: The main mechanism used to attempt reach these goals and the broad objective: “restoring, maintaining the chemical, physical, biological integrity of Nation’s Waters” b. Most powerful phrase: §301(a) Illegality of Pollutant discharges except in compliance with law Except as in compliance with §§301, 302, 206, 307, 402, and 404 of this title, the discharge of any pollutant by any person shall be unlawful.

2. CWA ISSUES
c. What is a pollutant
d. What is a point source?
iii. Need to know provision
e. Is it a navigable water of the US
f. Relationship between state and federal government
iv. State can be applying for permit and federal government can veto v. Authorization Oversight
2. You have a system where fed is responsible for authorizing state programs 3. State CWA programs are approved by EPA – there is a process where regional offices initially reviews the application 4. States must apply to have program approved. The application includes features proving they have money to run program, authority to run, staff to run program, infrastructure to house program. Comprehensive application to prove they have ability to do day to day maintenance. 5. When a state does not have an approval program b. To get permit, individual permit requests will go directly to EPA c. This is for taking and discharge

d. When there was not an approved state program, there was pressure on the state to get an approved state program rather than leaving it up to the federal government. WHY? i. Politically swayed

ii. Takes longer to get permit
6. Request to EPA for approved program
7. Once requested – still some level of responsibility – that level is one of oversight. e. Federal government retains veto power over permit requests. Even you go to state for permit, feds still retain power to veto your permit f. Feds retain ability to overfile – has ability to bring suit against facility even though the state has issued a permit. Feds fine per violation PER day. Small fine – sometimes you will just pay and fix the issue. However, if it is a large fine, you might not pay. WHAT REALLY HAPPENS (in some states) – feds prepare to sue. Send notice of intent to sue. Facilities go meet with state. State take requirement out from permit requirement and amend their permit. Their new permit is good for 5 years. They tell feds they’ll address issue in 5 years. 8. State program can be MORE stringent than federal program but cannot be LESS stringent than federal requirements vi. Effluent Limits

9. When you have a permit, it specifies the effluent limits – effluent = the liquid waste you’re discharging 10. Guidelines for what kinds of pollution or how much pollution can be released from facility and in to water vii. Outfall

11. Where the effluent that comes out of the facility lands in to the water 12. At the outfall point – you have waste going into river. viii. Mixing Zone
13. Place in the river where water quality standards are measured 14. 2 determinations for CWA
g. water quality standards
iii....
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