Clean Water Act/Safe Drinking Water Act
The Clean Water Act, (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act, (SDWA) was formed when a growing public awareness and concern for controlling the water pollution led to the enactment of Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1792. As amended in 1977, this law became commonly known as the Clean Water Act. The act established the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States. It gave EPA the authority implement pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standard for industry.
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The Clean Water Act also continued requirements to set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters. The Act made it unlawful for any person to release any pollutant from any point source into navigable waters, unless a permit is obtained under its provisions. It also funded the construction of sewage treatment plants under the construction grants program and recognized the need for planning to address the critical problems posed by nonpoint source pollution.
Joel Goss and Lynn Dodge explains that clean water is necessary for good health. (Gross, Dodge, 2006) It is necessary to implement laws and regulations when are water system is at risk. We must always see to it that The Clean Water Act remains a high standard means of keeping our water pure.
The Safe Drinking Water Act celebrated its thirtieth anniversary on December 16, 2004. It is the main federal law that ensures the quality of American’s drinking water.
Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the state’s, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.
Edward J. Calabrese (Calabrese, 1989), explains the Safe Drinking Water Act, amendments, regulations and standards as he tells us that our water systems must be looked at closely and monitored in order to provide clean and safe drinking water for all Americans.
Other important aspects of the CWA include a variety of enforcement mechanisms, including administrative compliance and penalty orders, civil and criminal judicial remedies, contractor listing, and a citizen suit provision.
EPA’s enforcement settlement policies, which are relatively sophisticated within the federal government have consistently promoted environmental auditing and the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects.
There are many types of pollutants that can contaminate our drinking water that cause illness and diseases. Regardless of where our drinking water comes from, it can all be contaminated by a number of impurities.
Some of these contaminants include chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, human and animal waste, and even chemical by-products created during drinking water treatment. Exposure to these contaminants can cause a number of health problems, ranging from nausea and stomach pain to developmental problems and cancer. Long-term exposure can cause rashes, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a number of immune, neurological, developmental and reproductive problems.
Because of the different types of levels of pollutants in U.S. waters, it is very difficult to observe the accurate rate of disease from the contamination in the water. It has been estimated that approximately 900,000 people fall ill and as many as 900 die each year from waterborne infectious disease. It is equally difficult to measure the adverse health impact of waterborne chemicals because of the long lag between exposure and symptoms, the multiple ways chemicals can enter the body and the mobility of populations.
Some of the methods being use to get rid of these pollutants in our water is boiling, distillation, reverse osmosis, water filters, sediment filters, activated carbon filters, granular activated carbon, ultra violet lights and water demonizes, KDF filters, ozonation, chlorination and water disinfection.
I would add that getting rid of harmful pesticides, and regulating sewer systems on a higher level would reduce some of the pollutants that could possible contaminate our drinking water.
We should always support agencies that protect our water system (Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management). The Drinking Water Program regulates public water systems; oversees water recycling projects; permits water treatment devices; certifies drinking water treatment and distribution operators; supports and promotes water system security; provides support for small water systems and for improving technical, managerial, and financial capacity and oversees the Drinking Water Treatment and Research Fund for MTBE and other oxygenates; and provides funding opportunities for water system improvements.