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Clean Water Report Card

Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Clean Water Report Card

Failing Grades

View and Download the report here: Failing Grades

At the heart of the nation’s Clean Water Act is a system of permits that determines how much pollution every factory, machine shop, electric utility, sewage treatment plant or other polluter can dump into the nation’s waters. These permits, which set the terms for all of the nation’s water pollution, are tailored to the size of the polluter, the toxicity or threat of the pollution, the technology available to clean it up, and the quality and size of the waterway receiving the discharges.

In 43 states clean water permits are issued by state regulators; in 7 states and the District of Columbia the program is run by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Permits must be renewed at least every five years, at which time pollution reductions or improved treatment technologies are typically required.

The United States will not meet its clean water goals without up-to-date permits. When permits remain expired for years at a time, pollution can continue unchecked, water quality may deteriorate, and progress toward the Clean Water Act’s ultimate goal of "zero discharge" of pollutants is brought to a standstill.

View and Download the report here: Failing Grades

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