Clean Water Act Turns 50

In 1948 the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was placed into law. Proven ineffective (in that most of the United States’ waterways were severely polluted and compromised), in 1972 the law was amended to restore and maintain clean and healthy waters. The 1972 amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act is affectionately known as the Clean Water Act or CWA.

CWA put into place restrictions on what can be discharged to “waters of the state” through a national permit system known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES. SVCW primary and guiding regulations under which we operate is its NPDES permit overseen by the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board. When the CWA was enacted, the federal government also offered accompanying federal grants for areas to construct wastewater treatment systems that would meet the new requirements. This was the dawning of secondary treatment for countless treatment plants throughout the U.S. and was one of the key ingredients for the CWA to succeed. SVCW received 92% of its funding from the federal government to construct the wastewater treatment plant and conveyance system in the mid- to late-1970s.

50 Years Later, the Clean Water Act continues to protect our water environment, allowing us all to enjoy clean water from which to drink, fish, swim, and view.

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