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The Clean Water Act and Wastewater Treatment

The objective of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is to "....restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters." Two basic goals and a national policy were launched in order to achieve this objective:

  • Eliminate the discharge of pollutants into surface waters;
  • Achieve a level of water quality that promotes fish and wildlife protection and fishable and swimmable waters; and
  • Adopt a policy that prohibits the discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts.

    At the time of the CWA’s passage, municipal wastewater treatment plants were major contributors of point source pollution. The centerpiece of the CWA included an increase in federal funding to construct Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs)and upgrade existing facilities and sanitary sewer infrastructure to control pollution. New provisions under Section 208 of the act promoted the creation of water quality management plans, or 208 Plans, to access the federal funds for improvements and to layout regional goals for improving local water quality. In 1977, the Governor of the State of Ohio authorized Eastgate, formerly EDATA, to create the region’s first 208 Plan. During that year, the region’s first 208 Plan was submitted to the Ohio EPA and later certified by the State of Ohio.