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Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act (CWA), sometimes referred to as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, is the major federal statute in the United States governing pollution of surface waters (rivers, lakes, coastal waters, and wetlands, as opposed to groundwater). The act's broad impact on U.S. water pollution control practices means that it is important for communicators and others interested in federal water policy to understand it. Congress adopted the statute essentially in its current form in 1972, thus revolutionizing water pollution control law and policy in the United States in two major ways. First, the CWA reversed the traditional view that it was acceptable to discharge pollutants into waterways unless and until harm was proven. Instead, discharges are now presumptively prohibited unless in compliance with ...

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