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Defining ‘Waters of The United States’ and Why it Matters for the Watershed Management Community

5-07-2019

By John Phillips, ENV SP

On April 15, 2019, The United States Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers closed the public comment period on a rulemaking process to redefine “waters of the United States.” This definition has been an on-going discussion in the watershed management community for several decades.

What is the Clean Water Act?

Let’s start at the beginning by giving some background on the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the “waters of the United States.” The law was enacted in 1948 and was originally called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act but was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the common name with amendments in 1972. The law has since prevented pollution from industries and created a massive investment in wast... (more)