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What is the Clean Water Act?

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If you run a business that deals with manufacturing products, it is likely that you have waste to worry about getting rid of. 

It is essential to dispose of your waste properly in order to avoid fines, penalties and potential litigation. Keeping our air and water clean is an important responsibility of both corporate and natural citizens alike. 

The Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency passed the Clean Water Act in 1977. This Act makes it unlawful to dump pollutants into traversable waters in the United States in most cases. According to the EPA’s website, you can request a permit to dump dredged or fill material in some cases. 

If you engage in any of the following businesses, you might be exempt from the permit requirements: 

  • Ranching, silviculture or farming activities, so long as they are continuous 
  • Maintaining drainage ditches 
  • Maintaining levees, dames, dikes or similar structures 
  • Building and maintaining irrigation ditches 
  • Building and maintaining forest and farm roads 
  • Building and maintaining stock or farm ponds 

In any other case, it is best to contact the EPA for guidance on what to do with your waste. 

Penalties for noncompliance

Penalties for noncompliance with these regulations may be severe and costly. If the EPA finds that you are not in compliance, the organization will issue an order for you to stop. Additionally, the EPA may charge you with fines of up to $16,000 per day. The EPA may not issue more than $187,500 for a single action. If you have several violations, however, you may see multiple charges up to that amount. 

It is important to keep abreast of the regulations that apply to your industry to avoid getting in trouble.