Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation

Troubled Waters:

When drafting the Clean Water Act in 1972, legislators set the goals of making all waterways fishable and swimmable by 1983 and eliminating the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waterways by 1985. More than 30 years later, we are far from realizing the Clean Water Act’s original vision.

Using information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, this report analyzes all major facilities a violating their Clean Water Act permits between January 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003, reveals the type of pollutants they are discharging into our waterways, and details the extent to which these facilities are exceeding their permit levels.

Two decades after the drafters of the Clean Water Act hoped that all waterways would be fishable and swimmable, we find that facilities across the country continue to violate the letter of the law, at times egregiously.