Clean Water Act Turns 35

A key piece of environmental legislation became law on this date 35 years ago. Known as the Water Pollution Control Act, the bill was vetoed by President Richard Nixon because of its $25 billion price tag. This veto was overridden by Congress.

The law was later amended and is now known as the Clean Water Act. The goal is controlling the discharge of toxic waste into the nation's waterways. It's estimated that regulations prevent some 700 billion pounds of pollutants from reaching lakes, rivers, and public water facilities each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, nearly 40 percent of the nation's rivers and streams are classified as polluted and 45 percent of lakes, reservoirs and ponds.

More information about the Clean Water Act can be found at www.epa.gov/region5/water/cwa.htm.

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