Clean Water Act

This essay demystifies the United States Clean Water Act and specifically delves into Section 402, 403 and 405 of the act by explaining how each of them is related to the other types of environmental regulations. Environmental regulations are the measures that the United States government has put in place to ensure a safer, clean and habitable environment for all the citizens. Clean Water Act (CWA) was specifically established as a basic structure to regulate discharges of pollutants in the United States water resource and also improve the standards of quality of surface and human consumable water.  This act was formulated in 1948 as Federal Water Pollution control Act and later in 1972 changed to the current Clean Water Act (Gross & Stelcen, 2014).

Section 402 of the Act entails the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. This section established an effluent permit system for the source point, which includes ditch, sewer and pipe discharges of pollutants into the United States Waters. This permit system requires the following storm water discharges to be covered in the permit; Discharges from a medium or large municipal storm sewer system, discharge associated with activities in industries and other discharges which the state deems as a contributor of violation of water quality standards (Gross & Stelcen, 2014). The regulatory framework that was established under this section provides a two way approach for controlling the point source discharges. First is the dependence on technology, which consists of minimum national treatment regulations based on the assessment of ability of the control technologies to be achieved by the several categories of dischargers. Second is based on the water quality and it stresses on the standards and quality of water.

Under Section 405, the Act entails the permits for Sludge management. This requires that all treatment works which deal in domestic sewage treatment should meet all the federal requirements for the use and disposal of sewer sludge through surface disposal, incineration or land application (Ryan, 2012). These requirements are amalgamated into permits that are issued under section 402 of the Act and under the appropriate provisions of other laws like the solid waste disposal act and the approved state sludge management programs or a sludge only permit.

Section 403 of the Act entails the addresses the ocean discharge criteria. The regulation’s intention is to avoid unreasonable dilapidation of the aquatic environment and also to authorise imposition of waste matter limitations to achieve the clean water act goal. This section provides flexibility for permit writers to customise applications of permits requirements, reporting requirements and effluent limitations to the specific conditions of each individual discharger in order to ensure compliance with the act. Because of the case- specific nature of the decision making in terms of which permits to be used, the review and extend of required monitoring associated with the Discharge eradication system permits as well as the National Pollution that are catered for under the provisions of section 403 are varied. This is because of the wide range of receiving environments and the variability of discharge. According to Ryan (2012), section 403 of the clean water act has ultimate regulations that affect the rest of the sections. The criteria and procedures of issuance of permits, be it for sludge management or for the national pollutant discharge elimination, is still under the guidelines and procedures act. Therefore it ca be concluded that the Clean Water Act sections are interrelated and in order to implement the law, all sections must be adhered to wholesomely.

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