–Federal Water Pollution Control Act, a.k.a. The Clean Water Act

Clean Marine LifeThe Clean Water Act (CWA), the main water pollution control tool in the U.S., prohibits all discharges unless permitted.3

The Clean Water Act has two primary goals:

  1. To eliminate discharges into the navigable waters of the U.S.
  2. To ensure water quality to protect fish and wildlife.

Specifically, it prohibits discharges of oil or hazardous substances in such quantities as may be harmful…

  1. Into or upon the navigable waters of the U.S., adjoining shorelines, or into or upon the waters of the contiguous zone, or
  2. Which may affect natural resources in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles.

The CWA also requires you to report a spill of a harmful quantity of oil that causes a sheen or emulsion in the water, as well as the release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance to the National Response Center (NRC).

3 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.;33 C.F.R. Parts 151, 154, 156 and 159; 40 C.F.R. Parts 100–149 and 300.