The CWA and the water pollution problem

AuthorJeffrey G. Miller/Ann Powers/Nancy Long Elder/Karl S. Coplan
Chapter I:
is casebook explores water pollution and the federal statute chiey
designed to control it, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA)
better known as the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1387.
e C WA is not t he only statute controlling water pollution. e Marine
Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Ac t (MPRSA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1401-
1445 (2012), reg ulates the transportation of pollutants for disposal at sea;
and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. §§300f to 300j-26,
regulates the purity of drinking water. Other environmental statutes regulate
water pollution incidental ly. e Resource Conservation and Rec overy Act
(RCRA), 42 U.S.C. §§6901-6992k, for instance, regulates water pollution
insofar as it is also a ha zardous waste under t hat statute. All of these federal
statutes have their state counterparts. Moreover, the process of administering
the statutes is governed in part by still other statutes, e.g., the Administrative
Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§551-706 (2012).
us, a web of interlocking statutes regulates water pollution control. e
study of water pollution control regulation, therefore, is a study of statutes
and their administration. But before this legislation was enacted, the com-
mon law dealt with disputes arising when one party polluted water to the det-
riment of another, evoking primarily the law of nuisance and trespa ss. Tort
law continues to play a role in water pollution, adjudicating disputes between
parties for damages c aused by water pollution, even as the government use s
its regulatory statutes to control water pollution for the public good.
is casebook will examine how water pollution is addressed, rst by the
common law and then by statute. Before either examination can take place,
however, t he student must have some understanding of what constitutes
water pollution, where it originates, and how it can be controlled. e fol-
lowing sections focus on these questions.

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