Hard to believe this was passed by Congress over President Richard Nixon's veto 40 years ago. I was in the throes of finishing my Master's in hydrology at UA.
But as the article points out, the CWA is showing its age (see quote below). Specific recommendations from a 2009 conference:
1) allowing for greater targeting of priority pollution on a watershed basis;
2) better integrating of CWA and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements;
3) using market-based solutions, such as water quality trading, incentives, or regulatory strategies, to encourage adoption of innovative technologies for point and nonpoint sources; and
4) creating a new funding paradigm that provides adequate money for state administration of CWA and the capital projects undertaken by local governments.
And here is a very good articel from the Christian Science Monitor, "Clean Water Act at 40: Is it failing to meet new pollution challenges?"
Here's a celebratory note from the Pacific Institute:
And finally, thanks again to Robert, here's the real story behind the 1969 'burning' of the Cuyahoga Rver and the iconic picture shown here, which actually dates from 1952. Seems the Cuyahoga had burned before 1969. But in 1969 the timing was right to motivate people to think about stronger water pollution laws.
So, happy birthday, CWA - you don't look a day over 39!
“Despite being landmark legislation in the 1970s that led to significant achievements, the Clean Water Act is now a 20th century tool trying to address 21st century problems. As a nation, we must re-examine how to better address water quality issues to meet our current and future needs.” - WEF President Paul Freedman, 2009