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The clean water act (cwa) began as the 1972 amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, which was passed with the goal of restoring and maintaining “the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters.” Specifically, the act aimed to eliminate the discharge of pollutants by 1985, provide public funding for public waste treatment works, fund the technological advances necessary to reduce discharge, and clean up polluted water resources. While much of the act concerns the establishment of funding mechanisms for water quality improvement, there are two major regulatory components. The first is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which establishes a permit system for “point-source” discharges into water (where a point-source is a discrete conveyance such as a pipe). The ...

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