Clean Water Agencies React to NRDC Report

NACWA and its public clean water agency members take seriously their obligation to meet the stringent requirements of the Clean Water Act, even as Congress continues to cut funding necessary to build and maintain this critical infrastructure...

Aug 3rd, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 3, 2006 -- The report, Testing the Waters, released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) highlights the challenges the nation faces to ensure that the beaches and coastal waters are clean and safe for swimming and recreational use. As the front lines of defense in guaranteeing clean and safe water, NACWA and its public clean water agency members take seriously their obligation to meet the stringent requirements of the Clean Water Act, even as Congress continues to cut funding necessary to build and maintain this critical infrastructure.

As the NRDC report acknowledges, there are many potential contributors to beach contamination, and it is often difficult to pinpoint the sources of this pollution. These include runoff from nonpoint sources, such as agriculture, and contamination from stormwater.

Unlike nonpoint sources of pollution, public clean water agencies are strictly regulated under the Clean Water Act and are dedicated to carrying out the fishable, swimmable objectives in that law. POTWs are not the cause of pollution but the primary defense against it.

In line with this mission, NACWA has long supported improvements in monitoring. It is important to point out that the increasing number of beach closures shows the improved efficiency of this monitoring regimen, which helps keep beach-goers safe.

"NACWA has worked closely with NRDC to ensure sound wet weather policies, including joining forces to support EPA's December 2005 peak excess flow guidance proposal," said Ken Kirk, NACWA Executive Director. "NACWA and NRDC also both support the need for a Clean Water Trust Fund. We will continue to work with nongovernmental organizations, as well as EPA, to fulfill the critical objectives of the Clean Water Act."

Also see:
-- "High number of polluted U.S. beaches prompts NRDC lawsuit"

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