DEFINITION of 'Water Quality Improvement Act Of 1970 '

Water Quality Improvement Act Of 1970 is legislation that expanded the federal government's authority over water quality standards and water polluters. The Water Quality Improvement Act Of 1970 grew out of the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act and placed additional limits on the discharge of oil into water where it could damage human health, marine life, wildlife or property. The act also included a number of other provisions intended to reduce water pollution. Federal regulation of water pollution dates back to 1886, when the River and Harbor Act was signed into law.

BREAKING DOWN 'Water Quality Improvement Act Of 1970 '

The Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970 expanded Federal authority, and established a State certification procedure to prevent degradation of water below applicable standards.

The EPA noted that, "Despite the improvements achieved by each amendment to the original (1948) Act, the result of this sporadic legislation was a hodgepodge of law. Eleven reorganizations and restructurings of Federal agency responsibility compounded the difficulty of effectively implementing the law. To solve these problems, the 1972 amendments to the FWPCA restructured the authority for water pollution control and consolidated authority in the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The first national goal of the act was the elimination of the discharge of all pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States by 1985. The second national goal was an interim level of water quality that provides for the protection of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation by July 1, 1983. 

Water Pollution Today

Although water pollution has been reduced substantially since the 1970s, the figures for 2018 show that much needs to be done. Over two-thirds of U.S. estuaries and bays are severely degraded because of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution and 45% of U.S. streams, 47% of lakes, and 32% of bays are polluted. In addition, some 40% of America’s rivers are too polluted for fishing, swimming or aquatic life; the corresponding figure for lakes is 46%. Much of the pollution these days is caused by pesticides, whereas in the early 1970s it was direct dumping of chemicals and other pollutants into the water by industry.

Potential accidental water polluters can protect themselves from the liabilities they face under federal water regulations by purchasing marine pollution insurance. This insurance covers losses such as cleanup, damage to natural resources, legal defense and civil penalties. Mobile drilling units, cargo owners and operators, ship yards, and marina owners and operators are examples of businesses that can benefit from having this type of insurance coverage.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Water Pollution Liability

    Water pollution liability refers to the legal and financial responsibility ...
  2. Water ETF

    A water ETF is an exchange-traded fund that invests in companies ...
  3. Water Quality Insurance Syndicate ...

    The Water Quality Insurance Syndicate is an American company ...
  4. Environmental Protection Agency ...

    The Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the United ...
  5. Water Damage Insurance

    Water Damage Insurance provided in most homeowners insurance ...
  6. Groundwater

    Groundwater is water that is below the land surface of the earth.
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Is Water The Next Big Commodity?

    An increase in both population and pollution has made water a very fragile and important resource. Learn the key players.
  2. Investing

    Top 3 ETFs for Investing in Water in 2018

    It may be time to look at a scarce commodity that isn't getting the investor attention it deserves.
  3. Investing

    Risks to Consider When Investing in Water

    Investing in water should be a lock. But water is volatile and could see as many risks as potential rewards.
  4. Investing

    Global Water Resources Trades Ex-Dividend Thursday (GWRS)

    Global Water will send its dividend payment on Oct. 31 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 17.
  5. Investing

    With Fracking It’s All About Water Management

    It takes an awfully large amount of water to frack an oil and gas well these days. Given the growth projections for production activity in the U.S. and Canada, water management could be one of ...
  6. Small Business

    Understanding Externality

    An externality is a consequence of an economic activity that is experienced by unrelated third parties.
  7. Investing

    PepsiCo's New Water to be Introduced at Super Bowl

    "LIFEWTR" may help PepsiCo close the gap between itself and Coca-Cola in the bottled water market.
  8. Investing

    The Best IPOs Of 2009

    Chinese companies stole the show in the initial public offering market in 2009, making some lucky (or smart) investors very rich.
  9. Investing

    Beijing Issues First-Ever Air Quality "Red Alert"

    On Monday, Beijing officials declared a "red alert," to last until midday Thursday (GMT). This is the highest warning level on a scale introduced in 2013, though this week's smog levels are far ...
  10. Managing Wealth

    Clean Or Green Technology Investing

    Innovations in energy and consumption grow as companies adopt them to reduce costs.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What does it mean to be "above water"?

    The term "above water" is used to describe any situation in which the ending or current value of a subject is higher than ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are some of the drawbacks of industrialization?

    Learn about the major drawbacks of industrialization, such as environmental damage, income inequality, overcrowding of cities, ... Read Answer >>
  3. How can marginal utility explain the 'diamond/water paradox'?

    Learn why a diamond is valued more highly than a bucket of water or why a professional athlete is valued more highly than ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does industrialization lead to urbanization?

    Discover the connection between industrialization and urbanization and learn how economic growth increases the demand for ... Read Answer >>
  5. Does homeowners insurance cover broken pipes?

    Learn how a typical home insurance policy excludes coverage for the broken pipe itself but covers the resulting accidental ... Read Answer >>
  6. Why do utility stocks pay high dividends?

    Learn why utility stocks pay high dividends and how government-produced monopoly protects privileged utility companies from ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center