Air Date: Week of May 2, 1997
Facts about... the Clean Water Act, which turns 25 this year.
CURWOOD: Spring's here. Summer's coming. Ready for a swim? Thanks to the Clean Water Act, which turns 25 this year, you have more places to choose from here in the US. Congressional action to clean up our water dates back to 1899. The Refuse Act was the first attempt to control the level of pollutants in public waters. Then came the Water Pollution Control Act of 1948, radically amended in 1972 to give us the law we have today. The Clean Water Act's main objective remains to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation's waters. Congress has tried to accomplish this by setting standards for industries and cities discharging pollutants, and by providing funds to build wastewater treatment plants. But this isn't all water under the bridge just yet. A bill which would ease the Act's pollution standards is facing opposition from both the Clinton Administration and environmental groups, who believe it will be a step back for a quarter century of water quality control. They note that still, only 66% of our surface waters meet the Act's goal of being swimmable and fishable. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
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