This content is exclusively provided by FAO / FAOLEX

Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act).

Type of law
Date of original text

The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation s waters. It establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. It shall be unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) of the Environment Protection Agency permits program controls discharges. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.
The Act also provides for: studies regarding, among other things, flood and erosion control, and other uses of estuaries and estuarine zones upon the pollution of the waters therein; pollution control programmes for the Great Lakes and other places; wastewater treatment works; effluent limitation and enforcement; groundwater quality; and water quality and implementation plans.
Long title of text
An Act to provide for water pollution control activities in the Public Health Service of the Federal Security Agency and in the Federal Works Agency, and for other purposes.
Date of consolidation/reprint
33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq. (as amended through P.L. 107 303, 27 November 2002).
Source language


Legislation Amendment