- Summary of the Clean Water Act
33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1977.
The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. 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.
From EPA website
For more information about the Clean Water Act, including the full text of the Act as well as a summary of the history of the Act, visit: EPA Website
- Title 40: Protection of Environment
PART 122—EPA Administered Permit Programs: The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
§122.26 Storm water discharges
(14) Storm water discharge associated with industrial activity means the discharge from any conveyance that is used for collecting and conveying storm water and that is directly related to manufacturing, processing or raw materials storage areas at an industrial plant.
The term does not include discharges from facilities or activities excluded from the NPDES program under this part 122. For the categories of industries identified in this section, the term includes, but is not limited to, storm water discharges from industrial plant yards; immediate access roads and rail lines used or traveled by carriers of raw materials, manufactured products, waste material, or by-products used or created by the facility; material handling sites; refuse sites; sites used for the application or disposal of process waste waters (as defined at part 401 of this chapter); sites used for the storage and maintenance of material handling equipment; sites used for residual treatment, storage, or disposal; shipping and receiving areas; manufacturing buildings; storage areas (including tank farms) for raw materials, and intermediate and final products; and areas where industrial activity has taken place in the past and significant materials remain and are exposed to storm water.
Material handling activities include storage, loading and unloading, transportation, or conveyance of any raw material, intermediate product, final product, by-product or waste product. The term excludes areas located on plant lands separate from the plant’s industrial activities, such as office buildings and accompanying parking lots as long as the drainage from the excluded areas is not mixed with storm water drained from the above described areas. Industrial facilities (including industrial facilities that are federally, State, or municipally owned or operated that meet the description of the facilities listed in paragraphs (b)(14)(i) through (xi) of this section) include those facilities designated under the provisions of paragraph (a)(1)(v) of this section.