The Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) addresses water pollution by issuing permits which regulate the amount of pollutants that can be discharged in stormwater.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)” program under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act.  This program regulates stormwater discharges from construction projects, municipal activities, and industrial activities in all 50 states and US Territories

The Clean Water Act is based on a declaration of goals and policies.  The rules which support the CWA are written into the Federal Register.  Following is a summary of CWA’s sections.  Click here to see the entire Federal Clean Water Act:


The Clean Water Act has six overarching Titles.  The focus of our program is found in Sections I, III, IV, and V:

Section I:    Research and Related Programs: Declaration of Goals and Policy

Section II:   Grants for the Construction of Treatment Works

Section III:  Standards and Enforcement

Section IV:  Permits and Licenses

Section V:   General Provisions

Section VI:  State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds


SEC. 101. (a) The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.

(1) it is the national goal that the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters be eliminated,

(2) it is the national goal that wherever attainable, an interim goal of water quality which provides for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and provides for recreation in and on the water be achieved;

(3) it is the national policy that the discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts be prohibited;

(4) it is the national policy that Federal financial assistance be provided to construct publicly owned waste treatment works;

(5) it is the national policy that area-wide treatment management planning processes be developed and implemented to assure adequate control of sources of pollutants in each State;

(6) it is the national policy that a major research and demonstration effort be made to develop technology necessary to eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters, waters of the contiguous zone and the oceans.