What Is the Clean Water Act?


Quick Answer

The Clean Water Act is a federal law that regulates water quality standards, states the Environmental Protection Agency. This includes navigable waters and any connecting water, including coastal waters, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands, according to PBS.

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Full Answer

The Act was passed in 1972 and is an amended version of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948, according to the EPA. The Act requires any organization that dumps any pollutant into the water to have a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, states the Legal Information Institute. Pollutants include almost any substance, including water with sediment, toxic materials, oil, grease or anything that might alter the pH of water, states the EPA. It conducts inspections, monitors waste water treatment procedures and tests water quality to ensure compliance with the act.

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