Happy 50th Anniversary to the Clean Water Act!
The Association of Clean Water Administrators and the EPA Office of Water are excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with the states!
The Clean Water Act was created in response to increased public concern for the environment and for the condition of the nation’s waters.
Before the CWA, rivers and streams were choked with pollution and were toxic to fish and not fit for recreation. Tremendous progress has been made in the last half century.
We have gathered several stories from members across the United States about how they have used the CWA to protect and restore their water resources to ensure that there is clean water everywhere for everyone.
Thanks to you we received over 7,000 votes for your photos of clean water! You can still see the entries and be sure to come back on October 18th to see the winners.
It gives me great pleasure to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which aimed to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in our nation’s water to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our waterways. Read the full letter from Gov. Holcomb.
Eric J. Holcomb
Protecting and maintaining the quality of the water throughout our great state, and subsequently the nation, has been important to me since childhood. Ensuring that water and the aquatic community is protected secures our place in history and our societal health moving into the future.
Mary Anne Nelson
Surface & Wastewater Division Administrator
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
The federal Clean Water Act and Missouri Clean Water Law have resulted in improvements in water quality through investment in wastewater treatment infrastructure and implementation of a state permitting, compliance and enforcement, and monitoring program. In turn, better water quality has resulted in increased economic and recreational opportunity and an improved quality of life for Missourians. Read more from Chris Weiberg.
Director, Water Protection Program
October 18, 2022, marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972. An act that President Nixon vetoed saying our country could not afford how expensive it was, seriously. I wonder how he thought having our waterways catch fire; turn red, orange and pink in color with floating chicken heads and other body parts was good for our human health and economy? ... Together, our nation’s states and interstates work with federal partners to regulate water pollution to fulfill Clean Water Act goals. The way we have completed our work has evolved in many ways, but the goal remains the same… clean water for everyone, everywhere! Read more from Susan J. Sullivan.
Susan J. Sullivan
As a result of the mandates under this act and significant investments by the District, we are seeing many positive signs of improved water quality, including the return of critical species such as shad, sturgeon and nesting bald eagles, and increased recreational use of our rivers. Read more from Jeffrey Seltzer.
Jeffrey Seltzer, P.E.
Natural Resources Administration
Department of Energy and Environment
When the CWA celebrates its 50th Anniversary, I will be celebrating my 30th year in the water sector. In my career I have watched a polluted urban water body – the Oklahoma River – become a place of recreation and home of the Olympic Training Center for rowing, canoeing and kayaking. While laboratory detection limits continue to decrease and more pollutants are detected in our waters, it is easy to forget about the incredible improvements that have been made. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CWA and thanks for helping us protect human health and the environment.
Water Quality Division
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality