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Clean Water Enforcement Report Card: How Nine States' Regulations Measure Up

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Publication Date: July 2003

Publisher(s): Georgia PIRG Education Fund

Author(s): William Coyne; Jennifer Giegerich

Funder(s): Educational Foundation of America; Beldon Fund

Funder(s): Educational Foundation of America; Beldon Fund

Topic: Environment (Water, waterways, and water management)

Keywords: water pollution; Clean Water Enforcement


Thirty years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, America's waterways remain polluted. The lack of enforcement of clean water laws allows industrial and municipal polluters to continue releasing pollution. Despite a strong federal Clean Water Act, polluters face little threat of penalty if they violate the law, largely due to varying enforcement policies and practices among the state agencies that have primary responsibility for enforcing the law. Today, most states do not possess the proper laws and regulations needed to ensure full enforcement of the Clean Water Act. In a survey of nine states we found significant shortcomings in the enforcement practices in all but one state.