Businesses share the success of minnesota’s clean energy economy

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is one of the most comprehensive environmental statutes in the United States. It seeks khổng lồ protect both human health và ecological resources, lớn maintain healthy waters, và to restore waters that are impaired. The CWA provides states and authorized tribes with the tools và guidance necessary to lớn protect & maintain healthy waterways in cooperation with federal government agencies.

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The CWA’s overarching objective is lớn “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, và biological integrity of the Nation’s water,” with the goals of eliminating pollutant discharges và providing for the “protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, & wildlife” and “recreation in & on the water.” CWA, Section (101(a))

As public participation throughout the CWA process is essential to achieving these goals, River Network is pleased khổng lồ provide this page, with resources on key CWA components:

Clean Water Act 101

Water quality Standards

Water chất lượng standards lay the building blocks to lớn protect & restore our rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires each state and authorized tribe to establish designated uses, water unique criteria khổng lồ protect those uses, & antidegradation planning to lớn keep clean waters clean and to protect existing uses. Collectively, these three elements ảo diệu water chất lượng standards.

Water chất lượng Certification

Section 401 is a powerful tool for states and tribes to lớn protect clean water (and sometimes flows!) from federally permitted activities.

Point Source Pollution and Permits

Point sources of pollution such as wastewater treatment plants, industrial facilities, concentrated animal feeding operations, và stormwater systems, are regulated under the CWA’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. Learn more about how this important program works.

Rio Pueblo de Taos, New Mexico. River Network worked with Taos Pueblo Environment Department staff on CWA protections. Photo by John Phelan (CC BY 3.0).

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Tribes can seek authorization with the EPA to lớn implement the Clean Water Act programs, including water chất lượng standards, water chất lượng certifications, NPDES & dredge và fill permitting, và listing of impaired waters.

Engagement Opportunities: How YOU Can Get Involved!

There are always opportunities for the public to lớn become involved in the CWA process through public comment opportunities, data submission, and public hearings. Head to lớn your state’s environmental department website and sign up for their notification system or bookmark their public engagement pages and kiểm tra in often. Engagement opportunities are available through the Integrated Report, Triennial Review, and permitting.

The EPA requires states & authorized tribes to lớn report on impairments (303(d) list) và status (305(b) list) of their waters (collectively known as the Integrated Report) every two years, & to nhận xét and revise (if necessary) their water quality standards (known as the Triennial Review) every three years. These processes are required to solicit public input & they present great opportunities for you to giới thiệu your local knowledge và data with your state. Sign up for your state’s listserv or notification system so you are aware of when these reports are open for public đánh giá and comment. You can also inquire about submitting your data khổng lồ be incorporated into the Integrated Report. Permits will also have opportunities for public input for new permits and for renewals, so keep tabs on the permits in your area và keep an eye out for renewals! Interested in reviewing and commenting on your state’s integrated report? check out this guidance document to lớn get started.

The Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual highlights và explains these opportunities for public engagement.

River Network và the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed have created a webpage to help inform the groups in the Delaware Basin of mở cửa opportunities. You can vì the same in your watershed lớn encourage the public to share their knowledge!