Legislation

The following acts and programs focus on water.

Federal Water Pollution Act (1948)

This was the first major law enforced by Congress to address the problems of water pollution in the United States. Congress declared he purpose of this act was to "provide a comprehensive program for preventing, abating, and controlling water pollution," and that it was congressional policy "to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of the States in controlling water pollution." This act however, did not give a lot of power to the government, which led to its ineffectiveness.

Water Quality Act (1965)

The Water Quality Act required states to issue water quality standards for interstate waters, and authorized the newly created Federal Water Pollution Control Administration to set standards where states failed to do so. This act proved to be effective but was later revised.

Clean Water Act (1972)

The Clean Water Act establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. This act is still in place todday, but is revised when new information is found.

The Safe Water Drinking Act (1948)

This act is a federal law that sets limits on drinking water quality and uses technical/financial programs to ensure its safety. "This law focuses on all waters actually or potentially designed for drinking use, whether from above ground or underground sources."

Ocean Dumping Ban Act (1988)

It does not allow any municipal sewage sludge and industrial waste dumping into the ocean. This act did have exceptions, but in 1991 the exceptions were disregarded and the dumping became completely banned.

Ocean Spill Prevention and Liability Act (1990)

The Ocean Spill Prevention and Liability Act (OPA) improved the nation's ability to prevent and respond to oil spills by establishing provisions that expand the federal government's ability, and provide the money and resources necessary, to respond to oil spills. The OPA also created the national Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is available to provide up to one billion dollars per spill incident.

Source Water Protection Program (SWPP 1996)