Clean Water Act falls short
The Clean Water Act, passed by Congress 40 years ago, was intended to eliminate water pollution by 1985. But according to a new investigation by EarthFix and InvestigateWest, that goal has proven elusive. From their findings:
- Whole categories of polluters are effectively exempt from penalties when they dump pollutants illegally. This affects thousands of facilities.
- Violations of the Clean Water Act in the Northwest occur routinely, yet citations and financial penalties are relatively rare.
- Government bodies are among the most prolific violators, especially those that manage aging sewage-treatment plants and stormwater pipes that dump polluted rainwater runoff directly into waterways.
The screenshot comes from an interactive map plotting Clean Water Act violations in the Northwest from 2009-2012. See the full map and read the investigation here.