Joel M. Gross and Kerri L. Stelcen, Clean Water Act, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Second Edition, 2012.
Clean water has been the subject of federal regulation in the United States since its earliest adopted federal pollution law, the 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act. In 1948, due to increased concern about chemical contaminants in the nation’s water resources, Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPC). In 1972, Congress adopted major revisions to the FWPC, known as the Clean Water Act. As noted by the authors, “[t]he Act is comprehensive in its coverage of discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States, its stated goal being to ‘restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.’” The authors continue,