Overview of Water-Related Legislation Affecting DOE Sites
The Water Pollution Control Act was first enacted in 1948. The Act was amended by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 [Public Law 92-500, now commonly known as the Clean Water Act. These amendments represent a major revision of the Act and replaced the previous text entirely, including the Water Quality Act of 1965, the Clean Water Restoration Act of 1966, and the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970, all of which had been amendments to the original Act. The Clean Water Act is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. The statute employs a variety of regulatory and non regulatory tools to sharply reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways, finance municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and manage polluted runoff.
In 1972, Congress enacted the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) to protect the coastal environment from growing demands associated with residential, recreational, commercial, and industrial uses (e.g., State and Federal offshore oil and gas development). CZMA provisions help States develop coastal management programs to manage and balance competing uses of the coastal zone.
Congress enacted the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in 1972. The MMPA prohibits (with some exceptions) "taking" of marine mammals in United States (U.S.) waters and by any person under U.S. jurisdiction on the high seas and importing marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S.
Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA) prohibits (1) transportation of material from the U.S. for the purpose of ocean dumping; (2) transportation of material from anywhere for the purpose of ocean dumping by U.S. agencies or U.S.-flagged vessels; (3) dumping of material transported from outside the U.S. into the U.S. territorial sea. Under MPRSA, the standard for permit issuance is whether the dumping will "unreasonably degrade or endanger" human health, welfare, or the marine environment.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply. The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. This law focuses on all waters actually or potentially designed for drinking use, whether from above ground or underground sources.